Last night on a last minute excursion to a collegiate gymnastics meet, my sister and I had a great idea to treat my 4 year-old niece Rosie with a surprise sleepover at Aunt Steph’s apartment.  I live just around the block from where we were, and Rosie was super disappointed about her Tinkerbell brush disappearing somewhere under the stands. Our sleepover offer was just the ticket to cheer her up. Overall, the event was a success, but I realized that preparation could have helped smooth over the edges of my hosting needs.  Here are some of my recommendations for a fun night that leaves room for lots of love and fun.


  1. Pajamas– This was a hiccup in our plan. PJ’s could have helped the nighttime rituals.
  2. Toothbrush, kid toothpaste– We did not have this, and she was very worried her teeth would turn brown. I told her that that doesn’t usually happen at aunt’s houses.
  3. Kid movies– I used a Curious George flick last night that went over really well and had lots of natural stopping points that I could use for saying it was time for bed.  It wasn’t scary which helped a lot because she is generally terrified of my cat, and I think the friendly film’s general atmosphere helped her get over that a little.
  4. Popcorn– Very important to go with movie.
  5. Kid books- I end up taking most of the books I buy for the kids over to their house. Luckily I had one classic that we read before bed.
  6. Breakfast food– What’s a sleepover without a delicious breakfast to wake up for?   Scrambled eggs, pancakes, or waffles are nice signature Aunt dishes. I lucked out on this one. Pretty much the only breakfast material I had in the apartment was oatmeal, and when we were just about to go to sleep she leaned over and said, “Steph! Let’s have oatmeal for breakfast!”
  7. Art Supplies, games, toys– This is a little stockpile that goes a long way in making your place an exciting place to visit.  I’m good with art supplies, but my games and toys need an upgrade.
  8. Special treats- Every now and then I pick up little treats on sale to throw in with gifts. Last night I brought out a box of bejeweled and princessed hair clips and let her choose one to take with her this time.  It was just a small something but she definitely felt a gravity with this gift because it was connected to our time together.
  9. Hugs and kisses- Possibly most important ingredient in aunt-niece time. This should never be in short supply.