Sleepovers can be a daunting hurdle to overcome, especially for first time parents. Here are some hints and tips to help you manage that big day.
Sleepovers have proven beneficial for most children as it creates a sense of independence, an increased level in trust in both you and your child and it is a great way for your child to learn about and interact with different families and their cultural beliefs. Bearing in mind that this might be a scary and a worrisome thing for any parent to accept, as there are many concerns, questions and what if’s but fear not, That Sassy Life Coach is here to help and you will get through this.
Are you and your child sleepover ready?
Generally, children start wanting to sleep out when they are about 7 to 8 years old however, the desire could appear earlier in children who are younger yet more mature. Children younger than 7 years old, may be excited initially but will probably want to return home before the night is through due to their unfamiliar surroundings. This is because they suffer from separation anxiety.
If you believe that your child is not ready for sleepovers and he/she still suffers from separation anxiety, then sleepovers are not a good idea and suggest that you invite your child’s friend to your house to get them used to the idea of having a sleepover buddy. Other signs that might suggest that your child is not ready, includes whether he/she wets the bed, still climbs into your bed during the night and can’t sleep without you falling asleep next to him/her.
It is important to communicate with your child that if you do decide to let your child spend a night away from home, that they are able to call you and come home, regardless of what the time is. This way your child will feel less anxious and more comfortable with your willingness to make them feel safe and supported on this exciting adventure that they are about to embark on. Never refuse to fetch your child, if he/she wants to come home, there must be a reason for this. He/she might have had an argument with their friend, may have eaten something they don’t like, there may have been a huge storm in the area, hear a strange noise or your child may have had a bad dream.
If your child has never slept out before, it is a good idea to get your child used to this idea. This can be done by letting them spend the odd night at a family member’s house, such as Granny & Gramps, or at a family friend. This way they will get used to waking up in a different bedroom, home and family environment.
Getting Sleepover Ready
Most parents are uncomfortable with the idea of allowing their children to sleepover at a friend’s house. This is due to a number of things such as: Not knowing the parents well enough, the friend living too far from your home and it makes you anxious knowing how far away your child is from you. However, this is not a good enough excuse to deprive your child from socialising, growing more independent and exploring the world. This gives your child a sense of excitement and responsibility. They will feel grown up the first time they stay out and sleep over at a friends house.
You may feel more comfortable with the idea of letting your child’s friend stay over at your house, before your children are allowed to sleep out. This way you will get to know the children and their parents when they are dropped off. Invite the parents in for some coffee and for a quick chat.
If the sleepover is in honour of a birthday party, find out where your child will be at all times. You should also exchange numbers with the mother in-charge in case there is an emergency. Also find out what your child will need to bring along, some items may include a pillow, blankets, a swimming costume, takkies for hiking and riding bicycles etc.
It is also a good idea to talk to your child to the front door to greet the other parents while they are staying at a friend’s house, you can remind them about their manners and what is expected of them whilst they are in someone else’s care and that Poor behaviour can ruin any celebration and occasion and for every action, there will be a consequence.
Making it fun
It is crucial that the children stay entertained and happy at all times. If the children grow bored, their first ever slumber party will be ruined. Here are some tips for keeping the party alive.
Depending on whether or not the party is a group of little madams or mischievous boys, you will need to get the appropriate entertainment, snacks and bedding for the occasion. If it is a party for little girls, have it filled with girly movies, popcorn, tons of makeup and nail-polish and possibly some goodies for a bit of dress-up fun. Perhaps get their favourite music ready for dancing and singing too. Allow all the girls to set up shop in front of the TV, get tons of blankets and pillows ready and lay a mattress on the floor.
If your home is going to be filled with naughty boys, then you are in for an active and busy night. Be sure to spread out all the toy cars, setup the action figures and get the plastic swords ready for endless battles and tons of fun. Try find the latest kiddie’s action movie or animation will keep the boys happy and busy for a few hours. If it is safe to do so and provided you are able to hear the children at all times and with the permission of the other parents, allow the boys to enjoy the adventure of sleeping in your garden, soaking in the stars and noises around them.
Depending on how old these little party goers are, be sure that they go to bed at a reasonable hour. No parent wants to spend the next day looking after an exhausted and irritable child.
Good night, good luck and enjoy!