Five steps to a successful sleepover with the grandkids

Five steps to a successful sleepover with the grandkids

Got the grandchildren coming over to stay the night? Here’s how to make sure it goes without a hitch…

Got the grandchildren coming over to stay the night? Here’s how to make sure it goes without a hitch…

Having your grandchildren to stay can be a lot of fun, but it can be exhausting too. From knowing what to feed them to making sure they sleep well in a strange bed, the first few stays can turn into a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

These five steps, though, should help you to make sure a night at Nana’s house is something they look forward to.

1. Cook kid-friendly food

As you probably well remember, children tend to be fussy eaters, so you’ll have to think carefully when planning what to cook to avoid a Mexican standoff over the dinner table. Check with your son or daughter who likes what and if the kids are allergic to anything.

Burgers are sure to go down well, and you can use lean mince to make it healthier. Mix the meat and roll into patties and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Grill or fry until well cooked – allowing the meat’s own fat to help you rather than adding oil. Serve on toasted burger buns and, for a fun twist, pop some homemade chips in paper cups and serve your drinks with a curly straw to give it that American diner feel.

Another idea is to make cooking part of the fun. Involve them in the process, teaching them about food and passing on your knowledge. You could try making pizza together, mixing up the dough and making smiley faces with their toppings of choice.

Bear in mind that you may need to cook a little earlier than you usually would – ask your son or daughter what time they feed them and try to stick to that to keep them in their routine.

2. Avoid the dreaded “I’m boooooored”

Children now are frequently glued to some form of technology: a TV, tablet or a games console. But you should use this opportunity to expand their horizons by teaching them the games you used to play as a child, or getting creative with some crafts.

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started…

Game: Consequences

  • Each player gets a piece of paper and writes a name (any name), folds the paper to hide what they’ve written and passes it on to the next player.
  • Now add a second name, fold and pass on as before.
  • Continue in this way until you have two names, a place, two quotes and a consequence on each sheet of paper.
  • Now add these bits in between: ‘name’ met ‘name’ at ‘place’. He said ‘quote’, she said ‘quote’ And the consequence was… ‘xxxx’.
  • Read each aloud and chuckle at the disjointed stories.

Craft: Origami

Origami is great for concentration and developing motor skills. It’s rewarding, too, as you turn something as simple as a piece of paper into something else by following simple step-by-step instructions.

You can make animals or flowers, or even a simple paper plane that they can have fun flying, or a boat that they can set to sail in the pond or bathtub.

You can find printable instructions at and, or get a book on it from your local library.

For more activity ideas, see our sister website

3. Have a toy box at the ready

Children have endless resources of energy and it can be hard to keep up. Once you’ve played a couple of games with them, feel free to pull out a box of toys and leave them to their own devices while you put your feet up.

Colouring books and pencils, simple puzzles, dolls, cars, action figures and fancy dress are great options for a variety of ages.

4. Make your guest room kid friendly

If your guest room doubles up as the grandkids’ bedroom, there are a few simple tweaks you can make to ensure they sleep soundly.

For starters, wash the sheets and covers with Fairy Non-Bio, which is gentle on sensitive young skin. Layer the bed with a top sheet, duvet and a blanket at the end of the bed so they can wrap up warm or strip down to the sheet in the night.

Tell them to bring their favourite teddy to sleep with, or have a special stuffed toy that they get to visit when they come to stay. Make sure to give the toy a name and introduce them with a fun story, like the adventures they go on when you’re not looking.

Buy a nightlight in case they don’t like to sleep in the dark, and make sure they know where the bathroom is, leaving the light on in case they need it in the night.

If you have stairs you should buy a stair gate to make sure youngsters don’t take a tumble, and leave their door and your door open a crack so they can easily reach you if they need anything.

5. Tell a bedtime story

Although it’s tempting to let them stay up late as a treat, it’s important to stick to their regular bedtime so you don’t disturb their routine – your son or daughter will appreciate it!

Wind them down for bedtime with a bath and a story. For a special touch, instead of reading a book, tell them stories from your own life or from when their mum or dad was little. This way your memories will become memories of their own to cherish.

What are your secrets to a successful sleepover? Share them in the comments section below.

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Sue 26/06/2017

When my granddaughter comes for a sleepover I give her all my attention any household jobs can wait. If we are on our own we like to cosy up on the sofa with a blanket if it's cool and let her choose a movie or a DVD to watch together with some popcorn or a treat that we had bought at the shops earlier


crofty 26/06/2017

When we have the grand children staying over I always try to make sure I don't have any chores outstanding. That means I can give them as much time as possible. I don't worry about them making too much mess as I can clean up once they've gone. Key to keep their normal routines as much as I can too but add some fun. Bath time is always a fun thing if you have some bath toys and a warm bath will help them prepare for bed

Safety first

Deborah 30/05/2017

always make sure the house is safe when they visit, cook there favourite food, play games with them and most of all use fairy non bio to wash their bedding in and after bath time read them a lovely story before the snuggle down to go to sleep in there soft bedding


Lynda 11/05/2017

Mine's a vegan. What do I feed her? So many food items have hidden animal products included, bread for example. How do I find out?

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