Sleepover Survival Guide

5 steps to having a tear-free evening

In the life of a pre-teen, sleepovers can be a big deal. It’s their time to shine and host friends at their home. Make it the best it can be by following these five steps to a tear-free evening.


1. Have a Plan

Before the event arrives, be sure to have a plan in place. What activities will you be doing? Is there going to be a bedtime? What movies will they watch? The best laid plans before a group of friends comes over will keep them busy and keep the tears to a minimum.

So where do you start? Keep it simple, and try creating a theme. It can be a dream team where they where a jersey and watch athletic movies. It can be a luau where they get to dress up in homemade skirts and enjoy pineapple pizza. The options are unlimited and so much easier when you put a theme to your event.

Tip: Be sure to ask about any dietary restrictions beforehand!


2. Choose the Participants

Surely there are big ideas to have a massive party where everyone is going to get along. But knowing your child, and your family, are you ready to host more than five girls or boys? If this is your first sleepover, start with one guest. Later, advance to three invitees. Ideally, you will want to keep your numbers even to avoid leaving anyone out.

Knowing the children and their families is also important. Talk to their parents ahead of time and fill them in on your plan set for the evening. Don’t be offended if they ask questions or want to check out your house. This is their baby they are sending away for an entire evening!

3. The Sticky Situations

In addition to picking up valuables or delicate objects around the area the group will be staying in, you will want to prepare siblings and spouses for your extra guests. For younger siblings, plan separate activities with you so they don’t feel left out. For older children, make their space a Keep Out Zone for the party guests.

Another case you will want to get ready for is the inevitable tears, homesickness, and teasing. It’s important to be accessible to your child’s guests and let them know where you will be if they have a situation they would like you to address. Be patient and try to put yourself in their shoes. Put a policy in place and keep parents’ numbers nearby if they need to come get their child.


4. Lay the Ground Rules

Whether your group is large or small, it’s best to make sure everyone understands the ground rules before the evening is underway. Here are some good places to start, but add your own as the group evolves.

  • No leaving the house without asking
  • Stay together at all times – don’t leave anyone out
  • Check in your cell phones – keep them accessible, but it’s good to have tech-free time to cut down on drama opportunities
  • Lights out at midnight

5. Have Fun!

Probably the most important step of the evening is to just have fun. Be sure to check in with the party, but your little host will take pride in being the go-to person for the night.

Looking to limit the chaos as the night progresses? Start the evening with a high-energy game or event, keep them busy but pace the fun throughout the evening, and wind down with a movie.


Sleepovers are memories in the making, and you’re going to have the best one yet!

words  Jenna Carda
photos  Jesse Brown Nelson

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