Friday, March 29, 2013

Helping your Kid Survive Their First Sleepover

Sleepover (Photo credit: secondtree)
Some parents are terrified of sending their kids to their first sleepover. Others may just be thankful for a night of peace and quiet. Either way, this will be many kids’ first time sleeping in a room where their parents are not just across the hall or in a house they may not be familiar with, and this can be intimidating. By following a few suggestions you can help your kids have a fun and safe time at their first sleepover.

1. Learning about their home for the night

When you drop your kids off at the home they will be staying at, walk through the house and show them where the bathrooms they will use are, where they can go to get drinks or a late night snack, and anything else they may need during the night. This way the child will not need to worry about asking for permission or finding whatever they need at night. This also can help to prevent your child from walking into a room where they could get hurt or accidentally wake someone up.

Another important thing to do is let the hosting parents and friend know if your kid has any medication they will need to take, or a disorder, like diabetes, asthma, autism or severe allergies. They should know what symptoms are typical and which ones might be more serious and warrant a call home or hospital visit. You should also make sure that your child can communicate the kind of problems they might experience from their disorder, and let their friends know in what situations they should wake up their parents for help.

2. Social Skills

A first sleepover can be scary for kids. A whole night of playing and talking with their friends may be far more socializing than what your child has experienced in other situations. While the sleepover will probably be full of games, movies and other fun activities, there may also be a lot of downtime. During popular sleepover events, like scary stories or funny jokes, you don’t want your child to feel left out. To prepare them, teach them some scary stories and funny jokes that they can spread to their friends during the sleepover. This way they can be involved in the conversation all night.

3. Homesickness

Sleeping in an unfamiliar room far away from your family may be a totally new experience for your child. To help them become more comfortable with this, have them try sleeping in a different room at your own house. Because there may not be enough beds for each kid at the sleepover, get your child used to sleeping on other surfaces. For example, they can try sleeping on a cushy rug or a couch in the living room. By getting used to sleeping in these locations, they may be able to fall asleep faster at their friend’s house.

So your kid can feel at least a little bit at home during their sleepover, let them bring along their own pillow, if not their blanket as well. Having some of their own bedding can be a huge source of comfort while they are trying to fall asleep. If they can’t bring their own blanket, your child may only be given a sheet or thin quilt. Consider packing a pair of footed pajamas for kids, so they can stay warm like they would if they had their comforter from home. If they have a stuffed animal they like to sleep with, this could be helpful too. Just be mindful of how old they are, as at some ages bringing along a stuffed animal may become a source of teasing.

Sleepovers are an important part of kids’ social lives. However, the first one can be nerve racking for even the bravest child. By using a few techniques to help your kid survive their first sleepover, you may be able to help them have a great time spending the night with their friends.
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