For kids, there are few things more exciting than a sleepover. Whether hosting or attending, there’s nothing quite like getting together with a group of friends and enjoying a night of snacks, movies and games. It’s a staple weekend activity of many friend groups, and one sure to stir excitement in any youngster lucky enough to be invited.
But while the guests just have to pitch up with their overnight bag and enjoy themselves, for the parents hosting, there’s a little more preparation and pressure involved. Whether you’re arranging your first sleepover party or welcoming a few more little guests than you’re used to, it’s important to make sure the house is set up perfectly to give everyone a party they’ll remember for years to come.
First things first; no epic sleepover ever happened without a little bit of planning. This isn’t just having a couple of friends round for dinner – it takes precision planning to make sure everything is just right.
The first thing you need to consider is how many kids are coming over. If you’re expecting quite a few guests, think about where they will all sleep and if you have enough kitchen chairs for everybody when it’s time to eat. For movie time in the lounge, try throwing a few beanbags into the mix, or even scatter cushions, for the kids to sit on.
Of course, you need to stock up on food as well. All that fun and excitement will leave you with a house full of hungry kids to feed after all. From snacks to accompany a movie to the all-important midnight feast, food is one of the best parts of a sleepover. Check with parents what their children would like to eat, and remember to be mindful of any allergies or dietary requirements too. Keep it classic with spaghetti bolognaise, or try something more exciting like fajitas. If you’re brave, you might even let the kids try their hand at topping their own pizzas.
Decorate and style the room
Add a little magic to the evening with some special sleepover decorations. You don’t need anything that’s permanent, but some temporary tweaks can have a great effect and put a smile on little guests’ faces. Scatter some large cushions beside your sofa, for additional seating if not everybody can fit. Vibrant throws are cosy for movie time and double up as blankets for bedtime – just remember to use ones that are colourfast to protect your sofa. Hang up a string of twinkling fairy lights to switch on when it’s dark and create a night-time ambience.
Schedule some activities
A sleepover can cover a long period, especially if kids are turning up during the day. Keep it fun and exciting with an array of activities planned in throughout the party. You could organise dance challenges, games of truth and dare, an arts and crafts competition, biscuits or cake making, a penalty shootout or even a mini sports day. When it’s time to start winding down, flick a movie on the television and hand around popcorn as a sleepover treat.
Make space in your living room
If you’re inviting a group of kids to spend the night in your living room, you’re going to need as much space as possible. Think about rearranging the layout of your room for the evening, to make sure all the children have enough space to relax and play. You can free up prime movie-viewing space by moving the coffee table out of the way. Remember to remove any items that are breakable to prevent any accidents and store them somewhere safe for the evening.
Set some rules
When your guests arrive, you can gather them together and explain the sleepover rules. As the parent, it’s up to you what these are. No one wants to feel like a killjoy, but it’s good to have a few guidelines in place to make sure things run smoothly. To make sure they get at least some sleep, you could set a ‘lights out’ time. Perhaps you don’t want certain types of food in the living room – for example, popcorn but no chocolate. It’s a good idea to pre-arrange where everybody is going to sleep to prevent any late-night squabbles when they’re getting tired.
Build a sofa fort
For extra-cool parent points, take on a challenge and build a sofa fort in your living room. This is the perfect place to watch a movie or tuck into a midnight feast – and it’s so simple to do. Ideally, a spacious and comfortable sofa is the best for a sofa fort. Try a large sofa like the Haversham or the Linoso, both of which not only give you ample space, but also come with removable seat cushions and backs to let the imagination really run wild when it comes to building a mega sofa fort. Use the cushions to build the ‘walls’ of your fort and then hang a bedsheet across the top, like a tented ceiling. Building the fort could even be one of the sleepover activities, and one everyone’s sure to love.
Hanging out with your friends, giggling late in to the night – sleepovers are so much fun for youngsters. Make sure they have the best time ever with our top tips for setting up your living room.