To Sleep, Perchance to Dream? Six Steps to Plan the Perfect Sleepover

Perfect Summer Sleepover (Family Fun Calgary)

Presented by Bloom by Sleep Country Canada

Remember those childhood sleepovers? Filled with excitement and new experiences, they symbolize the wonder of childhood and the warmth of good friends.

Well, sometimes it’s a different view from the other side. As a parent, I tend to view sleepovers with trepidation and no small amount of grumbling. But, as with many things, preparation and planning help. Here are six tips to planning the perfect sleepover. (Getting a great sleep on a comfy mattress helps, too. Sleep Country’s mattress-in-a-box, Bloom, is ideal for your family and sleepover visitors. With the new Bloom Collection of four unique mattresses, there’s A Bloom for Every Room™ and every budget.

1. Pick Your Night (And Lower Your Expectations!)

Exhausted kids equal trouble, so host a sleepover on a night where you aren’t rushed and you can be relaxed and low-key the next day. Dragging your kids to a formal dinner the day after a sleepover, for example, might not bring out their best. Have honest, open conversations with your kids (and maybe yourself) about what to expect, what is realistic, and how to cope with situations that could arise.

2. Consider Group Dynamics

Invite only a few kids and think about group dynamics. This can be as tricky as Cold War negotiations, particularly as you catapult into the junior high years. That third girl who sometimes feels left out is devastated when she’s over-tired, over-sugared, and then feels left out. You want your sleepover to be memorable for good reasons.

3. Pizza! Candy! Chips! Pop!

I like treats as much as the next kid, so no healthy sleepover eating advice here. Plan special, fun foods, but avoid sugary and heavy, greasy foods within a couple hours of bedtime. By all means, serve pizza and a taco bar and ice cream sundaes. But give the kids time to burn it off before they head, theoretically, to sleep.

Perfect Sleepover Sleep Country (Family Fun Calgary)

4. What to Do?

Be relaxed, but plan things for the kids to do. To be inclusive, avoid video games that only a couple people can play at a time. Pick a theme, have a few games or crafts prepared, and get a movie for some wind-down time. Build forts, bake cookies, or have a LEGO building war. Create a quiet space for kids to go when they don’t want to do the planned activity or they just need a little break from everything. Some kid-friendly books or magazines help.

5. Sleep, Beautiful Sleep

My persistent optimism plans for sleep at a sleepover. After the kids have stayed up sufficiently late and you wish you were in your wonderful Bloom bed, create an environment conducive to rest. Level the (sleeping) field, so no one kid gets the most coveted spot. Turn down the lights or offer some light reading and soft music. You know they’ll talk and giggle for hours anyway, but now you can put in the ear plugs and rest assured that you’ve done your part.

6. Plan an Exit Route

Of course, you’ll host a fabulous sleepover. But just in case things disintegrate, you want to know what to do and who you should call. Get parents to “sign in” when they drop their kids off, so if a distraught child wakes you up at 3 am wanting to go home, you know what number to call. Let kids know they can opt out of anything, at any time, for any reason. Most times, just knowing they have an exit strategy will help them cope if something becomes upsetting. Remember that you need an exit strategy, too! Be very clear on what time parents should pick up their sleepy sweethearts.

A little planning will increase your chances for a successful sleepover. Activities, food, and an exit plan! The only other advice? Cross your fingers and hope for the best! No, really, it will be fine and everyone will go home exhausted and filled with wonderful memories and the burning desire to do it all over again. The best of sleepovers to you!

Perfect Sleepover Sleep Country (Family Fun Calgary)

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