Birthday Parties Scare Me (9Yo Son's Sleepover)

Updated on June 20, 2011
R.J. asks from Seattle, WA
9 answers

Yeah. I'm a wuss. Anxiety attacks (masterfully hidden) for the whole month prior. That part glossed over...

We're looking at doing a sleepover for my son's 9th. 3 good friends. Tent in the livingroom (or out in the yard, but one can never depend on Seattle weather). I'm putting together a preapproval list of movies & videogames (essentially everything we own) to get emailed out ahead of time to their families so I can stash the no-fly ones.

Aside from that... any tips/ tricks/ good advice? I'm thinking of Dinner through Brunch. Should I have games or activities set up or just leave the boys to their own devices by and large?

((I should mention, none of the 3 other boys have met each other. Nothing like a roll of the dice as far as personalities go, hmm?))

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answers from Albany on

Honestly R., one paragraph in any response you've EVER WRITTEN would Single Handedly Save The World, and yet you're afraid of a few 9 year old boys?


I don't think you're going to need to keep them amused. I think if you keep the snacks comin', and the XBox on, you can pretty much ignore them except.....

1) They're TOO quiet TOO long
2) One of them is crying
3) They are standing around stupidly for too long

Enjoy it!


8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Anxiety attacks? R., you?

I think you are overthinking it. Just have a sleepover and let them play. At their age, they can figure out things to do on their own. My kids had sleepovers almost every weekend. I never planned any of it - they made up their own play. That's what kids are supposed to be good at. A tent in the living room is a great start.

Your son will have fun.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Here is what you do...
order pizza for dinner when they get there
pop popcorn for a snack around 10 or so
have decaffeinated sodas available all night as well as gatorade or water
Get donuts and milk for breakfast the next day.

You should definitely let the boys figure it out themselves. Just make stuff to do available like the video games, nerf guns, even maybe water balloons, hockey sticks, kickballs or whatever sports the kids may like.

However since the kids do not all know eachother I would pay attention a little more to make sure that they are all getting along and things are flowing. Chances are really good that they will be. In the event that they are not then maybe you may jump in to help break the ice a little and suggest a group game of something that you can facilitate. Clear this with your son first though. I have a 9 year old who would be so mad if I jumped in no matter what the situation.

Don't worry, it will be fine. Now if it were a group of 9 yo girls I would say to start worrying :-)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Hey R.,

Since last summer, my daughter who is now 8, has had sleep overs.
4 other friends and herself.
For her Birthday and just because.
I've had 2 sleep overs this summer so far, already.

They sleep in the living room.

Really, kids at this age are self-reliant and independent.
I had all kinds of activities planned, but in the end, my daughter and her friends just did what they wanted to do.
My girl even said "Mommy, we are FINE, we're doing our own thing..."
They didn't even watch the entire movie that my daughter wanted to watch. CJ7. Good movie by the way. For kids or adults.

They also played on the Xbox, Rock Band and watched streaming Netflix.

But, it was pretty much, them entertaining themselves. And happy to do so. At no time, did they get bored.
My Husband even packed them into the minivan and took them to the park nearby. And he took them for yogurt at Yogurtland.

They stayed up until very late, had fun, passed out then woke up the next morning before 6:00am.

Even if your son and the 3 boys never met each other... I think it will be FINE!
After vibe-ing each other out, they will entertain themselves.

Do you know the parents? Just ask if any of them have allergies etc.

Also, I let my daughter's friends, call their parents before bed, IF they wanted to. Only 1 wanted to.
I told them they can wake me ANYTIME at night if they need to.
I got each one, a flashlight to keep next to them, and I had night lights scattered throughout the house and in the kitchen. In case they pitter pattered around at night or to go to the bathroom.

I slept in a nearby room, on the sofa, so I could hear them... but far away enough that they felt privacy.

I fed them pizza and beverages, popcorn, snacks and breakfast was pancakes/bacon and eggs and muffins.
They barely ate. Because, they were SO busy!

And I told the girls, which rooms were OFF limits and put signs on the doors. It was fine.

I told them, after 8:00pm, NO high pitched screaming. Because that is what girls do. But after 8:00pm, that is when my ears are at their limit. LOL

They also ran around in the yard. And did pretend play.
They even did their own nail salon activities and 'fashion show' for us.

Pretty much, they do things independently, and do it well, by this age.

I told the Moms, they could stay for a bit if they wanted to. Only 1 stayed. For a bit. But I know her well. It was our time too.
Most Moms, were just drop-off and leave types.

OH! I also told the Moms, to make SURE their kids took a bath before coming over.
The drop off time for my daughter's sleep-over was 4:00.
Pick up the next day by 10:00am.

Good luck!

My son is 4, has had no sleep overs, but playdates over here. And even at his age... he and his friends pretty much play independently too. They have so many ideas, on what to do, and we have lots of stuff in the house to play with.

R., you will be fine.
They will be fine.
It will be fine.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

That's a good sized group. Good job on limiting it. I would have a lights out/quiet time and try to enforce it, although sometimes easier said than done. I would put away/hide any food you don't want spilled/smashed into the floor, etc. You might want to plan one active activity to get some of the energy out. We usually start outside or somewhere else (I have two boys) to tire out the group before we end up at our house for movies and videogames. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

We let my son do a half-birthday (no gifts, just so he gets to enjoy having a few friends over) campout like this each summer since he's a December blizzard baby. He and his friends love it. And we've had 8 boys in there, lol.

Set a few ground rules: 1) They are not to leave the yard (once mine went down the road at midnight knocking on doors; I sent them apologizing the next morning!), 2) No hitting, fighting, yelling and quiet voices by 11pm (or whatever time you think your neighbors would prefer) 3) Treat the tent with respect (no crashing into walls, gentle with the zipper, etc. (I love my tent and it wasn't cheap)., 4) NO food or drink in the tent (set up a picnic table in the garage and keep it closed to prevent creatures later or take inside). I have some of those $2 landscaping lights from Walmart garden section to light the way back to the house.

They will make their own fun, but here are a few suggestions:

flashlights and xtra batteries
jars to catch fireflies
glowsticks/bracelets (check Target $1 section NOW, I pick up anytime I see them)
hotdogs/burgers or pizza for dinner
water games for earlier but take away once sun goes down or you will have cold kids!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Hi R.,

I think you will have a great time and the boys will entertain themselves so I wouldn't plan too many games :)

For dinner something fun for dinner is "make your own pizza's"....use english muffins (or get pizza dough), let the boys make their own from the sauce to toppings and cheese...bake it and there you go. Whatever you do, just have lots of snacks. Boys like to eat! :-)

Have fun!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

First...take a deep breath. I am a planner, so naturally I went overboard for my daughters first sleepover. Totally unnecessary. All you need is snack food. That's it. Period. We've been having sleepovers for going on 6 or 7 years now, and at this point the only thing I am concerned about is that everyone has a toothbrush. Now sleepovers happen spur of the moment. Kids will always find things to do, so I wouldn't worry about movies/games etc...because they probably won't watch/play what you plan for anyhow. Since this is your first, my advice would be to make sure that no one has food allergies, and is anyone on medications that they'll need when they are there. It is a good idea to find out what other parents won't let their kids watch/play and hide those items, and if you have any food that you don't want them eating...hide that too.
Take one more deep breath...and have a good time :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

Lol, wait until he's 16, then have the panic attack! It sounds like you are getting things covered just fine. The boys will find lots to do on their own and will have no problem keeping busy. Now, for when your son is older keep these things in mind, which I recently learned with my 16 & 17 year old's parties:
1. If they ask you if one of them can drive everyone to an all night health club to play basketball - the answer is NO.
2. If they ask you at 2am if they can build a fire in the back yard - the answer is NO.
3. If you have any food hidden that you don't want them to find - it WILL be gone in the morning.
4. If it is a hot summery day, do not bother with cups - each boy will gladly take their own 2-liter for themselves.
5. The hours they spend debating who will sleep where based on who is taller or shorter will outnumber the hours they actually spend sleeping.
6. There is no way you can buy enough food, so don't even try.
Good luck and enjoy the 9 year olds!!!

1 mom found this helpful
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