Why Slumber Parties Are So Important

Gill Sutherland of The Guardian is not a fan of sleepovers, as they often turn into an all out social event that creates a great deal of stress. But the stress is totally worth it.

Sutherland has created a list of "golden rules" to ensure that a sleepover party at your house will be a success for your child and his/her guests. Psychological readiness, familiarity with guests, and, of course, awesome snacks. "Key to the success of any sleepover is the quality of the victuals. Top of the luxe list is a takeaway pizza, and anything that comes in its own dinky box for each guest (cardboard lunch boxes cost about 35p each from online party suppliers). Also cool is any food that involves making a humongous mess. Make-your-own pizzas, self-assembly nachos, piled high with sauce, refried beans and grated cheese, chocolate fondues and gloopy sundaes made from ice-cream, sticky sauces and crushed biscuits are all sleepover stalwarts," Sutherland writes. Mmm...sleepover stalwarts.

But beyond parental preparation, the true fun of a sleepover party comes with the faux-sense of independence it brings: when you're young, and invited to sleepover at a friend's house, you get your first taste of freedom: your parents are gone, and your only objective is to eat a ton of junk food, play stupid games, and try to stay up as late as you can. It's a bit like college, without your drunken roommate or rash decision to get a tongue piercing.

I was a big fan of sleepover parties when I was a kid. For many of us, the sleepover party is the ultimate sign of bonding; when you're in elementary and middle school, only your best friends get invited to stay over to eat Doritos and play Dream Phone until 3 in the morning. In high school, my group of friends would usually have a sleepover every weekend, and we'd spend the night talking about everything from boys to books (we were nerds) to our fears about going away to college and leaving our homes behind. We also still played Dream Phone and ate Doritos. Tradition!

"Sleepovers," Sutherland notes, "are a rite of passage towards independence." But in some ways, they are also an introduction to the notion that your closest friends are the ones who will sit with you through the night, in good times and in bad, and that your friends can form a small but strong family to keep you company at all times. Sleepover parties allow you to communicate with your peers in a setting that allows you to speak your mind and share your secrets and fears freely to a group of your peers, which is a bit of a rarity in adolescence.

So what say you, commenters? Were sleepover parties a positive or negative experience for you?

Oh, and as for your Dream Phone date, he's not wearing anything yellow, he'll eat anything, except hot dogs, and I know who it is, but I'm not telling, ha ha!

How To Stop Sleepover Nightmares [Guardian]

[Image via Darwin's Game Closet]