Sleepovers have become a bonding rite of passage for kids with slumber party mania hitting from six years and up, but they can seem overwhelming to parents, especially the first time around. Here’s our parent guide on how to host a great sleepover and how to help make your child’s first sleepover as a guest successful.
Your child’s first overnight away
- Find out ahead what your child needs to bring: pillow, sleeping bag or money if there’s a planned outing.
- Meet the hosting parents and make sure they will be there the entire night, not just the nanny or sitter.
- Give them your contact numbers and let them know you’re available if there are any problems.
- Check on the pickup time and arrive promptly the next day.
- Pack a few security items such as a favourite stuffed toy or a flashlight if your child is afraid of the dark. A disposable camera is fun for all.
- Inform the host parents about any allergies or special needs your child has. If your child has a special diet, such as kosher or vegan, let them know in advance and offer to drop off special snacks that everyone can share. Ask about pets if that’s an issue, or if anyone smokes in the house.
- Be upbeat about the overnight but assure your child that you are only a phone call away.
- Don’t call your child just to reassure yourself. You may trigger your child’s anxiety or homesickness just by the sound of your voice.
- Don’t make a big deal out of it if your child calls and wants to come home. There’s always next time.
Hosting The Sleepover
- Make sure your child is socially and physically mature enough for a sleepover party. Kids with bedwetting or sleep problems may not be ready.
- Limit the number to three guests to start, preferably ones who have visited before for play dates and that you know your child gets along with well.
- Involve your child in planning the party from invitations (homemade are nicest) to food, games and activities. Don’t forget breakfast.
- Screen any planned video in advance so there are no *#!!* surprises.
- Ask about guests’ allergies, inhalers or other special needs you should know about in advance.
- Tape all the kids’ contact numbers to the refrigerator.
- Be patient about answering parents’ questions. You’ll want to know the same things when your child is a guest.
- Take lots of pictures for everyone to share later. PC