Eloise hosted her first ever slumber party this weekend. If you follow me on twitter or facebook you already knew this because I was fretting about it for several weeks before the big event. I was fretting for a few reasons like I don’t do crowds well, I don’t do loud noises well, I don’t do other people’s kids well and I don’t do lack of sleep well…which pretty much makes me the non-perfect parent to host a slumber party, right? So you might be asking “Why Tracy did you then decide to let Eloise have a slumber party?” Which is an excellent question.
I let Eloise have a slumber party because when she turned six years old she mention this weird slumber party idea and I said “No way, but when you turn 10 then you can have a slumber party and invite 10 of your friends.” Who knew that she would remind me of this promise every day over the next four years and that it would eventually lead me to hosting a bunch of 10 year olds overnight in our home. I never saw this coming even though I was reminded 1400 times that it was actually going to happen.
I also let Eloise have a slumber party because I love her more than I could ever express and this pretty much meant the world to her. When I granted her wish she hugged me briefly and then reminded me to please try to make it through the whole party without making my ‘crazy-mom-can’t-handle-loud-things-face” and I told her that I would do my very best.
And I will tell you this – it was a successful party because I survived and actually enjoyed myself, but mostly because Eloise had one of the best nights of her life.(Or so she told me the next morning).
So I thought I would share some ‘Slumber Party Survival Tips with Tweens’ with you. Now remember, these are coming from a lady who is slightly OCD, liked schedules and rules and no loud things. If you are more of a ‘go with the flow’ kind of parent(AND OMG TEACH ME) then you don’t need slumber party tips. You just open your door and go WOOT! and then hide in your bedroom and let them have at it… but I don’t have that ability so I need tips and I know there are a few more weirdos like myself who also need tips. Right? Also, please note that I’m providing these tips with a focus on kids who are on the younger age-range – like 8-11 year old where there is still more adult supervision.
1. Make a plan and have a schedule. If you are not up for a five hour or ten hour free-for-all then make a plan and a schedule. We chose to actually go out for dinner so that took up a big chunk of time(YAY) and also set the tone for the evening as we went to a fancier sit-down restaurant and the girls loved being a spoiled a bit. And yes this is going to look VERY OCD – go ahead and make fun of me – but I made a loose schedule of the night’s activities for us..
-5:30-8 out for dinner
-9-10 cake, ice cream and presents
-10 change into jammies, lights out, in sleeping bags and movie on
-11:30 movie ends, chat quietly
But you know what – this worked and this is exactly what we did and we even fit in an impromptu glow-stick dance party before the movie started. I know, I know, you are reading this and thinking ‘my god Tracy, lighten up’ and that’s totally okay because it’s not going to happen and also I have other reasons for being so scheduled at this party. We have a smallish house in that there is no ‘rec room’ or ‘family room’ or ‘finished basement’ – there is just one smallish living area and that is the only place all these kids can be. I don’t have a place to put them that they can scream their sillies out and not wake the dead. Also, I have a little one who is in bed by 7:30 and is a fabulously light sleeper and the aforementioned smallish-house makes her pretty much right next to the noise…so a ‘free-for-all’ is kind of impossible unless everyone else moves out of the house for the night.
2. Set clear expectations with your party girl. Eloise and I discussed the party ahead of time and set the bedtime. I know some slumber parties don’t have a bedtime so you need to decide what works for you. Eloise(who typically goes to bed between 8-8:30) thought that midnight was more than generous. And the girls were more than ready for bed. They were all asleep within minutes.
3. Instead of goody-bags give the girls items for the slumber party. I gave each girl a pair of jammies(Only $6 at Target on Black Friday), a flashlight and glow-sticks and a new hairbrush. Okay I may have made custom tote bags, but that was probably not necessary but OMG how cool. The girls loved their matching jammies.
4. Remember that the slumber party does not end when the last person falls asleep. Remember – they WAKE-UP. OMG in your house! And usually early..WHY??? So make plans for a nice breakfast. I made Michelle’s famous crepes with a selection of chocolate, fruits and whipped cream and had lots of happy girls. After breakfast I had the girls clean-up their stuff right away so it was ready for pick-up and then we had a fun game of Pictionary and then they got to run around the house and be crazy because everyone was up and ‘the loud’ was okay. It was a super fun morning.
5. Be flexible. I know I have a lot to learn about this. There were some girls who did not show because they were sick. Some girls who decided not to spend the night which I totally understand and some girls who don’t want to participate in every activity. But we tweaked some plans and everything was fabulous. I also liked that there was just basically one room that all the girls could be in because it kept everyone together so no cliques were formed and everyone was involved in everything which is truly what a slumber party is all about.
I never had a slumber party growing up. We had a smallish house with little room to handle a gaggle of girls and I had parents who also did not embrace the loud…and that was totally okay with me as I always enjoyed the sleepovers at my friend’s houses. Of course things started getting dicey as the teen years approached because then it was all ‘let’s freeze bras’ and the parents just completely disappeared. We’ll see how I manage that next phase of slumber parties….
Have you hosted a slumber party and what is your best tip?