Tween…Socializing… Successful Sleepovers

Pillow fights, late night ghost-stories, plenty of popcorn, and tons of giggling. That about sums it up. Sleepovers (aka Slumber Parties) are as common as apple pie among tween girls. They provide a fun, healthy, way for girls to build strong relationships and lifelong friends. After all, what’s more fun than staying up until 2:00am, eating all the junk food you can hold, and watching your favorite movie with that cute guy in it?

As a parents, you will probably be asked at some point to either host one of these ingenious events or your daughter will beg you to attend one. If you follow these simple tips, she’ll “love you forever” (or at least until you say “No” to her again) and you’ll feel good about where she’s going and what she’s doing.

If the Fun is at Your House:

  • Load-up on giggle food. By definition, slumber parties require lots of “giggle food.” That is, food that is fattening, really bad for you, and sticks to your teeth. Anything in the gummy bear, Doritos, and Oreo categories will do. After all, girls need lots of junk food so they can overdose on sugar, making their giggles louder (and more annoying) when they talk about their crushes.
  • Stack-up the DVD’s. Let your daughter pick out a couple of DVDs for the party. But, they should be movies that you approve. Something rated R is probably not a good choice and it might upset other parents if they find out their daughters have seen nudity scenes or heard inappropriate language. This is a good rule to have regardless of whether or not it’s a slumber party night.
  • Suggest hames. You might not be “cool” according to your daughter, but you can still impress her by coming up with a couple creative games or crafts for the girls to do together. Take a trip to the drugstore and buy some inexpensive make-up and nail polish in every color imaginable. Then present the make-over extravaganza to party-goers. Instantly, the girls will dub you the “ultra coolest momma” in the neighborhood!
  • Leave them alone. The ultimate idea behind a sleepover is for “girls to be girls.” In order to have fun and bond, your daughter and her girlfriends need time to be alone. Who wants their mom or dad hanging around to ruin all of the girl gossip? Check in on them from time to time, offer them snacks, but give them their space.
  • Prepare for an all-nighter. Who ever heard of bedtime during a sleepover? Trying to impose an early bedtime is unrealistic. Most girls this age naturally fall asleep before 2am. But if you feel strongly that you don’t want them up that late, suggest a time when they shut the lights off and wind down. Just be prepared to continue to hear lots of laughs coming from behind her bedroom door.
  • Get the 411 on her friends. Be sure that you speak to her friends parents ahead of time to make sure they’re on board with the sleepover plans. Some parents have reservations about their daughter’s spending the night away from home and will feel more comfortable briefly chatting with you. If you don’t know the parents, call and introduce yourself. Let them know the schedule and that you will be home during the party.

If She’s Going To A Girlfriend’s House:

  • Talk with the parents. As parents, we like to give our daughters the benefit of the doubt – but, sometimes girls plot adventures and the slumber party “defense” is launched as a cover for what’s really going on. So, contact the parents who are having the slumber party to find out what’s on the agenda. If you are worried about looking nosey, offer to bring a snack for the girls to the party.
  • She can always come home. Let your daughter know that you are willing to pick her up if she decides she doesn’t want to spend the night. Some girls get to the party and then decide they are a little homesick. Or, she may feel uncomfortable with the activities, so give her an “out” if she needs one.
  • No boys allowed! This statement seems like a no-brainer, but some parents actually do have “mixed” slumber parties (both boys and girls are invited). Let’s just say that this is a big No-No. It’s inappropriate for preteen girls to sleep in the same bed (or room) as boys – and remember, this is the time when “experimentation” with sex usually occurs. You get the picture. Verify with her girlfriend’s parents that there is a “no boys” policy when your daughter spends the night.