“Can we have a sleepover, pleeeeeeeeeease?”. You can already hear the faint sound of laughter, squeals and glasses being knocked over coming down the stairs. But during the school holidays, this is likely to be a common request for many parents. So, when the answer is yes, how are you going to make sure that the sleepover at your house is remembered long after the return to school? To prepare you, whether you have had the question or expect it is imminent, read our guide to sleepovers, including our recommended sleepover party food ideas.
Your guest list
Especially if it’s yours and your child’s first sleepover with friends, we’d suggest you keep the numbers limited. You never know what you might have to deal with, from bed wetting or fear of the dark, to specific dietary requirements, so it’s definitely wise to limit the numbers. We’d recommend a maximum of 3 guests for the first one, but however many you hold, always consider the ratio of grownups to minors.
Secondly, make sure you know who your lodgers are. Organise a get together in the daytime, take them out for an ice cream or bring them on a dog walk. The youngsters need to be comfortable with you and you need to be comfortable with them.
Speak to their parents
This is an obvious one, but it’s always worth discussing the sleepover with guest’s parents. Agree the drop off and pick up times, discover any pre-bedtime rituals, or any issues your guest may have with sleep such as the above fears or wetting. This way, you are prepared for what might happen and have taken necessary precautions to ensure that they, and you, get some sleep.
When considering sleepover party food ideas, it’s also crucial that you are made aware of any dietary requirements. Food is a great source of comfort and familiarity for youngsters and it’s important they can enjoy what you serve.
Make food a fun feature
There’s a lot of value in finding fun activities for your guests to do - they feel entertained and engaged, plus they are more likely to be tired later! A really good idea is to combine two of the key elements of the sleepover: food and activities = food based activities.
Some suggestions include cake making, cake decorating, sundaes, milkshake or smoothie making. These are quite simple activities and the excitement of eating them will certainly keep them engaged. Sweet treats are likely to go down well, but don’t go serving these too close to bedtime as we’ll come onto in the next section! They can then enjoy these with board games, movies, karaoke or building a fort – whatever activities are chosen, make sure that they’re inclusive and can be enjoyed by all the guests at once.
Sleepover party food ideas
For a fun-packed sleepover you won’t want to add in the formality of a sit-down family meal. Instead, you should be thinking indoor picnics, buffets or snacks – sleepovers are social events and food should be enjoyed and ideally, prepared, together.
Things to consider:
- Dietary requirements
- Age of guests
- Sugar levels
- Food safety
Too much sugary or heavy treats too close to bedtime is a bad idea, and you don’t want to serve up anything that might upset an already nervous away-from-home stomach. Familiarity is comforting, so again when speaking with parents, try and determine a few favourites which you can offer up.
If their diet allows, some sure-fire hits for a sleepover include:
- Mini pitta pizzas
- Sandwiches or wraps
- Vegetables with dips
- Fruit pieces
- Fruity smoothies
All of these are light snacks which won’t sit too heavy before bed, can be adapted for dietary needs and provide entertainment as they can be prepared with the help of youngsters. It doesn’t mean you have to discount the usual crisps, chocolate and cakes, just keep them in moderation. Only allow them to eat the cakes they have decorated or made, if offering biscuits or crisps, go for smaller individual offerings rather than full size packets or share packs.
If you have older guests, there is even more variety you can choose when picking sleepover snacks for teenagers – there’s less to consider in terms of safety (they are more likely to keep still while eating) and will be more open to different flavours.
Sleepover leads to Breakfast over
Don’t forget that when they awake, they will need some food to send them on their way. There are a whole host of fun breakfast ideas which you can make, incorporating some the ingredients you stocked up on for the night before.
Smoothies, fruit and yoghurt are a great way to set up for the day ahead. But as sleepovers derived from America, why not go with a traditional American offering of pancakes? With toppings of choice making them fun to decorate for all, and an opportunity to show off your flipping skills in front of the adoring audience, these are a great feature of any sleepover breakfast.
So make yours a sleepover to remember long into the new term. Get these and more sleepover party food ideas and inspiration at your nearest SPAR store.