Sleepovers are one of those rituals that seemed to happen a lot when we were younger, but with the growing concern that parents have for their kids nowadays, it may pay to have a more careful approach. When it comes to letting your child go to a sleepover at a friend’s house, there are a few different schools of thought on the matter, with every family having a personal stance.
A recent study showed that 89% of parents felt stressed when their child attended a sleepover, whether it was due to concerns they would miss their routine or the fear that harm could come to them from someone in the house. So if you find yourself dreading the first time your kid asks to go to a sleepover, you’re not alone.
Are You For or Against Sleepovers?
When discussing sleepovers among parents, you’ll probably find a few different stances on the subject. There are some parents who flat out refuse to let their child go to a sleepover until they’re teenagers or older. Others would only allow it if they implicitly trusted both parents of the child having the sleepover. The rest think sleepovers are a crucial time of bonding for kids and want them to enjoy the experience, even at new friends’ houses.
The approach that each family takes is an entirely personal one, and undoubtedly one that has been given a lot of thought in every case. There’s never a right approach that works for everyone. What you decide for your children should be the decision that makes you most comfortable while ensuring your child is happy and comfortable, too.
Even if your child has never been to a sleepover before, you probably already know how you feel about the issue. If you’re on the fence, though, there are some things that you might want to consider before you make the decision.
Before You Agree To A Sleepover
Every child is beautifully unique, and therefore it’s tough to give a blanket answer on whether or not sleepovers are acceptable. If your child has yet to go to their first sleepover and you’re wondering whether the timing is right, there are a few questions you can ask yourself first.
Before you can even think about your child, you should know if you’re comfortable with the idea of sending your child to a sleepover. You know them best, and you also should know the family’s house they are going to, so if it’s going to be more stress for you than it’s worth then it’s best to hold off for now.
All children are different and follow different routines at home. Some have issues with bedwetting, others have elaborate bedtime routines, and others are relatively laid back with their sleep schedules. What your child needs will be a key determining factor on whether or not they’re ready.
Even if your child has been asked for a sleepover and the idea seems exciting, it can still be scary for them. If you think your child might feel uncomfortable, then you should never pressure them to go, even if you think they’ll miss out on a fun time.
How to Keep Your Child Safe at Sleepovers
If you feel comfortable with the decision and decide to let your child go to a sleepover, there are some simple things you can do to ensure they’re safe and feeling comfortable at all times. Here are a few tips for keeping them safe and putting your mind at ease.
- Find out all you can about the family, who will be in the house, and what their standard rules and routines are.
- Be clear to your child that they can contact you at any time of the day or night, and give them a charged mobile phone with your number on it in case of emergencies. Come up with a code word they can use if they want to come home without asking.
- Remind them not to do anything that makes them uncomfortable.
- Listen to what your child says about the house and if they feel scared or uncomfortable.
- Remind them about refraining from bad behaviour (including drugs and alcohol).
Your child’s first sleepover will undoubtedly be a stressful time for you, but if you decide that it’s right for your family, you’ll feel better knowing you did everything possible to make them safe and comfortable.
For more tips on common parenting questions and how to work your way through them, check out the rest of the Peachymama blog here.