I get asked a lot about kids slumber parties (or sleepover parties) and what issues parents need to consider before hosting one. After many successful (mostly) slumber parties I've developed a good understanding of what works and what doesn't. My top tips for the best kids slumber party are....
1. Make sure the kids are ready for it (age wise)
By far the biggest issue is making sure that younger kids (under say 8) are comfortable staying away at someone else's home. Most young kids have experienced staying with family members away from home but that is often quite different to staying with non family. I've found that kids are capable of sleepovers from about age 7 and above but at that age it definitely differs from child to child. Once you get to about 8 or 9 years of age they are all a lot more comfortable. Check with parents and if there are younger kids that might not make it through the night then consider an action plan on how to deal with it.
2. Make sure you (host) know the parents of the kids well
Having someone else's child stay at your home can feel like a big responsibility. However its generally just a matter of applying the same care, attention and supervision that you would apply to your own kids. If you know the parents well then you can identify any issues (perhaps cultural items etc) and plan in advance. Knowing the parents also reduces any stress because you can be sure of their expectations.
3. Set the right guest limit
It definitely gets easier the older the kids are so our rule of thumb is that if they are below 8 years old then have no more than 5/6 kids. Moving above 10 years of age and you could more comfortably supervise say 8 kids. Aged 11/12 upwards and 10 kids are manageable if you have the space.
4. Plan some activities but don't over plan
Lets face it. The kids will generally entertain themselves pretty well in a group. My advice is to plan a few activities and let them choose when to do them.
A kids slumber party or sleepover need not be a stressful experience provided you give these matters some thought in advance.
Enjoy and good luck!
(Author Fiona Millar)