Often around the age of 6, children are starting to get invitations for sleepovers. By this age, many children have had sleepovers with grandma and grandpa or another trusted family member, but have never slept over at a friend’s house. Although your child may be great with grandma and be begging you to sleep at a friend’s house, it is important to determine whether or not your child is truly ready for this step as sleeping at a friend’s house is very different from sleeping over with a family member. While your child may be comfortable at a friend’s house during the day, nighttime can be much more nerve wracking. In order to determine if your child is ready for a sleep over read the following tips and think about how they apply to your child.
Don’t base your decision solely on your child’s age
Some children are ready much earlier than others, so age alone shouldn’t determine readiness.
Consider the circumstances
Will your child be the only one sleeping over or is it a slumber party? If your child has never had a sleepover, it is best to avoid a slumber party as it could easily become overwhelming for a child. Start with a just the two kids until you know your child is comfortable sleeping away from home.
Make sure you know things like who will be in the house, where the children will sleep, what the bedtime rules are in the house. You want to be comfortable knowing that your child is safe and that there will be some structure to bedtime.
Think about your child’s sleep habits
Is your child able to sleep all night in his or her own bed? If your child is still up several times a night or likes to come into your bed at some point, they probably aren’t quite ready and may not feel comfortable spending the night away from you. If your child is an independent sleeper, he or she will likely have an easier time sleeping over.
Prepare your child
Make sure they have their favourite pajamas, their own blanket and any other comfort items that they like to sleep with. This will reduce the chances that they will miss home.
Make a plan in case your child is upset or wants to come home
Be sure your child knows that it is ok to come home and that they know how to ask the hosting parents to call you. This means you must be home and ready to pick your child up, so don’t think of it as a good time for a night out, because you may get called at any time!
After reading through this list, if you feel your child is ready for a sleepover, then try it out with a friend that your child likes and whose parents you know and trust. If you feel your child isn’t quite ready or maybe you aren’t comfortable with the idea, try hosting the sleepover so you can see how your child does sharing a room with a friend. This may help you and your child get ready for the next step. Sleepovers are fun and a great part of childhood, but the first one is a big step, so be sure that both you and your child are ready!