10 Tips for A Successful Sleepover at Grandma’s

Sleepovers at grandma’s house can be the best times of your kid’s lives but they can also cause anxiety for all if you’re not prepared. So how do you have successful sleepovers at Grandma’s? In this post, I’ll give you 10 simple tips to help make sure the time spent will be wonderful for both you and your grandkids.

As a grandmother to a toddler, I know that sleepovers can be difficult. We have had our fair share of late night pickups because he really wanted mom and dad! But we have also had successes as well. The morning wake ups with breakfast and cartoons are the best.

Choose any of the suggestions below to create a shared time with your grandkids that everyone will long remember. Simple activities shared together can become real ‘moments that matter’ in the memories of your grandkids.


1. Communicate Ground Rules with Parents

Sometimes parents and grandparents have different ideas of what is acceptable when it comes to children. What might have been fine when you were raising your kids might not be what the parents want while raising their own kids.

• Spoil them Rotten: Spoiling the grandkids is what we do best but definitely be considerate of their parents too. Don’t forget how much time it took for your own kiddos to adjust after spending a night of spoiling at grandma’s house.

• Create Memories: On the flip side of that, also remember that time spent with grandparents is for making memories with their grandchildren. Grandma’s house is meant to be different and fun for a reason. Creating those memories and fun moments will be something that your children will cherish for years to come. A couple of days of adjustment is well worth the special times that they will have with grandma and grandpa.

• Safety First: Make sure that you have an up to date car seat for the little ones if you are going to go somewhere and learn how to buckle it properly. After all, it probably has been a long time since you’ve had to do that and things change all the time!

• Discipline: Sometimes you will need to discipline your grandkids too. Make sure you understand how their parents want them to be disciplined. Do they want them in time out, do they only practice positive parenting? It’s best to ask to get everything out in the open beforehand so the kids aren’t confused and everyone is on the same page.

• Communication is the Key: Thoughtful communication up front will save any hurt feelings or misunderstandings later. Sleepovers at grandma’s house are supposed to be fun, enjoy them knowing that everyone is happy.

2. Prepare Snacks Ahead of Time

Now to the fun part, planning the ultimate sleepover!!

The first thing that I like to think about is what kind of snacks to prepare. It really depends on how long your grandkids will be there to know how many snacks to make. A good rule of thumb to follow is one or two snacks during movie or game time if it’s just for one night. Plan for a few more snacks for the whole weekend.

If the kids are only staying one night, of course, you will want to wait till after dinner to provide the snacks.

Our favorites are:

• popcorn

• homemade trail mix

• fruit or veggie tray

• cheese and crackers

• Smoothies are also great fun for the kids to help make with all of their favorite items

Make it fun and arrange them on a pretty platter or let them have their own snack tray if there is more than one grandchild spending the night.

3. Plan a Theme for Your Sleepover

If you want to make the sleepover extra special, plan a theme for the party.

• Movie night: Pop some popcorn and pick out their favorite movies.
• Camping Out: Pitch the tent and make S’mores over the campfire (aka cook stove)
• Animal Safari: Have them bring their stuffed animals and explore the wildlife in the jungles of your home.
• Dance Party: Karaoke the night away. Just don’t forget to turn off the music to wind down about an hour or so before bed or they’ll never fall asleep!
• Travel to Other Countries: Find a map or globe and have the kids point to a place while blindfolded. When they see where they pointed, Google the other country to learn more about it and how people dress and talk. It’s also a great time to play dress up with the kids!
• Game Night: Find all their favorite board games and have fun. You might even bring out some of your old favorites. They will have a blast learning the games you played as a kid.

4. Find Some Great Books for Story Time

You will want your grandkids to bring some of their favorite books but it’s also fun to have some on hand for something different. Here are a few of my favorites that we read to the grandkids when they come over:

5. Layout Some Crafts

Pinterest has some excellent age appropriate crafts that would be perfect for sleepovers.

My grandkids are only 3 and 1 but our favorites include:

• Watercolor paintings
• Balloon rockets
• Soap clouds made with ivory soap
• Anything that we can make with markers
• Laying out craft paper and coloring
• Making a fairy garden
• Pretend fun with big boxes

I’m sure the list will continue to grow as they get older!

6. Make Dinnertime Special

Find different ways to make dinnertime fun.

• Have a Buffet: One of our favorite ways to make dinnertime special is to have a buffet of all of their favorite foods. They don’t have to be foods that typically are eaten together either. Mix it up by making hamburgers and mashed         potatoes, mac and cheese with chips and dip, the possibilities are endless. They will have fun helping to plan the meal and they might even eat everything on their plate. It’s a win-win!!
• Breakfast for Dinner: Another fun way to make dinnertime special is to make a breakfast night. Kids would love eating eggs and hash browns at night. Waffles or french toast topped with their favorite fruit would make the perfect   dessert.
• Picnics are Fun: Have a picnic on the living room floor! Gather up a blanket and a picnic basket if you have one and pack some kabobs, sandwich wraps, peanut butter and jelly or whatever the kids would love for a picnic and have fun!

7. Provide Comforts of Home

Sometimes kids can get homesick and that’s very understandable. Make your grandchild’s stay more comfortable with the comforts of home.

• Favorite Lovey: Make sure the kids bring their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. This will be especially helpful at bedtime. Another comfort is to have them choose a stuffed animal or blanket from a store so they will always know that   it’s there if they forget theirs from home.
• Keep a Routine: If the kids have a routine at home, try to stick with it as much as possible. This will help them adjust better to being away from home and will help the parents later when it’s time to go home.
• Loosen up: Sometimes your grandkids don’t like to eat the same things that their mom makes because it’s not the way mom cooks it or don’t like the same story because it’s not the way mom reads it! Believe me, I’ve learned from      experience!! Just don’t be a stickler when it comes to things like that and don’t take it personal. It will be a lot of trial and error but eventually all of you will learn to love the differences at grandma’s house and develop favorite foods   and activities of your own.

8. Beat the Nighttime Blues

Bedtimes can be the most stressful to your grandkids because it’s not their normal routine. Hopefully these tips will help to prevent those middle of the night transfers.

• Keep Activities to a Minimum: Bedtime is a time to wind-down. Get out their favorite books and loveys and snuggle for story time.
• Find a Place to Sleep: We have really been thinking of getting our grandkids a couple those little cots that you see in stores. But during our last sleepover, we found something even better…we bought a small tent and the kids love it!    It’s also fun if you are pretending to “camp” at dinner in the living room.
• Expect the Unexpected: The first few times that our grandson slept over, he insisted that he wanted to go home when it was time for bed. Luckily, our son lives just down the road so he was able to come get him. But, on occasion,   our grandson would say it a few times and then fall asleep in my arms. So have patience at first to see how it plays out, especially if they are really young.

9. Create a Fun Breakfast

They made it through the night! That’s a big milestone for them, especially in the beginning. Celebrate with a memorable breakfast.

• Color their World: Turn ordinary breakfast items into colorful rainbows using food coloring. Let them add a drop or two of their favorite color into their oatmeal or make them green eggs and ham. Bonus points if you read the Dr.    Seuss book while eating breakfast!!
• Make a Great Presentation: Cut toast or pancakes into their favorite animals using a cookie cutter or create a smiley face in their food. Whatever fun characters that you create will for sure make the breakfast extra special.
• Create a Fun Setting: Make dry erase placemats for the kids to use over and over again. Buy colorful plates, cups and silverware for them to use, create place cards with their names on them, use craft paper as a tablecloth and let   them draw while eating.

10. Enjoy Your Time Together

No matter what, make sure you enjoy your time together.

These tips are simple and don’t take much planning but doing them is not mandatory. The primary goal is just enjoy your time together and create special memories to bond with your grandchildren. There is no better joy than just hearing your grandchild tell you that they have the best time with you even if you have nothing planned.

Also, don’t forget to take lots of pictures to preserve those memories!!


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Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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