Sleepovers are as much a part of growing up as losing baby teeth, but when your kid brings home that first invitation to a sleepover, some parents panic at the thought of their precious little bundle, sleeping under someone else’s roof.
And, it’s not just the parents, kids themselves can be excited at going to a friend’s house to a sleepover for the first time, but at the same time feel very anxious about it. I still remember my husband getting out of bed at about 2 AM during the night of our daughter’s first sleepover – now 16, then I guess around 7 or 8 – to pick her up because she wanted to come home and sleep in her own bed!
Here are five tips to make that first sleep-out a little easier for both of you!
- Be happy – The first thing you need to do upon hearing that your kid is invited to a friend’s house for a sleepover – is Be Happy! It means a little alone time for you and your hubby!
- Be prepared – The next thing to do, is to prepare everything your kid will need beforehand. Remember he or she is likely to be a little anxious too, so be sure to include a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, pillow or, book –any “little piece of home” that can bring them more comfort.
- Worry – (a little) – It’s OK to worry a little and ask the parents specific questions that may concern you about their home and home practices and making sure they align with your own, but maybe hold off asking things like if they have ever had bedbugs.
- Be happy again, and prepare some more – Once you have prepared, have had the answers to your worries addressed, then as the “big day” approaches, it’s time to be happy again, and prepare some more! Seriously, now is a good time to discuss “what to expect” with your child. Tell him or her that she must respect all of the rules of the other persons home, even if they differ from your own. Let your kid know that you are only a phone call away, but set some ground rules. Tell him or her that she can call you to check-in and to say goodnight, but that if she calls you after a certain time (I recommend midnight) you will come to pick her up and take her home.
- Rejoice – Step 5, rejoice that your little one is engaging in a “right of passage” we all go through. Drop him or her off, and rejoice in the free night you have to yourself — but, be ready for your phone to ring!