How to prepare for your child’s first sleepover

black little boy napping on couch near sister reading book
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Some kids are socially prepared and independent for sleepovers at a young age but, for others, the very thought of spending a night with a bunch of friends can be anxiety-inducing. There is no wrong or right age for children to begin attending slumber parties, but your child mustn’t feel pressured into the situation.

Your child should have a positive first experience than risk an upsetting or potentially distressing incident that may turn them off to the whole concept of sleepovers. If your kid seeks permission to have or attend a sleepover, then this is a definite sign that they’re at least interested. On the other hand, if your kid receives an invitation to a nap party for a friend’s birthday or another occasion, it is vital to make sure they are content with the idea before committing them to something they are not indeed ready for.

Be a host first.

Once you have decided that your kid is psychologically ready for a sleepover, consider hosting one at your home before sending them off to someone else’s house. Having one of their friends sleep at your house gives your kid a taste of what to really expect at a sleepover, but with known surroundings. While slumber parties with a group of kids can be a socially enriching and engaging experience, it is good to start slowly to minimize anxiety or potential conflict and enhance the chances of a positive experience. Once your kid has been able to spend a night with a friend in the luxury of your own house, it won’t be long before they are enthusiastic about the chance to have an exciting experience and the same fun at a friend’s house.

Create a Schedule

Having a definite plan of action for the sleepover will help you and your kid to be prepared for a great night. A sleepover schedule should be a fun-filled plan that you prepare with your kid. Coming up with a list of games, food options, and activities together with your kid can get them even more excited for the event. Have designated times for these activities decided and keep the evening on course. A page of poster board or a dry erase board with what’s reserved for the night will give your kid a sense of order, and it’ll give you an opportunity to keep things running smoothly and get them to bed at a predetermined, reasonable time. The fewer deviations and surprises from the agenda, the less likely a meltdown will be.

Get ready

Ensure you prepare what you could before your guest arrives. You should understand sleeping arrangements in advance, and any room cleaning or bed-making should all be taken care of. Getting your kid to participate in these tasks may help them realize that there’s more to winning than just having fun. If the sleep party is taking place in a shared common space or family room, layout pillows, blankets, and bedding in advance. Pull out a stack of relevant movies for watching, or plan games and other activities for the night where they can easily access them.

Also, be ready for the unexpected. Have a new (extra) toothbrush handy should your visitor forget to bring one. Ensure the kids know where the bathroom is and how to get there from where they will be napping. A flashlight or a nightlight is also a good idea, should your guest wake up in the dark and have difficulty finding your bathroom.

Food

Pizza is a famous sleepover staple, but there are hundreds of fun possibilities when it comes to what to eat. Remember, the adventure should be fun, so try to include a fun theme into the cuisine – no pot roast! Snacks after dinner while watching movies or TV should also be carefully considered. Popcorn can be a wise choice over sugary snacks that can keep children awake well past bedtime, and be sure to select fit refreshments without sugar or caffeine.

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