Tips for surviving a sleep-over

Yes, I did it! I made it through a whole 48 hours or so of sleep-over time! And here's how you can do it too:

1. Ensure that no-one runs after anyone else in a shop one hour into the weekend - losing their balance and knocking an egg into their skull in the process, and making them fed-up with their supposed best friend.

2. Provide copious amounts of food. The stuff they don't get every day and will love you for. Like a whole bar of choc each for Friday night. And home-made-from-scratch pizza for Saturday lunch (yes, even the base!). And waffles for supper.

3. Allow them to spend all their money on whatever sweets their heart desires, and don't moan when the floor is strewn with sweet wrappers by morning, or they're bouncing off the walls in sugar-induced hyperactivity.

4. Give them their space. In other words, make sure you exit the area (to visit a newborn baby, for example) for about 2 hours on Saturday afternoon. Try not to sigh heavily when you come back to find they've been irritated by each other since the minute after you left.

5. Let them experience the joys of self-entertainment. Don't give them anything to do, even when they beg you for hours for ideas to keep occupied. Send them off to find someone to play with, or for a walk around the neighbourhood, or to watch a movie in the other room.

6. Ensure that the neighbourhood is filled with mutual friends. When they grate on each other, send them in opposite directions to find someone else to play with for a bit.

7. Make sure you take time out. Get well away from the action, breathe deeply and try not to panic.

8. Attempt to sleep in when they get up at an ungodly hour to whisper and play. Ignore any lack-of-sleep induced bad dreams that may occur during this time.

9. Reassure the dogs that they have not lost their place in the heirarchy, and thus do not need to beat themselves (or anyone else) up. Nor do they need to bark at the friend every time he makes an appearance.

10. Return friend to home punctually. As soon as is graciously possible. Assure parents of friend that everything went well, then split before friend can claim otherwise.

11. Remind self not to do this again. At least not for an entire weekend. Maybe just overnight.