The Sleepover – A Parent’s Survival Guide

Like them or loath them children absolutely love sleepovers and they have become incredibly popular over recent years and are here to stay. A sleepover is when friends are invited to stay overnight, perhaps for a birthday celebration, to mark a special event or sometimes just because our children beg us daily until we give in.

The point of a sleepover is to have as much fun as possible and ironically, despite the name, as little sleep as possible. Videos, torches, games, comics and food for the planned midnight feast are all essential requirements. What's important to remember is despite the pressure you are under from your children, they can easily lose control and if you are not careful your house will resemble a war zone and you could have a re-enactment of Lord of the Flies on your hands. This is your house and you are in control, and if everyone is going to be happy at this sleepover you make the rules and the children must stick to them.

Rules for a successful sleepover:

  1. Get your child to prepare the room for the sleepover in advance. Make sure you have enough mattresses, sleeping bags and pillows and if not get your guests to bring them with them.
  2. Try to have a little structure to the evening. For example, supper followed by a half hour's play, followed by getting ready for bed, a bedtime DVD, then perhaps hot chocolate and then bed
  3. Don't let your little guests eat too much sugar, whilst they will want to eat loads of sweets this will inevitably give them an energy rush and make going to sleep difficult. Plan a meal that you know children love and that will fill them up, then they will only have room for a few sweets, but still feel like they have had had a great time.
  4. Children love to tell tales of how they got to sleep at 3am or later or perhaps fantastical tales of no sleep at all. So it is important to arrange a time for lights out and then stick to it. The fun won't end and they will continue to whisper and giggle. Give them a maximum of an hour to giggle under the covers with their torches, and then give them a first warning. Ten minutes later, a second warning. If they're still chatting half an hour later, switch on the lights and threaten to take them all home. Silence should reign and sleep follow swiftly.
  5. Keep a light on in the hallway it will make it easier for your guests to find the bathroom in the night should they need it and avoid any accidents, it might also help those who are a bit scared in a different house or are perhaps a little homesick.
  6. In the morning, prepare yourself for an early start children are programmed to wake early when they have houseguests, and reluctant to waste any 'fun' time are up to speed in no time at all. Make sure you have breakfast planned in advance. Children wake up hungry so toast or pancakes are a great way to fill them up. Then if the sun is shining send them into the garden for some outside play.
  7. Make sure you have Vanish in your cupboard! Stains may occur during the sleepover experience, from chocolate stains on pyjamas to pizza on the carpet, but don't worry, Vanish, the UK's favourite stain removal expert, produces stain removal products for almost every conceivable stain. With Vanish in your cupboard, you won't have to worry about the damage stains and dirt can cause to your clothes and carpets, giving you more time to manage the sleepover and hopefully enjoy it too.