Sleepover survival - Mumsnetter tips

Mumsnet tips on how to make sure a sleepover goes smoothly

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drynites sleepover


It's a word to strike fear into even the most experienced of parents – the sleepover. An utter misnomer for what is guaranteed to be an evening in which your children and their guests do their level best to avoid sleep, work themselves into a sweet-induced frenzy and reduce your home to a state even Kim and Aggie would baulk at tackling.

If, however, you've had your resolve whittled away and have foolishly agreed to host one, we may have the answer. Follow these sanity-saving tips from Mumsnetters to ensure everything goes all right on the night.

STEP ONE: Draw up your battleplan

  • "Do it on Friday night, so they're good and tired after the school week, and have two whole days to recover. Choose the invitees very carefully." fruitful
  • "No more than two kids. Preferably one. Practice hissing, 'If you don't stop messing around RIGHT NOW, X is leaving and never coming over again!'" missorinoco
"We have those sheets with the plastic backs. They are fab and we put them on EACH bed so that there is no issue about one being different." meatntattypie
  • "Have the kids arrive at a set time, before or after their tea, and make sure you arrange the pick-up time beforehand. Knowing how long you have the little darlings for will help to maintain your sanity." Sammyface
  • "Make sure you have talked to the other mum beforehand about children wanting to come home in the middle of the night. And decide who will drop off/pick up/what the plan is. It's not good to get to 2am and discover both sets of parents have had a glass of wine." Ingles2
  • "Organise it for an evening you are out and then sweetly remind your other half about it as you close the door." whomovedmychocolate
  • "Wait till they are all 14, then put them in a tent down the bottom of a very long garden." fruitshootsandheaves
  • "Only have sleepovers the day before the cleaner comes." whomovedmychocolate

 

STEP TWO: Feed and water 'em

  • "Put them all to bed in one room and throw in a massive bag of junk food. The important thing is that it must be easy to vacuum it away afterwards – so dry food like crisps, biscuits and popcorn." Cadelaide
"One of my DS's pals wears DryNites, very subtle, don't think my son even knows, as his pal puts them in a plastic bag when he goes to the loo, and takes it home." meatntattypie
  • "Let them watch a DVD for a treat (staying up an extra hour-and-a-half later than normal), put a dry sheet under the normal bedsheets and avoid drinks after dinner. Make up a tray of flavoured ice cubes for sucking on halfway through the film! Healthy ones, such as smoothies or cranberry juice, will quench thirst without filling bladders." Mandelle
  • "Hold a timed bouncing competition on the trampoline before bed. Quickest to do 1000 bounces. Tires them out quite well I find. Winner gets to choose whatever cereal they like for breakfast." neillybeag
  • "I allow a few snacks for a (9pm) midnight feast but no fizzy drinks, and I always make sure they use the toilet before settling down." badgermum


STEP THREE: Have a lights-out strategy...

  • "Give the visiting child a torch at their bedside, in case they can't find their way to the light switch (or the loo) in the night." spudmasher
"DS (at 6) is only just dry at night. Don't think his wearing 'PJ pants' was ever an issue. He knew to dispose in the bin and wipe himself down, so just got on with it. He has been very blasé about it, though. Less successful was the sleepover guest whom I assumed was dry at night because her mum forgot to pack any night protection. She got through three sets of bedding before we realised our mistake." TheCrackFox
  • "A tip for camping-in-the-garden sleepovers: children are like canaries - when you want them to shut up and go to sleep already, just take away their torches. They quieten down immediately, and are generally asleep within 20mins." PrettyCandles
  • "If they are refusing to go to sleep and keep switching the light on, have a power cut." SethStarkaddersMum
  • "Put all the clocks forward an hour, so they think they are staying up later than they really are. Remember to correct them all before you go to bed or they'll get up an hour earlier." choccyp1g
  • "Let them watch DVDs while they are falling asleep and they all tend to stay in bed." ShinyAndNew

 

STEP FOUR: Switch all your settings to 'chill'

  • "I am usually very strict about a clean house and healthy eating but I think all that needs to go out the window when there is a sleepover. I really hope that, when they are all grown up, that my daughter and her friends look back on them with fondness." Paulaplumpbottom
"We send our 4-year-old to sleepovers with a little plastic bag which he uses in the morning to dispose of his DryNites pants. We make sure the hosting Mum knows the score – and they've been great at not making a big deal of it." Noofette
  • "We don't call them sleepovers in our house, we call them pyjama parties as it encourages them to get into their PJs very early on in the evening. I always get a couple of cereal variety packs and set the table the night before in the vain hope they will get their own breakfast." Mummyofexcitedprincesses
  • "We let them put up the play tents and, sometimes, real tents in the living room and pretend they're camping all night. If we're feeling really nice, we have a real fire in the living-room fireplace and toast marshmallows, like at a real campfire." Fennel
  • "During term-time, always have sleepovers on a weekend. The whole point is for them to have fun. Both boys and girls will love snuggling up in sleeping bags and chatting into the night! It doesn't happen very often and won't hurt them to stay up late once in a while." toodles60

 

And always remember...

"DD is 10 and has overactive bladder therefore requires meds but can still be wet. Her best friends who stay over know this and accept it. I have always stressed to dd and parents of her friends that she has a medical condition. This seems to take any embarassment or stress out of it." emmaand3
  • "Make youself at least semi-decent before coming downstairs, as you can guarantee little Ella will be giving her mother a detailed description of your appearance later." FlyMeToDunoon

Still quaking at the thought of waking up to a house of cranky, sleep-deprived children? Then, we'll leave the last (fantastically cunning) word to GoldenSnitch:

"Send them to have the sleepover at Granny's house - that's what I do."

Last updated: 04-Apr-2013 at 1:02 PM