It’s inevitable. If you have children they will eventually ask if they can have a friend, or friends, spend the night. For those who remember being a child and sleeping over at a friends’ house and the chaos that ensued, you may be wondering how to survive sleepovers.

Sleepovers can be a great deal of fun for the children but they aren’t always fun for the parents. In fact, some parents feel they’re ill-prepared and panic at the thought of having a sleepover in their home. However, if you take time to plan the sleepover, it doesn’t have to be something to lose sleep over.

Discuss the idea of having a sleepover with your children. How many guests do they want to have? It is best to have an even number of children, including your child, so no one is left out. When would they like the sleepover to be? Will you have some time to prepare the home before the sleepover occurs?

Your child may want to give out written invitations. Be sure to include your telephone number and ask the guests’ parents to call you and confirm their child will come. This will also give you a chance to find out if their child has any special needs – do they have food allergies, do they take medication or anything similar?

Discuss with your child what the house rules are ahead of time. Let them know which activities are acceptable and which ones are not. For example, they aren’t to jump on the furniture and they are not to leave the house. They can, however, eat the snacks you provide, stay up until a predetermined time and have as much fun as possible. Whatever your rules are, you’ll want to be sure your child understands the rules before the sleepover and then repeat them for the guests.

Plan some activities for you to do with the children as well as board games or arts and crafts they can do on their own. Have the children help you make dinner or cookies. If you plan craft projects, be sure you have all of the supplies you’ll need.

Movies are a great option, too. Borrow a movie or two from the library or get them from a movie rental business. For even more fun, if you have a video camera, let the children make their own movie. They’ll have so much fun watching themselves when the movie is finished.

Since you’ve already determined a specific time for the children to go to bed, give them a chance to settle down first. Give them an opportunity to sing, dance and be silly before making them go to bed.

It is possible to survive a sleepover if you give it forethought and plan the evening. Don’t be surprised if you hear plenty of laughing during the sleepover and possibly some complaints when it’s time for the children to go to sleep. However, if you’re willing to put up with some noise and stick to the rules you’ve laid out, you should be able to survive this sleepover and any others that follow.