10 Important Sleepover Rules For a Fun and Safe Sleepover

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Sleepovers are fun for your kids and their friends.

They can also be big headaches for parents.

Luckily, there are ways to have a great time while mitigating disaster.

Try to ensure your child’s next sleepover is a success by following these 10 unbreakable rules.

10 Important Sleepover Rules

Congratulations! You drew the short straw and now you’re hosting a sleepover.

While I don’t envy you, I can help you by sharing the 10 cardinal rules of a successful sleepover.

Follow these rules and your house will be known as sleepover central.

Good luck!


The age of your child and their guests matters.

You can be more hands-off with some of these rules when your child is a teen.

However, most of these rules apply regardless of the ages of the children.

1. Keep Numbers Low

Your sleepover success partially depends on the number of children spending the night in your home.

Solo sleepovers with best friends are almost always great, but slumber parties are a big part of growing up as well.

Try to stick to no more than two or three guests.

The more children you add, the more chaotic the slumber party becomes.

Many parents prefer to keep numbers even so no one feels left out when friends pair up, which makes three the ideal number.

2. No Sleepover Strangers

My parents never had a problem with sleepovers. I could have as many friends over as I wanted at any time.

They did have one rule when I was in elementary school: If I had a slumber party, I had to invite all of the girls in my class. No one could be left out.

This helped to avoid any hurt feelings but it also caused other bad situations.

Occasionally, a child would show up to a slumber party who wasn’t known well by the others.

That child felt excluded even when there was an attempt to include her. It was awkward, uncomfortable and unnecessary.

Avoid this situation by only allowing your child to invite close friends to sleepovers and slumber parties.

3. Load Up on Food

Kids eat far more than you will ever imagine.

They are locusts who will swarm upon your kitchen and leave you with only a half-eaten stick of butter and a bottle of Worcestershire sauce.

Pizza is almost always a good choice for slumber parties because it’s filling and beloved by all.

You will also need snacks like chips, popcorn, cookies, and any other kind of junk food you can fit into a shopping cart.

You should avoid foods that can create big messes.

Opt out of cupcakes with thick frosting, pudding, or ice cream that will melt into sticky pools of sadness when it is forgotten.

4. Plan More Activities Than You Think You’ll Need

The good news is that kids don’t need planned activities as they get older.

However, until they are teens, you will need to come up with ways to entertain every child at the sleepover.

Start with movies.

When my children were younger, I kept kid-friendly movies going on our television at all times during sleepovers.

Kids could stop what they were doing and watch if they got tired of any of the other activities happening.

Good rule of thumb: Keep movies PG and the more annoying it is to you, the more entertaining it will be to them.

Other activities that are great for sleepovers include making slime, laser tag, jewelry making, karaoke, scavenger hunts, board games and outdoor lawn games.

5. Communicate With Parents

You must have strong communication with the parents of any child who is spending the night in your home.

Ask questions about the child’s special needs. Does the child have allergies?

My daughter has three close friends who she spends most of her time with. Two of them are vegetarian.

The third has a dairy allergy. When my son was young, his best friend had Celiac disease.

Knowing these types of things is necessary when planning meals and snacks. There are other issues as well. Is the child afraid of the dark?

Who should be contacted in case of emergencies? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

6. Have Clear Start and End Times

Tell parents exactly when the sleepover will begin and when children need to be picked up.

Do not leave this ambiguous at all. I learned this the hard way when I told the mom of my daughter’s friend that she could pick her up “whenever.”

The Friday night sleepover turned into a Saturday night sleepover, which ended with me taking both girls to school on Monday.

Numerous texts to the child’s mom were returned with, “Can’t she just stay there a few more hours?”

Yes, I turned into an unpaid, full-time nanny that weekend. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Give parents a very clear pick-up time before they agree to the sleepover.

7. Select the Sleepover Space

One child sleeping over might be able to stay in your child’s room. Multiple children need more space.

If you are lucky enough to have a basement that doesn’t flood regularly, that can be a good spot to set up sleeping bags for a slumber party.

Otherwise, you will need to find a way to move furniture around so everyone has a place to sleep. Another great option is to book a hotel room.

For about $150 per night, you can have a room that you don’t have to clean before or after the sleepover starts.

Book an adjoining room so you can sleep in peace while also keeping an eye on the kids next door.

8. Prepare for Emergencies

Emergencies happen. They can be small, like a child who trips and rips their pants.

They can be large, like a broken bone. When you are caring for children overnight, be prepared for any emergency that can arise.

This means you cannot leave the children unattended at any time. You need to have contact information for parents.

You must be willing and able to remain calm when and if the unexpected happens.

9. Ensure Safety

You can avoid many emergencies by making sure your space is safe.

Your home is probably already childproofed for your own kids, but is it childproofed for others?

For example, you may have all of your hazardous household chemicals locked away, but you have an accessible wine rack that your kids know not to touch.

Will a friend know to stay away from that wine rack or will they be tempted to experiment?

The same can be said for any alcohol or tobacco products.

If you own a firearm, make sure it is firmly stored in a location separate from ammunition. Kids might want to play outside.

You will need to be vigilant to ensure they are staying away from streets and strangers if you live in a busy neighborhood.

10. Put Your Child in Charge

When my kids have friends over, they know that they are in charge.

My kids are given the responsibility to ensure everyone is behaving themselves, not breaking household rules, cleaning up after themselves and being kind.

They are also in charge of ensuring everyone is happy and having a good time. Putting your kids in charge teaches them to take ownership of their choices.

It also gives them excellent leadership skills. Remind them that you are still there to supervise. A good leader doesn’t lead alone.

Key Takeaways

A sleepover can be a lot of fun for your kids. Follow these rules to make sure the sleepover is fun and safe for everyone.

Do you have any additional tips you would like to share? Drop them in the comments!

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