Half term fun: the sleepover
Ha ha, the sleepover – bet you didn’t think that would be a heavenly choice? For the families sending their children to another house it can be a great way to get a free night’s babysitting, or just a night off from the usual bedtime routine. But for the brave folk taking in the spare child it can be one night of hell…
This post is by Nicola Baird, adapted from ideas in her book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.
I love having people to stay – they bring news of the outside world and a chance for the children to meet other adults, from all over the place. I suppose we have about 40 people staying one night (or a lot longer) each year.
It’s a date
But most kids don’t need to copy their elders, they just love the sleepover date with all the anticipated staying up late, sweet-eating and naughtyness. Hopefully none of this materialises – my pet hate is families organising sleepovers that let primary school children stay up super late so that when you pick child is so sleep-deprived they are horrible to be around. As for bad experiences: the little girl who was ill and wanted olive oil poured down her ear (!); the boy ashamed he still was wearing nappies (although this is usually easy enough to sort out with tact thanks to PJs); the homesick eight year old who wanted to go back to Yorkshire (just 300 miles away) etc, etc…
Sometimes you really can’t get a gaggle of kids to sleep. For example when there is a crowd for a birthday sleepover. My tip would be to keep the numbers down, make sure everyone has enough warm bedding and be sure they’ve all had enough physical exercise during the day. A night walk, a swim, a big play in the garden perhaps?
And as the children turn into teenagers mums say put the girls to sleep in one room and the boys in another… and that way they police each other.
When my children were much younger I always tried to get the younger one tagging along if the big one was invited over. That way they didn’t get homesick and Pete and I got a rare night out. Now they are bigger it is sometimes a luxury to have just one child in the house – they both really like pretending to the singleton and enjoying their family’s undivided attention, or use it as a chance to invite a friend over for the spare bed.
So last night while Nell was with her friend 9yo Anna, Lola invited 14y0 Corinna to come around.
Five rounds rapid
Nell and Anna probably got the better deal, because here in Mayhem Towers Lola, Corinna and I were obliged to watch Pete’s tribute to the untimely death of a Dr Who actor (Nicholas Courtney who played Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) in The Daemons. At any rate I know all the girls were pleased to be doing something different at half term that is sheer unadulterated fun.
And I was pleased because Anna’s mum said Nell was nice to have around – and then Nell said thank you again. As is well known, manners maketh you another invite! And that’s good for us all. Good luck with your sleepovers…