Tips for Hosting a Fun Tween Sleepover
Tweens love the idea of having their friends sleep over for the night, and the great news is they are old enough to help with most of the planning. At this age, they really just want to enjoy each other’s company with minimal parental involvement. Did you get that? MINIMAL PARENTAL SUPERVISION. Gone are the days of little kid mega party event…Hallelujah. You are now ready to usher in the casual sleepover. Your tween does not want a helicopter parent hovering around. So the more planned the sleepover is in advance, the less you can be around. No parents equal happy tweens having a fun sleepover.
The following tips and ideas will help you and your tween host a fun sleepover for their friends.
Set the rules for your sleepover
Before planning, discuss the rules of the sleepover with your child. Let them know what rooms of the house they can dominate for their sleepover. Let them know if there will be a specific bedtime or if they can just go with the flow. Your tween needs to be aware of the tv programs or movies that will be allowed, and the ones that they cannot watch. They need to know what is off limits in the kitchen or any room in the house for that matter. Let them know if they are allowed to play outside, and if they are, when they have to come inside. By establishing the rules prior to party planning, your tween will know what to expect and they will be able to plan their party to fit within the ground rules you have set.
Before planning you may also want to let your tween know about what it means to be a good host. They need to understand that they are the host of the sleepover, and that the host is responsible for making sure their guests are having fun.
Guests and invitations for your tween sleepover
Once the rules have been established, you and your tween need to decide how many children they are allowed to invite to their sleepover. A good rule of thumb is between 5 – 8 children. Of course, you can always host less or more, but you have to keep in mind how much sleeping room you have in your home and the personalities of the kids you invite.
Let your tween pick out or make the invitations to their party. Make sure to include start and end time, the fact that it’s a sleepover, and if dinner is provided. Let all kids know what specifically they may bring: for example, sleeping bags and pillows. If you aren’t planning on serving dinner you want to let parents know that they should bring their child fed. It is also a good idea to have parents RSVP to the party and ask them if their child has any food allergies.
Food for your tween sleepover
You are going to need to get enough food to provide dinner, dessert, snacks, drinks and breakfast for the tweens you invite to the sleepover. Ask your child what foods they would like to have and get them to help you both plan and shop for the event. Keep it as simple as possible. Not only do kids like simple foods better, it keeps the work you have to do to a minimum so you can leave them alone to have their fun.
Dinner – Pizza is always a hit. Plus, it also has the benefit of being easy. You can ask them what they want on it as soon as the tweens arrive and have it delivered. You could also have the tweens make their own individual pizzas. This could be fun for the tweens, but you are starting out the party by making a mess out of the kitchen. Other easy make at home options could be pasta, burgers, or hot dogs. Just remember to keep it simple.
Dessert – If your tween sleepover is also a birthday celebration, cake and ice cream are in order. Instead of the traditional cake, you may want to consider allowing the kids to decorate cupcakes. Another fun dessert option is a sundae bar. Get a bunch of toppings and candies and allow each child to make their sundae the way they want it.
Snacks – Keep the snacks simpler than anything else. Since you never know when the urge might hit them to grab a snack, you want them to be able to get something to eat themselves with no help from you. Think easy things like popcorn, chips, Chex mix and candy. You can put bowls of the snacks out and leave them in the kitchen so they can graze when they want.
Drinks – Put a cooler with water, soda, and juice boxes in the room where your tweens will be sleeping. This makes it easy for them to get a drink when they are thirsty and it also keeps them from opening and closing the refrigerator a hundred times throughout the night. Also consider putting a trash can next to the cooler so your tweens have an easy place to throw away their trash, cans and bottles.
Breakfast – Again, keep it simple. Donuts, fruit salad, and some orange juice will be plenty to keep your sleepover guests happy. You could also make a simple breakfast of pancakes or bacon and eggs.
Tween sleepover activities
Low key and casual are the best activities for your tween sleepover. Ask your child what they will want to do with their friends. Don’t over schedule events. Just go over a few ideas with your tween that they can do if the kids start to get bored and want to DO something.
Movies – Rent a few movies for the tweens to watch. Try to not get anything PG-13 or R rated. Although you may allow your child to watch them, some parents may not want their child watching them.
Games – Most households have a collection of games. Put them in the room where the guests will be sleeping so they can play them if they want.
Makeovers – Make up is always huge at this age. Buy some cheap make up at the dollar store and let the tweens give each other makeovers.
Manicures and Pedicures – Let the girls paint each other’s nails. Since nail polish can be so hard to clean up if spilled, suggest to your tween that they paint their nails outside before it gets dark out.
Music – Give them access to music in the room where they will spending most of their time. If the room doesn’t have a stereo, move a portable stereo into the room they will be sleeping.
Coloring – Tweens may think they are past the age where it is “cool” to color, but if you set out some paper, crayons and markers they will get used. It may just to be to write little notes to each other, but they will use it.
As parents drop of their tween on the day of the party make sure to ask them for their contact information. Be willing to go over the game plan for the night with any parents that may have concerns, and assure them that their child will be able to call them at any time when needed.
Once all the guests have arrived to the sleepover, go over the rules. Make sure they understand that breaking the rules is unacceptable and they will be sent home for an infraction of them. Also let them know that you will be available at all times, if they have any concerns or questions. Then have your tween play host and give a tour of the house. They can point out the washrooms, where they will be sleeping, where they can get a drink, and anything their friends may need to know.
Now is the time that, as a parent, you get to “disappear” into the recesses of your home. Stay out of the way. Tweens do not want a helicopter parent at their sleepover. Check up on them regularly, but DO NOT hover. Make sure they have what they need, but really try to keep in mind that what tweens really need is alone time with their friends.
Remember, the best thing you can do to host as a fun tween sleepover is to plan on staying out of the way.