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The Sleepover Survival Guide

Establishing Ground Rules

If you've got a group, post the "house rules" on paper in clear, friendly (but firm) language for the kids to read, suggests mom Penny Warner of Danville, CA, the author of Slumber Parties: 25 Fun-Filled Party Themes. (If you're hosting only a friend or two, however, a verbal rundown is probably enough.) Some good guidelines:

No leaving the house without asking

One parent reported the story of a guest getting homesick in the middle of the night, privately texting her mom that she wanted to leave, and then setting off the house burglar alarm when she went outside. Only then did the host parents find out something was wrong—not cool and not safe!

No calling or texting other parents about an issue

(homesickness, fighting) until you've talked to the host parent. Refer to item one about the burglar alarm. You don't want to discover you're missing a child in the morning!

No making prank phone calls 

Letting them know you'll take away their cell phones if you catch them is usually all that needs to be said.

Stay in designated areas or rooms 

Give them the run of the house and you'll have that much more to clean up tomorrow.

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