Mamas and Pajamas: Lessons From a Slumber Party

This past Saturday, I hosted a small slumber party at my house. Three of Marissa’s friends were there, for a total of five girls. I thought it would be fun to invite the moms over, too, so I came up with this:

 

Mamas and Pajamas

 

This arrangement seemed to put everyone at ease, since it was the first sleepover for two of the girls.

 

The event was a success, but I learned a few things about slumber parties that I thought you might find useful.

 

{Note: My experience is based on a slumber party with 9-year-old girls. Circumstances will be different for kids of different ages and gender.}

 

Start Early

The party started at 6:30pm, which turned out to be much too late. I intended to serve dinner soon after everyone arrived, but by the time we sat down to eat it was after 7pm. I knew that the kids would be awake later than usual, but I didn’t think through the schedule enough to leave time to do everything we had planned (i.e. watch a movie and bake cookies). Next time, I’ll call the party for 5pm and serve dinner at 5:30.

 

check with other parents about media

There were two issues here — the movie the girls watched, and the fact that all of them brought their own iPads with them. My girls don’t have their own phones or tablets, so I was unprepared for this. Luckily, the moms were there to give their approval of the movie (Freaky Friday — a movie the girls chose from Netflix), but I neglected to ask the moms what their family rules were regarding the use of their iPads.

 

The way I see it, there are two ways to handle this in the future: #1) Find out (ahead of time) the purpose of the tablet and the rules surrounding it. Is the purpose to be able to text the parents in an emergency, or is it purely for entertainment? Is the Internet off-limits and how will that be enforced? There’s potential for a lot of drama here, so I’ll probably opt for #2) Requesting on the invitation that cell phones and tablets be left at home.

 

Have more than one option for where to sleep

There’s usually at least one person at a sleepover who actually wants to go to sleep. At our party, all the girls started out in one room, but some became bothered by the whispering and giggling and ended up sleeping in a different room. Next time, I’d let the girls know that option in advance.

 

get them to bed only a little later than usual

I’m usually strict when it comes to bedtime, and for some reason (maybe because the other moms were there), I was more loosey-goosey about it. HUGE mistake. I don’t know about the other kids, but mine were cranky and irritable the entire next day and fought with each other non-stop. Needless to say, they went to sleep earlier than usual on Sunday night and again last night.

 

 

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consider inviting a friend for siblings

I made an assumption that parents of Dalia’s kindergarten friends wouldn’t allow them to stay overnight at our house. But the age difference between Dalia and the other girls was big enough that a couple of the older girls said they were annoyed by her (what?! my baby?!) and excluded her from their free play, which left her feeling sad and outnumbered. Next time, I’d invite one close friend of Dalia’s to the slumber party, too.

 

less is more

I’m glad we kept the party small and manageable. Overall, the kids and moms had a great time eating, laughing, and socializing together. I’m sure this was just the first of many slumber parties to come…and next time I’ll be better prepared.

 

Do you have experience hosting slumber parties? Leave a comment below and share your stories, lessons learned, and creative ideas.

 

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Showing 7 comments
  • Helen Butler
    Reply

    Great advice Pam! We had one friend sleep over last weekend and that was enough! I can’t imagine having five boys – I think I might have to go away for the night! We all love having sleepovers (particularly Mr 9 seeing he’s an only child) but they can be hard work. I’m sure your next one will be amazing after all of these learnings! 🙂

  • Laura
    Reply

    We love having sleepovers! My boys (age 7.5 & 9) share similar friends which is helpful.. but there are always times when the older ones want their space. We’ve also learned that although sleepovers are for fun and late nights and with all the fun they still must behave the next day despite the lack of sleep from the previous night… We have learned from past experiences that too late of a night will result in irritability and crankiness so there is a lights out time we try to stick to.
    Overall we LOVE sleepovers… definitely a part of being a kid and building memories! Loved reading about your experience!

  • Cassie
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing those tips, Pam. I am raising boys and my eldest is 5. I think your tips will work for boys’ slumber parties too except that I will leave my husband to be in charge of the gang while I go out for a girls’ night myself 😉

  • Sonali
    Reply

    This is so useful!! I’ll keep this in mind when my 8 yr old girl is ready for her first sleepover. I’d love some advice for a 10 yr old boys’ slumber party, though. My son had one a few months ago and it was total chaos. Loud singing and lots of iPad time. The 5 boys were so excited about a slumber party, they couldn’t relax and go to sleep. Needless to say, we had a tough weekend trying to recover. 🙂

    • Pam Howard
      Reply

      Hey Sonali! Maybe give the boys a physical outlet to help get their energy out (and tire them out, too) and then spend an extra long time winding down before bedtime. Those are just some ideas off the top of my head, but hopefully a mom with boys can offer some more advice here in the comments.

  • Kelly
    Reply

    It’s so great when mothers share this kind of hindsight knowledge! I keep a journal and always make notes after parties, trips, house guests etc so I can look back and remember the advice I gave myself for next time 🙂

    Great post Pam and one I’m sure others will really benefit from.

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