Every parent has an inner Mommy Bear or Papa Bear that wants and will protect their baby from danger and keep them safe. Let's be realistic though---kids have a life and a social calendar full of sleepover plans. When it comes to sleepovers, we all have been a little leary of just letting our kid sleep over someone else's house- family or friends. I want you to relax, relate to the kids and release them into the world--slowly.
Almost every child is going to want to spend the night at their best friends’ homes, go to an overnight camp, or have friends over for the night at your home at some point. So, I'd like to help mentally prepare you and share five sleepover tips to make it easier for both parents and kids alike. Here are a few sleepover tips so that slumber parties won’t make you pull your hair out..
MAKE SURE THE CHILD IS READY
You know your child better than anyone else. Make sure your child is ready to sleep at an unfamiliar or even familiar home. Don't just send your child to another child's sleepover because you get a "free sitter" for the night. Totally not cool. Some kids may be perfectly fine at seven or eight while others might not be ready until their teen years. Here's a few things to look out for or even ask if you are hosting a sleepover.
If they don’t sleep easily on their own, if they wet the bed, or if they still wake up and come to your bed for comfort they might not be ready quite yet. Basically, they should be a "pretty good sleeper" before attending sleepovers: able to fall asleep themselves without your help or much fuss and be able to sleep through the night with few interruptions. I'd suggest--- You try out a few late nights first, letting your child stay late but picking them up to sleep at home, or a sleepover with grandma or cousins to see how they handle being without you.
Some parents or kids may never be comfortable with sleepovers for whatever reason and that is fine, too. It’s ultimately a decision for you as a parent and you have to trust your gut.
HAVE A GROWNUP TALK WITH PARENTS
I have hosted many sleepovers. MANY! So this one I can offer five cents...not two. One of the best ways to have a smooth sleepover is to communicate and coordinate the details with fellow parents and get to know them in advance. Keep this in mind you are responsible for someone else precious little baby for probably 10-12 hours.
If you are the host, reach out to the parents whether phone, in person, or in the invitation details and make sure you have their phone number and from experience another contact just in case, ask about allergies,special needs, fears, and little quirks. Fears and little quirks are big for me. Be sure to ask if there are any other things you need to know about their stay with you. Make it clear if you are planning activities like swimming that would require special clothes or gear so there’s no upsets. Kids will swear they can swim when they can't. ASK mom or dad--not the child. You DO NOT want that on you if something happens to little Madison.
If you are sending your kid to a sleepover, check in with the other parent and let them know the same thing. See what the evening will entail so you know what to pack. You might also want to ask who else will be in the house, their house rules and supervision plans, and other important questions. Here's my biggest thing, if someone is extending the courtesy to allow a sleepover, please be available to answer your phone and pick up your child in the case of emergency. Again, sleepovers are not "free sitters" or the time to disconnect.
TALK TO THE KIDS ABOUT SAFETY AND MANNERS
Minding manners, being polite, and respecting rules and the homes of host parents are important points to cover. I always suggest if your child doesn't like a few house rules--they may not be ready for this sleepover. Kids can get bossy, some mean, and mischievous when they are in groups, so I've learned to make it clear what I will and will not tolerate from little human beings lol. The biggest things while hosting a sleepover is avoiding as many little fights as possible. Communicate with the children about where kids play, indoor rules for your home, outside boundaries, food and drink limitations, and internet and phone boundaries.
Safety is often the number-one concern for parents. We have all heard of horror stories of outlandish games played while kids are sleeping over. When your child is going to someone else’s sleepover, make sure your kid knows how to handle a situation by going to tell the host parent. It's super important to make sure your child has your phone number memorized and knows that they can call you at any time if they feel uncomfortable. A N Y T I M E!
HAVE YOU HOSTED A SLEEPOVER? ANY TIPS OR ADVICE TO SHARE?