Last night Phyllis had her first ever sleepover. Her friend, also 6, came for New Year's Eve and stayed. We survived; having had 3 kids I have developed a very strict set of rules for sleepovers:
1. Choose your guest/s wisely. Phyllis' little friend came from Good Stock. We know the parents and knew that they were bringing her up well. She was polite and fun. Do not choose a child who has multiple piercings under the age of 10, is named Checayne, Tequila or similar, and who's mother is 12. On the flip side, do no allow a child to stay who has a live in nanny and a maid. They will sneer at your Factory Shop furnishings, and demand scrambled quail's eggs on a fat/sugar/salt free brioche for breakfast.
2. Give them sweets. Yes, I know that is against everything you have been brought up to believe, but look at it this way: They will be hyper anyway, would you rather blame their behaviour on Haribo or your total lack of control as a parent?
3. Cram in as many children as will fit in the house. Again, this may seem crazy, but the less space they have, the less they can move. Moving=mischief.
This also makes the inevitable arguments more interesting and varied, and chances are they will tell each other to go to sleep as the first few get tired, saving you a job.
4. Invite children who have unusually early bedtimes. Phyllis' friend is usually tucked up by 6.30pm. The odds on her being tired at a reasonable time are significantly better than, say, a child whose usual bedtime is 9pm.
5. From the age of about 8 or nine, sleepovers become a popular and regular occurrence, particularly with girls. Parents of said kids will usually take turns to host the sleepovers. Make sure your turn falls in the summer months and stick them all in the garden in a tent. Surprise them with one unannounced 'supervision' visit to let them know they are being watched, then leave them to it.
6. Behave totally inappropriately in the house (see 'How to get your teenager to go to bed') to ensure they only come in when absolutely necessary, like if an alien abducts one of them. And maybe not even then.
7. If they are old enough to have a sleepover, they are old enough to make their own breakfast. Leave out a selection of easy things for them to make, like the cornflakes you've been trying to get rid of for months but no-one in your family will eat. Hide the nice stuff! I cannot stress this enough. This particularly applies to teenage boys...
Today: Phrases that may be used in an emergency
"I want you all asleep by 10pm. If you're quiet though, I might forget you're not asleep and you may get to stay up longer..."
"Ah, poor thing. If you can't settle to sleep here, maybe I should take you home."
"Of course you can come in! ***'s (insert name of your child) dad is just watching the 'News at 10' in his pants, but you won't mind that will you?"
For loud music: "Oh my gosh I LOVE this song!! Turn it up!" Dance outrageously.