A sure sign that your kids are getting older is that sleepover parties become a thing. We went to a local expert to take us through your slumber party 101.
It’s a funny thing – many parents will find there’s a direct inverse correlation between their child’s birthday number and the number of attendees at the birthday party. You’ll remember that their 1st birthday was akin to a wedding with every friend, neighbour and family member (and their dogs) in attendance? Then the kindy and/or Prep birthday party was a class-sized invitation list. By the time they’re tweens, it’s generally down to inviting a handful of the select few ‘chosen ones’. At about the same time, the slumber party becomes a legit thing.
For many of us, hosting 6-8 kids overnight can raise the anxiety levels to epic proportions, but with a little planning, this can also be one of the most memorable parties of them all!
Sara Croft of Goodnight Slumber Parties on Brisbane’s southside is the guru when it comes to setting up for a memorable sleepover. She says the key is choosing a relevant and fun theme that you can sprinkle across everything starting from the invitations you send out, to your actual sleepover set-up, to the movies you choose to play, to the take-home party bags at the end. In Sara’s experience, her hottest girls’ themes are boho/feathers, mermaids and unicorns. For the boys, she says she’s been asked to do everything from Star Wars and Justice League to an old-school camping theme.
Sara’s Top 5 Tips For Slumber Party Success:
Sleep sanctuary. While it can be easy to throw mismatched mattresses and sleeping bags in a pile on the loungeroom floor and let the kids go nuts, setting up teepees or mini tents takes your sleepover to the next level. Your party attendees will love having their own private, separate, sleep sanctuaries. This may also help the more inexperienced or newbie slumber party attendees feel a little more night-time security than being somewhat lost in a big, strange, dark house. Teepees and tents are actually the basis of Goodnight Slumber Parties’ ongoing success – don’t spend a fortune buying them for one-off use when you can hire them cheaply from event planners like Sara.
Food, glorious food. OK, party planner. Think about this. A house filled with energetic and over-excited kids do not (we repeat, DO NOT) require any additional sugar! You want these cherubs to actually sleep at some point. Healthy sugar-free party treats will be your game plan. And popcorn of course. Loads of it.
The movie. Once you’ve played some afternoon games and fed your party people their dinner, night-time movies are the big-ticket entertainment item at any sleepover. It’s important to know the ratings for the movies you are screening and ensure they are suitable. Err on the side of caution here – play movies that are acceptable for an audience younger than your party attendees and you can’t go wrong. A Pixar flick is always solid gold.
Overnight. Once the party contingent is settled enough to actually go to bed, make sure there’s a clear path from the sleepover location to the toilet and bathroom. Make sure everyone knows how to find those amenities. Remember to leave a few lights on to help them navigate their way around your home without tripping over something in the dark.
The little details. Finally, Sara says details define a successful slumber party. She suggests personalising every teepee/tent with each child’s name on a cute sign to make them feel welcome. A bed tray table for each child gives them a place to marshall all their things throughout the night – it’ll already be chaotic enough! Fairy lights always add ambience and sparkle. Battery-operated tea lights can be great subtle night lights. Your take-home gifts might include an inexpensive sleep mask or reusable plastic cup (themed, of course) that the guests can use during the slumber party. This also makes them practical reminders of the amazing slumber party experience they’ve had at your place!