Slumber Party Survival Tips

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..

-5-5:30 arrival

-5:30-8 out for dinner

-8-9 crafts

-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

-12 sleep

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?


About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    This brought back memories of my slumber parties. Although mine were never this organized. We had a “game room” where we could all sleep, that was off the main living room and had bi-fold doors. We stayed up talking about Kirk Cameron and French kissing. It was awesome.

    Glad you and the girls had such a great time! You’re a slumber party-planning Rock Star!!
    Elaine recently posted..Smiles Everywhere!

  2. says

    Those PJs are just too adorable! What a cute idea. You are a brave, brave woman having that many girls sleep over–they must think you totally rock! I had 2 boys sleep over for my kiddo’s 9th b-day in October. For boys, planning/scheduling did not work, but they did keep themselves entertained and I managed to squelch my OCD for a night. For our favors I bought flashlights and boyish stickers and let them decorate.

    Looks like Eloise had a party she will remember forever–way to go, mom!
    Kerry Ann @Vinobaby’s Voice recently posted..Great Gifting: Homemade Limoncello

  3. says

    I was anticipating the five tips to come in the form of: “a bottle of pinot noir in the top cabinet, a bottle of shiraz under the bed…”

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear you survived.

    I already know that I’ll be hosting slumber parties, and I start convulsing at the thought. Leila has already started shrieking, because she thinks it’s fun, and it’s impossible for me to picture her as any more grown up than she already is….so I fast forward to when she’s 10, and she’s with a bunch of other 10 year old 2 year olds as they run around shrieking all of the time.

    I have issues with imagination.

    Also, why the heck do you freeze bras?
    John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted..Where we decorate the Christmas tree

  4. says

    I don’t mind the loud so much, but I do take advantage to doing sleepovers/slumber parties (we’ve had many) in summer when I can kick them out into the backyard. My oldest has a late birthday like Eloise so the outside isn’t much of an option because COLD COLD WE’RE SO COLD CAN’T WE PLEASE COME INSIDE. Babies.

    Anyway, you are not too OCD with your plan. The schedule is key even if it is loose. You have to have some kind of idea of how you’re going to entertain them (the younger set). Closer to 11-12 yes they need less supervision but I tend to still be around because I DON’T CARE YOUR MAMA LET YOU WATCH DIE HARD, AIN’T NO YIPPIE KAI AY-ING IN HERE.

    We have a basement so it gives me the opportunity to walk away a bit and they can be a tad louder if the boy is napping (bedrooms are two floors away.) I don’t do goodie bags well but your idea of the tote bags (especially original) and pajamas is excellent. I think I did OK one year in that dept by giving body lotions/nail polish, etc.

    We usually do dinner at home but we’ve sometimes opted to do a movie at the theatre. Regardless of what you do, the list and potential schedule with options for things like rain or fewer girls, is a good way to go.
    Arnebya recently posted..President Obama Owes You Nothing. Yes, You.

  5. says

    Very impressive – and great tips! I often forget to plan for enough food – both for evening snacks and for breakfast. Apparently good moms always make breakfast for the kids (that’s what I hear from other sleepovers), so if it’s a big sleepover (like more than one kid is invited) I always plan for breakfast too. A recent success was yogurt parfaits with plain vanilla yogurt and fruit and granola toppings for the girls to choose from! And another tip – have the sleepover at a hotel 🙂 Limits mess at home and disruption to the routine of other kids. I certainly wouldn’t do this often because it’s a bit expensive, but I did take my oldest girl to a local hotel for her 11th birthday this summer – we stayed in a suite at the Embassy Suites, which gave me a separate space from her and her friends, and all in all, it was cheaper than some birthday parties have been at Chuck E Cheese and the like in the past. Perfect for a tween.
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  6. says

    Okay, like it or not, I think you are pretty much an “awesome tween slumber party throwing, fabulous goody-bag making, delicious breakfast serving, handle everything with a smile PRO” What a fantastic night (& morning!) So happy that it went well…I spy another slumber party in your future…just sayin’!
    Melanie H. recently posted..Quick Halloween Recap

  7. says

    You lost me at bedtime at 12.
    Seriously though, love the idea of giving them something to use at the sleepover and so glad you survived. I had one as a kid and I loved it. My mom offered to polish everyone’s nails and she still tells the story of how the line of girls seemed never ending and then she noticed I was at the end of the line with polish remover taking the polish off so they could get in line again.

  8. says

    First of all, I would never let my ten year old read this, because then she would probably want to come live with you, with the PJs and homemade totes. You are awesome.
    I, too, have a certain distaste for crowds and noise and messes. But, since we live very close to town and school, our house has become the meeting place for most of my teenagers’ friends, forcing me to relax a bit. I no longer fret about much. I make sure the crockpot is full before Friday night football games. If there are extra kids here in the morning, I may go to the bagel shop for a box of bagels. If not, they know how where to find the bowls and cereal. So much has changed since I, too, planned birthday sleepovers with crafts and goodie bags. Change is good, right?
    Shannon recently posted..It Gets Different

  9. says

    What fun!! Looks like she had a wonderful birthday. They all have happy faces:) 10 years old, where does the time go? Of course you always go the extra step to make sure that it’s amazing, great gifts and just look at those goody bags. Wow

  10. says

    We did one with the girl scouts last year and one of the other moms came and helped out. It was great. We are doing another party this year and so far I have no helpers (hold me). David and James vacate the premises (spend the night at my mom’s). I think the schedule is so, so important. Even if you don’t follow it at least you have an idea of what you are going to do and you have activities lined up. So even if you do have an impromptu dance party and one thing doesn’t get done that’s okay. At least you had it ready to go. Last year for dinner we did pizza. This year we are going to do a “make your own nachos” bar. I’ve also already got a craft lined up for them, and I ordered some photo props so I’m going to do a mini “photo shoot.” Plus we will add in the movie, and I’m sure we will have some kind of tweeny music going. I haven’t decided on breakfast. I’m probably going to get David to bring me donuts. Because that’s easy. And I’m lazy. See, I’m communicating in only phrases.
    Jennifer recently posted..Ho, Ho, Holy Christmas Shopping

  11. says

    I agree with Julie. And if she brings the pajamas I will organize the craft project. And bring wine. Lots of wine. And we will watch “Love Actually” after we do some glow light dancing (I’ll remember to pack my Spanx.)
    maybaby recently posted..time flies, part ?

  12. Andrea says

    Totally appreciate these tips. I have a six-year old who happened to mention slumber parties for the first time recently. I will heed your warning–that I will have to deliver a promised event in ten years (if that is what I happen to say next time). Like the schedule. Helps me think ahead!

  13. says

    Will you be my mom? Or my sister? I totally want a sleepover at your house. Also, will you do a tutorial on those tote bags? I am in love with them! You are an awesome and inspiring mother. Seriously, I am keeping this for when my girls are older.
    christine recently posted..All I Want For Christmas Is

      • Jenn says

        Hi Tracy,

        Did I miss the Tote Bag Tutorial? I am planning a slumber party for my soon-to-be 8YO in July. I love the idea of making a tote bag and putting things in it for the party. THANK YOU for the awsome blog post! Yes, I am a little OCD too (being that it is February and I have already planned the party that won’t be until the end of July). Part of this is due to my job … we are really busy during that time period and the other part is that I am a little OCD. =) LOL

  14. says

    Custom tote bags?! You are one impressive woman! I have hosted a sleepover for 8-year-olds and it was exhausting!! I agree about the schedule. It really helps. As does an early pick up time the next moring!

  15. Jana says

    Just read your sleepover tips. If you think you are weird then I am, too. I thought everything you did for this sleepover party was excellent. It gave me some great ideas. Having a schedule is so wise. There has to be a guideline for doing anything well in life. We want these events to go well for our children & their friends. You did an awesome job! Now an avid fan of yours.