(for your young children – this is a family blog)
A friend of mine with a child my Princess’ age has asked if my two little girls can come over for a slumber party. Her daughter has been asking, more and more insistently, for a couple of months now. I have let my friend ask me a few times, just so that I am convinced that she truly is serious … and as to not appear so eager to be rid of my little angels for a night that I scare her off.
Plus, I want it to be her perfectly clear memory that she asked for this.
My friend is not an old pro like me. She has let me know that this will be the first time she hosts a slumber party. It will be her daughter’s first time to attend a sleepover also. No; spending the night at Grandma’s does not count. On the other hand, my girls are experienced hands at this.
So my friend asked for some guidance, which I am happy to give. I thought about it for a while, and here is what I wrote down:
2. Let your small guests know that if they can’t do it at home, they can’t do it at your house: no jumping on the bed, no using the sofa as a jungle gym, no putting make-up on the family pet, etc.
3. Have a plan: a crafty project is always welcome.
4. Enforce rules: have the other parents’ number handy and let your small guests know that you are not afraid to use it.
5. Lights out means lights out.
When I finished my short list, I asked Miss Sunshine and the Little Princess for their input on these suggestions before sharing them with my friend. They had their own thoughts:
1. What rules? We can’t hear you anyway when we’re jumping on the bed.
2. Our parents let us eat and do anything we want to at home. Really.
3. Crafts are what we do at home when our mother doesn’t know what else to do with us. We are wise to that trick. Plus, are you really going to trust us with that glue?
4. You gonna call our parents? Go ahead. We’ve known them all our lives, and we’ll bet that by now they’ve already turned their cell phones off and are half-way through their second bottle of that stuff they call Mommy’s Kool-aid. Or else they’ve locked their bedroom door so that they can think together, and even we can’t interrupt them when they’re doing that.
5. We can still talk, giggle and scream in the dark. Especially when we’re loaded up with your secret stash of candy that we found when we raided the pantry after the fourth time you turned off the lights and told us to go to sleep. It’s our favorite bed-time snack.
Seriously, the only advice I have for my friend that would be of any value whatsoever is this: make sure to plan the event on a day when you will get plenty of sleep the night before and plenty of sleep the following day, after your guests have left. Because sleepovers for young children are much like sleepovers for the twenty-plus crowd: no one really has any intention of doing any sleeping.
And everyone always forgets their toothbrushes.
Teenager slumber parties are so much easier. Just stick them in the basement and let them find their way back upstairs in the morning. They will keep their voices down because they don’t want you to hear them talk about who they have a crush on, and they know how to open their own cereal boxes in the morning.