Your child’s age and maturity affect when your child is ready to handle a sleepover. Here are some things to consider regarding children and sleepovers.
Is your child ready?
Ask yourself the following questions to determine if your child may or may not be ready for an overnight away from home.
- Is your child able to get themselves ready for bed on their own? Are they able to follow a bedtime routine? If so, this is a good sign your child is independent enough to attend a sleepover.
- Does your child have frequent nightmares or walk in their sleep? If so, you will need to make sure the host family is well aware of how to help your child through these situations.
- Is your child comfortable enough with the host family to ask for help if needed? If not, this particular sleepover situation might be very stressful for them.
- Is your child excited to attend the sleepover or saying they don’t want to go? There isn’t anything wrong with your child if they don’t want to go.
Preparing your child for sleepovers
- Host a sleepover at your house first. Start with just one friend instead of multiple. Your child is in the comfort of their own home and knows the routine. Throughout the night, keep a pulse on how your child and their friend are getting along and how well the sleepover is going.
- Set expectations. Talk with your child about what they can expect at the sleepover. Knowing what to expect can help your child deal with the stress of going to a sleepover. If your child has any allergies or other needs that need to be tended to, be sure the host family is aware of these things.
- Calling home. Allow your child to call you before bedtime or possibly even video chat if that makes them feel better and calms anxieties before falling asleep.
- “I want to come home.” Don’t try to persuade your child to stay at a sleepover if they want to come home. Let your child know you will be available to come and pick them up if they need you to. Let your child know that it’s OK to come home and that they can try a sleepover at another time.
- Pack a bag. Help your child pack their bag for the sleepover. Items could include a flashlight, favorite pajamas, and a security item such as a blanket, pillow or stuffed animal.
Sleepovers can be a great experience for both, you and your child. It can be a great way for your child to foster independence and build friendships.
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