Preparing Your Kid for Their First Sleepover
Sleepovers are fun, but the first can leave children and parents anxious. It takes nerves of steel to send your child to their first sleepover, even when it’s someone you know and trust. Your child is likely to feel unsure too. Fortunately, you can prepare your child for their first sleepover and put any doubts at ease and create wonderful memories.
- The Baseline Age for Sleepovers
It’s impossible to say when a child should go on a sleepover. Some children will be confident enough to go on a sleepover as young as five, whereas some ten-year-old children will not. You, as a parent, must assess your child when the situation arises. It could be they aren’t ready for sleepovers until they’re older, possibly in their early teens.
To prepare your child for their first sleepover, you could follow these simple steps.
- Talk About the Sleepover
Never assume a child wants to go on a sleepover. Even when it’s to a relative’s home, don’t presume the child is ready to go without you. Talk to them, ask them if they understand what a sleepover is, and let them ask you questions about it.
Talking about the sleepover allows you to gage the child’s readiness. It is also a great way to determine if your child is comfortable spending a night away from home.
- Trial Runs Ease Fears
Trial runs are simple but very effective. Your child spends the night at the house of a family member they trust and are happy to spend time with. If all goes well, the child is ready for future sleepovers. If, however, the child doesn’t settle with the relative, your child needs more time.
- Be the One to Host the Sleepover
It’s easier to prepare your child for sleepovers when they’re in familiar surroundings. Being the host lets your child see what a sleepover is like and may even develop a clearer idea of what to expect outside the home.
It’s also a great way to ease your concerns as much as theirs.
- Use the Late-Night Test
It’s easy to believe your child is ready for a sleepover, but sometimes, they aren’t quite there. So, you could try the late-night test. For example, your child goes to bed around 9 p.m. You let your child remain at a relative’s or friend’s house past their normal bedtime and pick them up around 10 p.m. It’s a useful way to see just how ready the child is for a sleepover.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Question the Host
It’s important to know what the host has planned for the sleepover. This allows you to feel at ease and settle the child’s nerves too. So, talk to the host; whether it’s your best friend, mother, father, or sibling, find out what plans they have. If they don’t have any plans, make suggestions. It’s easier to make a child comfortable when they know what they’ll likely do during the sleepover.
- Inform the Host about Your Child
Let’s say your child occasionally wets the bed, it’s important for the host to know about it. That prepares them and avoids embarrassment for the child. It’s also a great way to put your mind at ease.
- Try Roleplay to Prepare Your Child
It might sound a bit odd, but roleplay can ease some of your child’s uncertainties about sleepovers. For example, your child can roleplay what they’d do if they feel uncomfortable, scared, or unwell.
- Purchase Supplies
Children can get excited about a sleepover when they go prepared. Buying some basic supplies, like a sleeping bag and some sweets can ease some anxieties. You should, however, let the child have a say in the buying process. It makes them feel included and may ease some uncertainties about the sleepover.
- Ensure Your Child Has Everything They Need
Sleepovers are great times for children to show their independence, but you should pack for them. Ensure the child has a change of clothing, extra underwear in case of accidents, PJs, shoes, a toothbrush, and any medicines they require.
- Always Have Your Phone Close
Let your child know they can call you at any time and you’ll answer them. It reassures the child.
Prepare for the Big Day
Sleepovers are great fun and help teach kids independence. Preparing your child for their first sleepover ensures they’re happy, comfortable, and enjoying themselves.