Sleep overs are such a fun part of childhood. I vividly remember the feeling of belonging and shared experiences with my friends as we told stories with our flashlights and fell asleep with my heart full. But now we’re adults. And when you’re hosting a sleep over for you child and their friends, it’s not quite the same. You have to prepare for it, make sure the kids are falling asleep on time, and ensure their safety. You can absolutely create a memorable sleep over for your little one and keep their sleep on track. Here’s my best sleep over ideas to make it memorable for everyone. 

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Sleep Over Ideas

Sleepovers are such a memorable part of childhood. To help make your child’s sleepovers memorable for them, you can invite their friends over for a themed slumber party. Some theme ideas could be camping, dress up, or a movie theme. With a camping theme, you could do it either inside or outside, if it’s age appropriate. Check with the other parents to see what might work best for the children attending.

If you’re doing it inside, you can have the kids set up their own tents or forts made out of blankets and other items around the house in your child’s room. If you have an outdoor grill of fire pit, you can have them cook their own dinner out there if it’s age appropriate, or help them do it.

For example, you can make hot dogs and let them do it on a stick. Or after dinner, have a campfire in the backyard and let them roast marshmallows. Kids will feels like they’re getting a camping experience but will still be able to sleep in the comfort of air conditioning and heat inside. 

Sleep Over Party Ideas

If you’re doing a dress up party, you can chose a theme and ask the kids to come dressed for that theme. Or you can provide costumes at your house for them to change into and play.

You could even do a theme based on a fun movie that your child likes. For example, you could do an Indian Jones theme and have the kids make their own obstacle courses.

A movie can also be a fun part of having a sleepover. However, make sure it’s age appropriate so the kids aren’t scared when they fall asleep. Also, try to have the movie end at least an hour before you’re planning on having the kids go to sleep. This will give them enough time to wind down after the movie and have the effects of the blue light begin to wear off.

Getting SLEEP at Sleep Overs

When the children arrive at the sleepover, sit them all down and spend a few minutes communicating your expectations. Children love being in the know. So let me know what time they’re going to be going to bed so that they know ahead of time and aren’t upset or confused when you tell them it’s time for bed later that night.

Before you plan on getting the kids to sleep, have them do some wind down activities. And try to make these activities similar to what they do at home. For example, you can start with their hygiene and have them brush and floss their teeth, like they would at home. Consistency will help to cue them that it’s time to begin winding down for the night.

Storytelling

A great way to get kids into their beds is to have a storytelling time before they go to sleep. Dim the lights in the bedroom and allow them to each tell a story. This will help to set the stage for sleep. If this seems like too much pressure for them, you can have some books ready for them so they can get some short stories from there to read to the group. An example could be Where the Sidewalk Ends, which has a collection of funny short stories and poems.

If you’re planning on letting them watch a movie, plan on having it end an hour or more before bedtime to minimize blue light, which can disrupt their sleep.

If you’re planning on offering snacks before bedtime, aim for low to no sugar snacks that are higher in protein. Sugar can

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ramp kids up, which will make it more challenging for them to fall asleep.

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The Morning After the Sleep Over

Start the day with giving the kids breakfast. Children can wake up earlier than usual at sleepovers. If you have one early riser, they can wake up the whole group. To help get breakfast going, I recommend trying to plan for it the day before. You can make some pancakes the day before so all you need to do is heat them up in the morning. Cut up some fruit and vegetables the day before so that they’re ready to go. Give a few different options, as the kids sleeping over may have different tastes then your child. Some easy breakfast options might include pancakes, cereal, fruit, eggs, peanut butter toast, or avocado toast.

The best sleepovers are those that the kids have shared experiences. So think of some experiences that your child would enjoy with their friends. You can allow the kids some open play time before parents come to pick them up. If it’s easy to get them outside, let them burn off some energy by running around together before pickup time. You can have them play a sport together, do relay races, or even do a scavenger hunt outdoors.

Or if you’re wanting to stay indoors, you can have a craft ready for them to do after breakfast. This could be a fun way for them to bring home a memento from their sleepover.

Alternatively, you could have a group board game or puzzle ready for them after breakfast to keep their minds busy before pickup.

Sleep Over Safety Tips

Communicate with the children when they arrive what the rules are in your home if you have any. Think about whether or not they’re allowed to go in the backyard without an adult or if you want them to stay inside.

You’ll want to make sure that you have enough adults to be able to manage the number of children. If it’s a larger group, you’ll probably want to have at least two adults.

Before the children come over, check with their parents to see if they have any food allergies or sensitivities so that you can prepare a safe meal for everyone. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have two emergency contacts for each child, just in case you can’t get a hold of one.

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Memorable Sleep Overs

Let’s take a moment to realize that making these nights special is about much more than bedtime stories and cozy forts. It’s about your child enjoying shared laughs, unforgettable moments, and building a little community with their friends.

So give yourselves a pat on the back. The memories created under the glow of nightlights and shared secrets are the real treasures. As the sun rises, it’s like a spotlight on the friendships further strengthened by the fun that the kids have had together.

You may need to get your child to bed a little earlier tonight to help them catch up on any missed sleep. But in the end, it’s not just about the sleepover; it’s about the bonds that grow stronger and the endless smiles that stick around even after the sun is up.

About the Author

I’m Kaley Medina, the proud founder of Live Love Sleep®. I live in Texas with my husband and high school sweetheart, Zeke, along with our two wonderful children, Evalyn and Leo, and our furry companion, Louie.
My journey into the world of sleep consultancy began with the sleep struggles of my own daughter, Evalyn. From her early days, she proved to be a challenging sleeper, staying awake for waaaaaay too long and causing many sleepless nights. I tried everything I could think of, from feeding her to sleep to bouncing on a yoga ball until my legs ached to the delicate process of transitioning her to her crib without waking her. I even resorted to late-night vacuuming while wearing her in a baby carrier….needless to say, none of it work.

The constant sleep deprivation left me frazzled and unable to enjoy precious moments with my family. Desperate for a solution, I ventured into the world of sleep training when Evalyn turned six months. To my surprise,

gentler methods yielded incredible results, transforming our lives. Fueled by this success, I became a Certified Sleep Consultant and founded Live Love Sleep®. As your Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I understand that a child’s sleep is influenced by various factors, including diet, sleep environment, routines, schedules, developmental milestones, and so much more.

I craft personalized sleep plans that consider the bigger picture to solve your child’s sleep challenges comprehensively. What sets my services apart is the ongoing support I provide, ensuring your family reaches its sleep goals within weeks.

A former client described the experience as “utterly LIFE CHANGING.” I’m committed to helping parents like you and your child get the rest you need and deserve. Let’s work together to achieve better sleep and a happier, healthier family life.