Your child’s first sleepover can take its toll on you both. Even if he or she has already spent the night or even a weekend away at their grandparents’ house, letting them spread their wings for a sleepover is very different. You are putting your trust in people who aren’t family and allowing your child a different kind of freedom for the first time. There are some easy things you can do to prepare your kid for their first sleepover, but in reality, you also have to prepare yourself.
The separation anxiety is real when it comes to letting your child go on his or her first sleepover. Not only is there the dreaded feeling that your little one is growing up and doesn’t need you as much, but there is also the gnawing feeling in the back of your mind that something will go wrong without you there. Truth be told, it can also be difficult for your child.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to prepare your kid for their first sleepover to make a little smoother and not make too much of a big deal out of it. The more dramatic you are, the more emotional your kid might end up being when it comes time to drop them off. So keep your cool, remind yourself that sleepovers are a totally normal part of growing up, and use these tips to help you both.
Make Sure They Are Ready
Whether or not you are ready for your child’s first sleepover, the most important thing is whether or not they are. Have a serious talk with them about what a sleepover entails and how long they will potentially be away from home. Discuss the good and bad parts of going to a friend’s house for a sleepover and make sure your child is mentally and emotionally ready for this big step.
Get To Know The Hosts
It should go without saying, but make sure you are both comfortable with the parents before you send your kid to their house for a sleepover. If you’re lucky enough to already have a close relationship with the parents, then it should be plenty easy. But if you don’t know them all that well and your child doesn’t yet either, it’s a good idea for you both to get to know them better before your little one spends the night at their house.
Don’t Be Afraid To Do A Check-Up Call
Even if your little one doesn’t want to call home crying to be picked up during the sleepover, he or she might still appreciate a call from you before bedtime to help them feel more at ease. If they are old enough to have a cell phone of their own, then give them a ring at some point to check in and gauge how things are going at their first sleepover away from home. If he or she is still too little for that, then call the house and have a quick chat with them.
Give Them Something That Reminds Them Of Home
Nothing can make your child feel close to home while being away for the night more than their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. While at their first sleepover, it can also remind them of home and help them remember that they will be back home in the morning. It could also make them a little emotional, though, so don’t be surprised if you get a phone call from them with cries of wanting to be picked up.
Have A Sleepover At Your Own Home First
In case your little one is a little nervous, if still excited, about the prospect of a sleepover at his or her friend’s house, it might be a good idea to practice a sleepover at your home first. Offer to host a sleepover so your kid knows what to expect when he or she sleeps over someone else’s house. Sleepovers with friends are different in general from a night away from home. And unless your child experiences one at your home first, they might be hit with a bit of a culture shock. Of course, being away from home is a little different, but this can be a good way to ease them into it.
Explain That It’s OK To Come Home
Before your little one goes off on their first sleepover, have a talk with them about everything. Tell them what to expect while sleeping at a friend’s house rather than a family member’s home. And tell them it’s totally OK for them to call you if they need you. Depending on how young they are, your kid might assume that staying at the sleepover is a non-negotiable, but if you let them know they have the option to call you to pick them up or just make them feel better, it can help put their mind at ease.
Sleepovers are a typical part of any kid’s life. You might want to put it off for as long as you can before allowing your child to embark on his or her first night away at a friend’s house, but it is going to happen. The best you can do is prepare them and yourself for their first sleepover. Also make sure they have all of the comforts from home to keep them from getting homesick. Chances are, the absence will only make each of your hearts grow fonder for each other, so try not to sweat it too much.