The first sleepover is an important step in any child’s life. Staying over at a friend’s house could be a low-key event with just the two of them or it could be a full slumber party with a number of other kids. Either way, a first sleepover can be both exciting and scary. Here are ways to make the sleepover less stressful so that your child ends up having fun.
Sleeping in a strange place can be a challenge. Even if your child has spent the night at different places like hotels or a grandparent’s house, staying with a friend is a unique experience. If a sleepover doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, remember that your child will be exposed to strange food, different sleeping conditions, and a significant change in routine. Even if your child has visited this house before during the day, staying overnight will present new challenges.
Help your child feel at home while away from home by sending him or her along with a few favourite things. Discuss this with your child to see what belongings to pack up. A favourite pillow could make a strange bed more comfortable. Have your child pick out one of his or her favourite baby soft toy gifts to carry. A plush animal can add comfort to a strange location and help your child feel more at ease, even in strange surroundings.
Make sure you are familiar with the parents who will be hosting the sleepover. Talk with them ahead of time to get a better idea of what your child can expect while there. Discuss any allergies, special dietary needs, or anything else the hosting family should know. Get an idea what meals will be served and who will be in the house during your child’s stay. Find out if there are other family members who stay in the home. Obviously, you’ll need to make sure the parents have your contact information in case there is a problem.
Talk to your child before the sleepover. Don’t make the event seem scary but discuss the fact that different households have different routines. Make sure your child knows how to be polite when confronted with strange foods. Your child also needs to know how to contact you with any questions or concerns.
It’s usually best for children to have experience sleeping over at a grandparent’s or other relative’s house before they try staying with friends. That can give both you and the child some peace of mind before a first stay in a strange place with another family. There can be a lot of pressure on your child to fit in with the other children, so any chance to get used to the idea first could be a great help.
Now all that’s left is to have a great time. Let your little one know what to expect in terms of when and how they’ll get picked up the following day – and be sure to enjoy your night off!