Thursday 24 January 2013

Ten tips to help you survive your first sleepover!

The following tips are based on our experience of having sleepovers for girls - our little boy is only 5 so we haven't experienced the same for boys yet! 

  1. Think about the age of the children you invite.  If your child is the oldest in the year, the youngest ones may not be ready for a sleepover yet.
  2. Don't invite too many - 4 is plenty - 8 is too many - we know!
  3. Ask guests to arrive from about 7pm otherwise it will be a very long evening.
  4. Don't forget to ask them to bring sleeping bags, toothbrushes and a cuddly.
  5. Ask parents to let you know about any special requirements and make sure you have a contact number for emergencies.
  6. Have an activity planned for the evening - this doesn't have to be expensive - try making and decorating cookies, playing board games (always more fun with friends), having a quiz night.   Rent a video to finish the night off.  Musicals tend to go down well - Abba the Movie, High School Musical, Hairspray.  No-one seems to mind if they've seen it before.
  7. Don't structure the whole evening - let them have time to do their own thing.
  8. Be prepared for a sleepless night! Excited children usually take a very long time to settle down.
  9. Be prepared to take a child home if they don't/can't settle - there is often one who just wants to go home.  Sometimes all they need is to move to another room for some peace and quiet.
  10. Ask parents to collect by 10am.  We were amazed to find 8 children who hadn't gone to sleep until 4am, up and dressed by 7am and asking to be entertained.  It was a very long 5 hours until their parents picked up at the appointed time - 12 noon!

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Our favourite books for toddlers

Having been bringing up children for the last 26 years we now have a very large collection of children's books.  It's amazing though how just a few seem to be most popular with each of our children.  We also have our favourites too - the ones we really enjoy reading again and again.  If we had to pick a top 5 books for toddlers they would be: 

  • The Very Hungry Crocodile by Roald Dahl - All our children absolutely love the ending and although it's quite a long read for a bedtime story it's really well written.
  • Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy - Lovely pictures and a funny ending

  • The Baby's Catalogue by Janet and Alan Ahlberg - A day in the life of 5 families with really appealing pictures of just about everything your child might observe in a typical day.
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr - A real nonsense story that appeals to boys and girls.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Suess - Really easy to read and quickly established as a catch phrase in our family!  Almost as popular is the Cat in the Hat.

If you would like more ideas on books for babies, toddlers and older children see Building a Children's Library on the Guardian website which is a fantastic resource.

If you are wondering how to store your books, have a look at our Tidy Books Bookcase which is designed so that children can easily see their books.  We wish these had been around years ago.