Hosting a Child’s First Sleepover: Guaranteed Fun & Sleep

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The first sleepover is a cherished childhood milestone, and a successful first sleepover is marked by loads of fun and even getting some sleep.  Whether boy or girl, the tools are the same: friends, food, fun, and some freedom from the usual routine.

Coordinating a weekend night is a challenge for most modern parents, but once scheduled, not much can stop the excitement.   So turn the baseball cap backwards, pile the couch cushions and pillows on the floor, and take a flying leap that makes mom squeal. 

Snacks, awesome snacks, are critical.  Pizza, favorite beverages, popcorn or chips, and ice cream are essential. Having pizza delivered is fun, but picking it up provides a brief road trip that can be a treat.  Better yet, makes personal pizzas from scratch. Just a little yeast, warm water, touch of honey, and flour, and the children can knead their own dinner.

Activities aside from jumping on the pillows might include hide n seek, running in the yard, or a board game. Girls will likely enjoy a make over or manicures.  But if sleep is the goal, then physical activity is the key.  Lots and lots of outside play, flashlight tag, trampolines, or freeze tag.

Once the energy is released and it is past bedtime (past bedtime is a requirement, so everyone can cheer the late night)  put on pajamas, cuddle up in some blankets, turn down the lights, and put in a movie.  If all works well, the host and guest will soon be asleep.

Celebrate the event with special pancakes in the shape of flowers, dinosaurs, or the first letter of each child’s name.  Tasty giggles will follow as the child join in to create.  When mixing the pancake battle, sneak in something healthy like ground oats and serve with fresh fruit. No one will notice it is healthy; they will only notice the cool shapes.

Success is, of course, relative, but having the guest last the night means making sure everyone is developmentally ready for the adventure.  Second grade is a good age for most children, but some are ready sooner.  Still, if a child is ambivalent or becomes afraid approaching bedtime, it is best to contact the parents to make a decision about the actual sleep component because the real fun of a sleepover is the chance to play with a friend past bedtime.