Every parent has the first time that they sit at home and their oldest or only child walks up to them and asks to sleepover at a friend from school. Usually, this happens when you don’t know the parents, you rarely heard about the friend, and you hoped that your children would never ask the question. It can be extremely hard to know what age is appropriate for sleepovers, at your house or their friends.
Before the age of 10 sleepovers are not required or always recommended, as before this age proper social development. Sleeping over at an aunt’s house with their cousins or at grandmother’s house is not the same as sleeping over at a friend’s house. Before 10 there is no benefit to a sleepover at a friend’s house, either socially or developmentally.
Understanding why some children are never allowed to go to sleepovers, how to know that your children are ready, or even how to ensure your children will be ready is important. Many parents have to learn that their children are not growing at the same speed as others, some growing faster and others growing slower. Sending your children off to sleepovers is vital in ensuring that they are ready for the world when you are not there to keep an eye on them.
Why do some kids not attend sleepovers?
To put it bluntly, it is because as an adult we know that other adults can be weird, and this means that many times children will never be allowed to attend a sleepover. Parents do not want their children exposed to things they are not in control off and having them spend the night at another adult’s home can be extremely stressful. (Source: Good House Keeping)
If this seems like an extreme view for someone to have it is important to remember how many odd people you have encountered in your life. Sometimes you don’t know what parents may be like when they are at home and exposing your children to this can be harmful. Even when you trust your children completely it is the parents and other children that you may not trust.
You must never pressure other parents to have their children sleepover at your home, even if you are sure nothing bad will happen. Preferably you should always give the option for children to attend a party without having children sleeping over. This ensures that there is a choice for parents who are not yet ready to have their children sleeping over at other people’s homes.
How do you know when a kid is ready?
Your children are ready for sleepovers when they are comfortable being left alone and you are comfortable leaving them alone at a friend’s house overnight. It is important that you and your children are comfortable being away from each other, and that they are not stressed about being embarrassed or worried about hanging out with their friends. Generally, it is healthier to only have a sleepover with one friend rather than a large party. (Source: Parents)
If your children complain and ask to return home because of reasons that make them uncomfortable you must be willing to come and get them. This will greatly ensure that there is no awkward situation where they may feel like you abandoned them at a friend’s house. During these times you must judge how the other parent is reacting to the situation, if they are making your children feel more uncomfortable it may be a sign that they are not the right people to have had a sleepover with.
Many times, you will need to spend some time with the parents before having your children sleepover and seeing how the children interact with each other. If they get tired of each other within a few hours it may not be a good idea to have a sleepover. Further, your children need to able to do some functions without the help of an adult as the parents of the friends may not be able to properly attend to their every need.
What should be considered before sending your child to a sleepover?
Whether you are sending your child to their first friends only sleepover at the age of 5 or you are waiting until they enter their pre-teen years, you must consider everything. Your children will need to grow and gain freedom as they become ready to experience the world around them. It is your job as the parent in the relationship to not only teach your children but to know when they are ready to experience these things. (Source: Defend Innocence)
Many parents around the world are not always considering the challenges of sleepovers when they have done several already. However, first-time parents are not sure what to think about and start stressing about every small detail while forgetting the important parts of the relationships. This is why you should consider the following before sending your children away to their first sleepover.
Is your child ready
The most important part of the equation when considering a sleepover is your child ready to be left alone with friends for the entire night. This is the part that makes many parents tremble when they realize that their children are not only ready to be on their own but eager to enjoy the experience. Calculating when the right age can be a challenge with many parents not realizing what they need to teach their children to be left alone.
If you have taught them everything you think they need to know and have confirmed that they can take care of themselves in the most basic ways, then they may be ready. However, the only real way to know if your children are ready to enjoy a sleepover at a friend’s house is when they say they are. Testing the waters slowly, and being ready to get them, will allow both of you to comfortably enjoy being away from each other.
Do you know the other parents
Knowing the other parents is the best way to know that everyone will be safe at the sleepover, with a large majority of people having smaller parties before arranging a sleepover. This means that all the parents can get to know each other and that the children can interact within a safe space. You must take note of how the children are interacting and if your children are not happy with some friends it may be best to avoid them.
Ultimately when you are leaving your children at a sleepover it will be the adults that are in charge of taking care of them. If you are not sure about them it will never be a good experience having them watch over your kids for an entire night. Having a good relationship with the parents will also mean that you know how they will react to emergencies, how they will react to challenges, and how to contact them if something goes wrong.
What other children will be there
This is the most important part for your children and should be the main deciding factor whether you are willing to try it or not. You should ask your children if they know the other kids that will be there, if they feel uncomfortable with one or more then it may be better to not attend the birthday. Forcing your children to be social with people they already said they do not like is never a good idea.
Having your children go to sleepovers that they want to go to is infinitely more important than having them socialize for the sake of socializing. However, it is still important to know when it is just nerves talking and when it is your children not getting along with other children. Remember, you won’t like to sleepover at a colleague’s house that you don’t like either.
Sleepovers are some of the most stressful things that any parent has to go through and will easily be one of the greatest experiences for your children. However, it can also be some of the most stressful times for you as a parent, so preparing your children for it is important. It is something that all parents face as their children continue to grow, with most parents not being entirely ready for when it does start.
Whatever happens, as your children grow they may want to spend time away from your and sleepovers are the safest ways of getting them to learn the world!