Sooner or later this question will crop up. A sleepover invitation – but is your child ready or not? It really all depends on their maturity. If your child has separation issues, is anxious in unfamiliar surrounding or insists on night lights, bed-time stories and a particular routine, then it may be better to start sleepovers when they’re a little older.
I can certainly remember my first sleepover! A little peer pressure from my older sister and our friends down the road, mixed with my own determination to not miss out had me packing my overnight bag for my first night away from home. The prospect of my sister coming along too had definitely made a difference in the decision making process. What I hadn’t counted on however was her desperate phone call to my parents at 10 that night, just as we were settling down to sleep. My parents dutifully arrived to collect us both. Feeling rather embarrassed and a little sorry for our friends I volunteered to stay, even though I didn’t want to. To this day I can still remember sulkily waving goodbye to my sister, whilst she stared at me in disbelief out of the back window of my parent’s car.
To this end, I have decided to give a few tips for ensuring a successful sleepover away from home:
- Make sure that you know the family your child will be staying with really well – they also need to know about your child too
- If your child is especially anxious then perhaps let them “camp out” at Granny and Grandad’s home first
- If you as a parent feel apprehensive then seek further reassurance from the host parents – sleepovers can be just as stressful for parents too!
- Make sure you pack a comfortable, cosy sleeping bag – Nest has some great new sleepover options to choose from http://www.nestdesigns.co.za/products/bedroom/sleepovers/ , a favourite pillow, an unable- to-sleep-without-toy and a also favourite book
- Discuss the rules with your child and prepare them for what to expect
- Let your child know what you will be doing that night too
- Let your child know that you are just a phone call away and that if they are really uncomfortable or unhappy, then you will come and collect them
- If your child is a little uneasy about the whole idea then why not buy him or her a little something for the event – maybe a board game to play with their friends at the sleepover?
Sleepovers in a happy, safe environment will enhance life skills and should create special memories for your child.