Ground rules to help you survive a sleepover
Mentally preparing yourself for sleepovers can make them easier to accept and much less stressful for both parents and kids alike. We asked parenting experts and parents how they prepare for sleepovers, so that your next slumber party won’t keep you up all night.
1. Make sure both of you are ready
You know your child and you’ll know if they’re ready or not for a sleepover. Some children may be ready to stay away from home when they’re seven, eight or nine. Others may have to wait for their teens before they are comfortable enough.
2. Set your own sleepover rules
Set expectations for your kids and their friends early in the evening, or even ahead of the date so they know what the rules are. Let them know:
- what time is lights out
- where it’s OK to play in the house (and garden)
- food and drink limit
- internet and phone boundaries
- your own house rules
- behaviour expectations (make sure no one is left out, for example)
3. Make it clear how many children will be staying the night
The key to having a stress-free slumber party is to choose the number of children you feel comfortable having in your home and stick with it. Too many children can get out of control and leave you feeling overwhelmed, so choose a number you feel you can handle.
4. Keep everyone's contact information in a safe, easy-to-access place
A sleepover hack which always comes in handy is having all the names and numbers of the children’s parents in a safe, easy-to-access place. If an emergency pops up, someone feels particularly homesick, or a child's behaviour has taken a turn for the worse, you don’t want to have to search around the house looking for their contact details.
5. Keep the sleepover simple
When planning a sleepover, it's easy to get carried away and try to organise a summer camp’s worth of activities into one evening. But the trick to surviving a sleepover is just keeping it simple.
You don’t need to recreate a West End theatre performance to keep them entertained. A board game, crafts or a film will do. The same applies to food. Keep it simple—and healthy—and they’ll be happy. You can even make the food prep fun by letting them make their own fajitas, tacos or pizza.
6. Pack the sleepover essentials, but ask what your child wants to bring
If your child is going away for a sleepover, you’ll obviously want to pack the sleepover essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, pyjamas, and DryNites Pyjama Pants—if they need them. But also check with your child if they want to bring anything specific. Although going away to sleep at a friend’s house is exciting, it can also be a nervous time. Ask them if they would like to bring something they love. A blanket, a stuffed animal, or anything else that makes them feel happy and comfortable.
How to get over homesickness at a sleepover
A child’s first sleepover may also be their first time away from home too. Encourage kids who are invited to bring a piece of home with them, like a favourite toy. Keeping them distracted with activities can help ward off the blues too, but if you have a little one who’s struggling, try FaceTime with mum or dad to help them settle.
How to approach bedwetting at a sleepover
The most important thing to do is be understanding and help a child if they wet the bed at a sleepover. Keeping plastic bags for wet clothing, spare sheets and pyjamas or DryNites® Pyjama Pants nearby will help a lot too.
However, the best way to be prepared for this is to ask parents before the sleepover if their child struggles to stay dry. If you know, the child is much more likely to tell you if it happens, meaning you can help and reassure them.
Quick sleepover troubleshooting tips for older children
Need some help with some quick and easy sleepover rules for older children? Try these out:
- Remove any mobiles or tablets if you haven’t already (check under pillows)
- Rather than let them dig into sugar-fuelled midnight feast snacks, invite them to come downstairs for milk and biscuits/ bowls of cereal—on the condition they settle down afterwards
- Insert earplugs and just let them be. Losing sleep at sleepovers is a rite of passage after all!
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