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How to Host Slumber Parties

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Dawn Moothart used to dread her 7-year-old daughter's sleepovers. "The next day, Maddie would be 'crabby girl.' And when I hosted our first, I was so exhausted I spent the next day on the couch," says the Portland, OR, mom.

Between the giggles, the ghost stories, the night owls, and the early risers, it's a wonder anyone sleeps at all. To make sure there's actually slumber at your child's next slumber party:

Shorten the guest list. Corralling three kids is easier than eight. Tell your child that she can invite fewer friends than for a daytime party.

Set house rules with confidence. They may test you, but children feel insecure if the adult isn't in charge -- and the more secure kids feel, the more easily they'll sleep.

Create a quiet zone. The night before, set up a spot away from the sleeping area with snacks and quiet activities for early risers, so kids can sneak down without waking anyone.

Set a firm "lights-out" at the outset. "I let the kids talk after that as long as they don't make noise or get out of bed. Once they're in their sleeping bags and it's dark, nobody makes it long," says Angela Root, a mom of one also from Portland.

Slow down. Even after the best sleepover, everyone's tired the next day. Plan a quiet afternoon so both you and your child can relax. And expect crankiness.

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