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Sleepovers & Bedtime

Making Sure There's Actual Sleep at a Sleepover

Many parents wonder why it's called a "sleepover" when the last thing kids want to do is sleep. To prevent an "all-nighter" at a slumber party/sleepover just set some simple ground rules.

Setting the Sleepover Ground Rules

Not every sleepover has to result in an all-nighter. If you stick to a few solid guidelines, you'll be able to get your guests ready for bedtime so you can relax to the sound of their snores in no time. Try these tips to put the "sleep" back in sleepovers:

  • Timeline. Develop a timeline for the sleepover based on the age of your child. Establish a time when you'll serve dinner, when a movie should be popped in, and what time everyone should be in their sleeping bags. It's hard to set an exact time for teenagers to fall asleep, but make sure they're ready for sleep by a certain time. You can help set a "sleepy" mood by turning off the lights and making the room cool.
  • Set expectations with your child. Talk to your child and let her know that if she insists on staying up beyond the agreed upon bedtime, future slumber parties will not be welcome.
  • Plan energetic activities. Try taking everyone swimming or running around playing sports. Whatever you choose to do, make sure sleepover guest are moving so they're tired later on.
  • Determine how many kids you can handle at a slumber party. The reality is that the more kids there are, the later they will likely stay up, no matter how diligent you are.
  • Create a slumber area. Make sure you create an area where everyone can sleep, so that guests don't wander from room to room all night, slamming doors, etc. Yes, they'll talk when they're in the same room, but talk will probably make them sleepier anyways.
  • Outlaw caffeine. Make sure there is no soda served for several hours before bedtime. Put away the carbonated beverages and try hot chocolate, water, or milk.
  • Healthy food. Yes, cookies, popcorn, or some sort of junk food is okay, but also make sure there are some healthy options to choose from. Fatty foods take a lot of work for the stomach to digest, which may keep the kids up.

Kids Will Be Kids at a Sleepover

You'll probably find that children or teens at a sleepover tend to be a little louder than usual. It's normal for children to be excited about spending time with their friends and they want to have a good time. Just make sure you plan out the fundamentals of the sleepover so the teens get tired and don't have time to cause trouble.