If you loved slumber parties as a kid, you’re probably eager to help your children enjoy them, too. Plan ahead to keep everyone safe and entertained.

Planning Your Slumber Party

1. Draft your guest list. Most children are mature enough for overnight parties starting at about age eight. Limit the gathering to a size you can accommodate comfortably. Sleepovers are fun for boys and girls, but avoiding co-ed parties makes a parent’s job easier.

2. Collect parental contact information for all your guests. Ask every parent to give you his or her contact information in case of emergencies. Younger guests may change their minds about spending the whole night away from home. It’s also important to identify any issues like food allergies or necessary medications.

3. Stock up on extra personal items. Be prepared in case anyone forgets their toothbrush. Have some extra new pairs of kids’ rubber flip-flops on hand to protect their feet during nighttime trips to the bathroom.

4. Let your child play host. Give your child some etiquette lessons. Praise them for helping with invitations and decorations. Show them how to greet guests and thank them as they depart.

Scheduling Your Slumber Party

1. Arrange drop-off times. Ask parents to drop kids off late in the day to keep things manageable. You can serve dinner if you like or let their parents know you’ll be serving snacks only.

2. Enforce bedtimes. Proper bedtimes will depend on the ages of your guests. Younger children may need to be tucked away by 10 p.m. at the latest, while older kids can stay up until midnight. Ask kids to set up their sleeping bags in the living room or any designated area as soon as they arrive to make the final sleeping arrangements faster.

3. Specify pick-up times. Hold your party on an evening when everyone can sleep in a little. A nutritious breakfast makes a nice send-off and it’s an easy meal to prepare. Ask parents to arrive before lunch so you can get back on schedule the next day.

Sleep Over Activities

1. Spend some time outside the house. Planning one major activity outside the home often helps kids to use up extra energy and get along better. Go swimming or play miniature golf.

2. Do crafts. Inexpensive craft supplies will also keep kids constructively occupied. Let them make gifts for their parents or souvenirs to remember your party. Depending on their ages, they could create paper plate animal faces or decorate pillowcases together.

3. Serve food. Food is a mainstay at slumber parties. Balance junk food with healthier options like cut vegetables and whole-wheat pitas. Older kids can enjoy designing their own salads or sundaes.

Sleep Over Rules

1. Follow traditional safety rules. Clearly announce the house rules for keeping everyone safe. Explain that everyone needs to stay inside overnight. Ask them to consult you first if they want to use the kitchen or any appliances.

2. Practice cyber safety. There may be more factors to consider now than when you were growing up. If you prefer, ask everyone to turn their cell phones over until morning to resist the temptation for prank calls and texting that sometimes increases when kids get together. Keep computers out of the designated sleeping area.

3. Stay behind the scenes. Let everyone know you’re close by but give them enough privacy to enjoy themselves. If you deliver food when you make your spot checks, you can be vigilant and unobtrusive.

Sleepovers are a great way for kids to develop closer friendships and learn about hospitality. Help your kids throw an overnight party that’s responsible and fun.