How to have successful sleepovers with your grandchildren

Grandmother reading to her grandchild

There is something truly magical about the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren, and overnight trips can often help to further cement that relationship. We spoke to bloggers to get their top tips on how you can host a memorable sleepover for your grandchildren. We also asked bloggers for their opinions on why they consider sleepovers to be a special component of a grandparent and grandchildren relationship.

Plan fun snack times

Something savoury

Boiled eggs and toast

Boiled eggs and soldiers, otherwise affectionately known as ‘dippy eggs’ is a wholesome and tasty teatime meal which doesn’t require much effort or prep time. This meal is ideal for those who require the help of mobility equipment such as a curved stairlift because you don’t need to spend long on your feet in the kitchen preparing the food.

To make the dippy eggs extra special you can draw on some colourful and funny faces on the shells for younger children or use a variety of alternative soldiers to dip into the eggs for older children such as sausages, or asparagus wrapped in streaky bacon.

Claire from Life, Love and Dirty Dishes told us how a simple dippy egg and soldier supper holds fond memories of sleepovers at her grandparents’ house: “I used to love sleepovers at my grandparents’ house when I was a child.  My grandad made the best boiled eggs and soldiers ever and now my children in turn love sleepovers at my parents’ house, and not least because they get spoilt and Nana reads them tons of bedtime stories. My parents love having them and my children have an incredible bond with them.”

Something sweet

Strawberries and cream

A child’s diet should be full of healthy food which is beneficial to their health and overall wellbeing. However, as a special treat you could spend time creating a fun snack together before snuggling up for a relaxed evening. Jaclyn from Crayons and Cravings says: “A special treat that the kids can help make would create even more terrific memories. The children would have a blast making their own ice-cream sundaes, or decorating cupcakes with as much icing and sprinkles as their little heart's desire.”

Take your ice-cream sundae game to the next level by using a variety of delicious ingredients, for example an Eton Mess sundae consists of broken piece of meringue, freshly sliced strawberries and strawberry or vanilla ice-cream, or a sweet tooth sundae which incorporates generous chunks of your grandchild’s favourite chocolates or sweets, things like gummy bears, Mars Bar chunks and Maltesers always go down a treat. Not only will your grandchildren enjoy letting their creativity flow, but they will also love sharing their concoction with you.

As well as creating a delectable dessert, we also asked Jaclyn why she thinks sleepovers are an important part of a grandparent and grandchild relationship: “I have the most wonderful memories of spending the night at my grandparents’ house when I was a little girl. Now that I am grown and have my own child, I want my son to enjoy time with his grandparents and create memories that he can cherish for a lifetime.”

Make fresh popcorn and choose a film

Fill your home with the incredible aroma of freshly made popped corn and settle down to watch a movie of your grandchild’s choice. This can be a great way to settle down for the evening as well as spending some quality time together as Emma from Me and B Make Tea explains: “My son absolutely loves having a sleepover with his grandparents. He is always excited about spending time with them, and grandma loves to treat him. Some of the best times are spent snuggling on the sofa with a good film and some popcorn.”

You can either buy some corn kernels to make your own popcorn or buy a microwave bag to make the process even easier. Either way, both varieties have a long shelf life and so are great snacks to keep in the pantry for future sleepovers.

Making your own popcorn from scratch is simple and another great activity your grandchildren can help with. Place about 2 tablespoons of oil into a large saucepan and add in half a cup of corn kernels. Turn the heat to high, cover the pan with a lid and wait for the popping sound to stop. Give your saucepan a good shake and let the popped corn sit to cool for about a minute.

Once your grandchild has selected their film, and the corn is popped, all that’s left to do is snuggle under a cosy blanket and unwind for the evening.

Reminders of home

While sleeping over at your house will no doubt fill your grandchildren with tremendous amounts of excitement, it can also be a major milestone if this their first time sleeping away from home. Feeling homesick is normal for children when they are away from home, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be spending time with you. Children of all ages can experience homesickness, but it is more likely to strike younger children and little ones who haven’t spent a night away from home before.

Encouraging your grandchildren to bring something which reminds them of home can be a great way to help ease their homesickness. Children respond well to sensory cues, things that they can see, smell or hear, can make a world of difference and make a new environment feel familiar. Perhaps your grandchild could bring their favourite cuddly toy, or pillow, an item of mum or dad’s clothing such as a cardigan or jumper can also do the trick.

Elaine from Entertaining Elliot is mum to a six-year-old and a two-year-old and told us that her children often take familiar items to sleepovers: “My children adore going to their grandparents’ house for a sleepover and half the fun is packing their little suitcases with their favourite teddies. They love the novelty of Nanny and Grandad reading their bedtime story and they love creeping into their bed the next morning for a big cuddle.”

Stick to their normal bedtime routine as much as possible

Baby bed time story

While routine can often go out of the window during a sleepover, it can be beneficial to try and keep an element of normality when your grandchildren visit.

Things like having meals, stories and ‘lights out’ at similar times as they would at home can help create a calm and relaxed atmosphere, especially for younger grandchildren as Elaine explains: “My top tip for grandparents would be to stick to the routine as well as they can. I know when my children go to their grandparents for a sleepover, they are always very excited and if they stay up late as treat, it will be a battle getting them to sleep. Rather than being tired and willing to go to bed, they end up over-tired as well as over-stimulated and more often than not end up waking up early the next morning. To ensure everyone gets a decent night's sleep, my mum now makes sure they go to bed around their normal time and things run more smoothly.”

Kate from The Less-Refined Mind also encourages maintaining a sense of the typical bedtime routine: “My best advice is to allow treats, of course, but not a very late night. Routine remains important; perhaps even more so when children are not in familiar surroundings with their parents.

“Overnight stays with grandparents are particularly special occasions because they allow a more profound bond to form. Children are at their most dependent and vulnerable, and grandparents get to step in and temporarily experience being the one to placate and settle night-time worries. It's a huge but rewarding responsibility.”

Sleepovers can give grandparents a new lease of life

While your grandchildren will no doubt love their time with you, looking after them can also be hugely rewarding for you as Emma from Fashion-Mommy explains: “Sleepovers are a wonderful opportunity for grandparents to bond with their grandchildren. I think spending time with grandchildren can often give a Nan and Grandad a new lease of life, as well as a new perspective, it can basically help keep them young.”

Being a grandparent is a huge responsibility but spending time with them can help keep you active both physically and mentally. From a leisurely after supper stroll in your local park to helping with homework or reading bedtime stories, spending time with your grandchildren can be rewarding as well as giving you mental stimulation.

Emma’s son Joe often enjoys sleepovers at his grandparents’ home: “My parents have amazing sleepovers for my boy as they have decorated one of their spare bedrooms just for him to give him his own space. They have made sure the room has a nightlight and a selection of specially chosen bedtime stories. At Christmas, they even got a second-hand PS3 so grandad could play FIFA with him. Joe really looks forward to sleepovers and the chance to spend some quality time with nan and grandad, and another opportunity to beat grandad at FIFA once again”, says Emma.

Be prepared

Being prepared for every eventuality is an important piece of advice that grandmother Nickie O’Hara says could help make sleepovers run smoothly: “Having small people in the house once in a blue moon is a shock to the system. You will become that helicopter parent you never wanted to be because you are scared that any disaster will happen on your watch. Regardless of feeling on edge, you will have the best time. It's the perfect excuse to have treats and spend quality time with your grandchildren so that you can create a special relationship and extra-special memories with them.”

To prepare for their impending arrival make sure you have enough food, drinks and snacks at home. You could also ask the parents to provide things like towels, Calpol, a nightlight and their favourite bedtime book to help make the night go by without a hitch.

Making memories

Grandad playing guitar with grandson

Time goes by and children grow up quickly, and while sleepovers can sometimes be a necessity if the parents have an engagement or a work-related appointment, overnight stays are all about making memories as Thena from the Hodge Podge Hippie told us: “Remember that it’s all about making memories. Create with them, go outside and engage with them, and don’t forget to spoil them as well. Bake that cake, make that caramel popcorn, go outside and play in the mud. Everything is on limits when it comes to a sleepover with grandparents. Not only will they have an absolute blast but they’ll remember those moments for the rest of their life.”

The relationship between a grandparent and their grandchildren is precious and unique. Taking the time to further enhance it with sleepovers can help bring it to another level and will create memories that can truly last a lifetime.

This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.