While some kids seem to have no problem sleeping away from home, it isn’t always easy for others. Even if they have a great time on play dates, actually sleeping at a friends house can be an entirely different experience. Which is why preparing for a sleepover can help you feel ready.
We are going to share with you our top tips on how to help your child prepare for a sleepover. Whether it is their first time, or you are trying to make the whole process a bit easier, we are here to help. We will also share some of our top questions to ask the other parent and information to share before the night of the sleepover.
How To Help Your Child Sleep At A Sleepover:
This seems like a tricky topic, but we have a few helpful tips to make preparing for a sleepover much easier. Helping your child get to sleep and calm their nerves from a distance can be done.
It is also important for your child to bond with other kids as well as get out of their comfort zone and learn to self soothe. So here are some of our favorite tips on how to keep your child feeling relaxed and enjoying themselves when at a sleepover.
Have a Play Date At Their Home First:
A lot of fear and anxiety comes from the unknown and unfamiliar. By having a play date at the home with their friends can be a great comfort to your child.
They now are familiar with the home. What it sounds like, smells like, where the bathroom is. This all may seem trivial, however the more familiar you are with a place, the more comfortable you become in the environment.
It is also helpful if you are able to stay and socialize with the parent. This way they are becoming familiar with their home with the added security of you being there first. This makes it easier for them to feel at home in the new space.
Give Them Information So They Know What To Expect:
Of course it is a good idea to chat with the parents before any sleepover. However, you may want to ask what the evening might look like so you can communicate that with your child.
If you know they are going to order pizza and watch a movie. It might be calming to share that with your child so they know what to expect for the night.
Now not everyone has set plans every night for how the evening will go, so this might not always be the most helpful tip. However the more information you can give your child in order to prepare them on what to expect, the better.
Write Them A Note To Open Later:
If your child struggles with separation anxiety, writing them a letter to open before bed might be a welcomed source of comfort. You can either tell them about it or leave it as a surprise for them to find whenever they roll out their sleeping bag. Either way it is a sweet and simple way to send a little of your love for them to open and hold onto during the night.
Pack Extra Items (Just In Case):
You never know when an accident is going to happen. Whether your little one doesn’t get to the bathroom in time, or someone spills their drink. It is nice to have an extra pair of pajamas, underwear, socks, and even a second pair of clothes to change into for the next day.
This makes it easier to simply change into another set of their own pajamas without feeling uncomfortable, borrow a set of pajamas, or have to call and ask for more clothes to be brought over.
Give Them Their Own Way To Contact You:
More then ever before there are affordable and safe cell phones and cell phone alternatives for kids. No need for fancy smartphones or expensive data packages.
There are simple prepaid phones made for kids that can even have limited access to who they can call or text. Or smart watches that allow them to communicate too.
This way they have a direct line to you anytime they need it, safely. So they can text or call you whenever they need you without even needing to ask a parent.
Sleep In A Sleeping Bag At Home:
Before going to a slumber party, have a fun family “sleepover” in the living room. This way they can try out their new sleeping bag in the comfort of their own home.
This lowers the amount of new variables they will be experiencing during the sleepover.
Making it easier to transition to sleeping in a new environment. If your child has older or younger siblings this can be a fun family indoor camping event.
Have A Sleepover At Your Home First:
If your child is hesitant to sleep at someone else’s home, try having them “sleepover” at your house first. This way they get to experience the fun of having a friend spend the night in the comfort of their own home.
They get to experience their usual routine with their parents, while also having the added benefits of a friend over to play with. This is a great way of tip toeing into the realm of slumber parties.
Create A Code Word:
While you don’t want to set the tone that your child can choose to leave a sleepover whenever they want. (Remember, you are not a chauffeur.) Having a code word for emergencies is a good thing to have with your kids. Not only is this good for your kids for if they really need to go home and don’t want their friends to overhear.
A code word can allow your child to let you know they need/REALLY want to go home without their friends realizing that they want to leave. You can also have a different word for real emergencies ONLY. This is a good family safety protocol, not just for sleepovers.
Pack Comfort Items:
If your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, go ahead and pack it in their bag. Even if they don’t seem nearly as attached to it as they used to. If they still tend to sleep with it in their bed, this can be a nice comfort that they can choose to sleep with or leave in their overnight bag.
Either way it is nice to have it there with them if they decide they would like it with them. As your child gets older they may decide that their “lovey” has become embarrassing. You can always put it at the bottom of their bag or ask whether or not they would like to have it with them just in case.
Schedule a Pick Up Time:
Having a generic “Oh pick them up whenever” isn’t a great idea. Everyone has a different idea of when a good time for pick up is. Some people are early risers and want to get a start on their day, or may have set plans that they need to get to later on. While others like to lay back and relax in the mornings.
For everyone involved it is a good idea for everyone to be on the same page and have a set pick up time. This can also help your child know what to expect. Whether they will be picked up bright and early still in their pajamas, or if they will be eating breakfast with their friends.
Questions To Ask A Parent Before They Host A Sleepover:
What Are Some Of Your House Rules?
This is a great question to start with because it may answer many of the other questions you would like to ask, without having to dig. It is also good to know in case you need to tell your child about a new rule they will be expected to obey while they are staying over.
Who Will Be Watching The Kids?
You may assume the parent you typically communicate with will be watching the kids the entire time. However, this is not always the case. It is good to know if the parents are deciding to go on date night and leave the kids with an older sibling, grandparent, or babysitter. While this information may not deter you from allowing the sleepover, it is still good information to be aware of.
Will The Kids Ever Be At The Home Alone?
This is going to be far more common of a question to ask as your child gets older. However, different families have different expectations. Clarification is always reassuring to have.
What Is The Best Phone Number To Reach You At?
It is important to have the best phone number possible so you can always be in contact. However, if someone other than the parent or guardian you are talking to is going to be watching the kids, you should also get that persons phone number as well.
Any Medical Information I Need To Know?
If you’re watching someone else’s child or the other way around it is vital that you communicate important medical information. For the most part this will be an in case of emergencies situation.
However if you child takes medicine each night or in the morning, it is good to share that information with the other parent. Don’t rely on your child to remember or share important information like this.
Do You Plan On Taking The Kids Anywhere?
Perhaps their family always goes to the movies on Friday night. Or perhaps they always go to church early Sunday morning. While this may be perfectly fine by you, it is good to know when and where your child will be somewhere.
As well as when to expect them to be home. This can also be helpful to inform your child about before they spend the night, so they can be ready for all of the planned activities.
What Media Do You Allow In Your Home?
Don’t want your child playing M for mature rated video games, free access to internet, or cable TV? Then it is good to clarify this with your child and the other parent.
You might want to start with asking what their house rules are, this might ease your mind without you having to give a list of demands and limitations.
Are There Any Weapons In The House? Are They In A Safe?
These sort of conversations are not always easy, there can be of course a level of feeling distrust. However, most parents are going to be understanding about the safety of their children.
Most parents know to keep their firearms and along with any other personal protection or hunting gear safely stored in a safe. However, some may not. It is important to know whether or not any weapons will be safely stored away from where children can gain access to them.
Your Child’s Allergies or Dietary Restrictions?
Whether you are taking care of their child or the other way around. It is important to communicate and allergies and dietary restrictions. It is surprising how common it is to forget to mention this.
Something that may be very common place in your home, may be very different in theirs. Which is why it is important to tell the other parent if your child is allergic to any foods (or anything else) as well as share any dietary restrictions they have. Whether that is a dairy free, meat free, gluten free, and so on.
Preparing For A Sleepover – Final Thoughts:
Slumber parties and sleepovers are all meant to be fun! That is why we do them. They can also be great learning experiences for our kids. Spending time in different homes can expose kids to how other people live, different cultures, rules, as well as new and exciting experiences. We hope these tips help you and your child to enjoy all the fun parts of a sleepover while also getting some sleep. Beating anxiety and learning to relax and sleep in a new environment isn’t always easy. These tips and tricks should help your child to do it all.
Have a question? We would be happy to help! Simply send us a message through our Contact Us page and we will be happy to help in anyway we can.