Surviving A Sleepover
The mere mention of the word sleepover to most parents results in a universal feeling of dread, eye rolling, and a desperate searching for reasons to avoid having one. All parents must at some point suffer through the rite of passage called having a sleepover. A little advance planning can help ease the pain afterward. Know your own child. The best age for a sleepover varies. If they are really not ready to stay over then politely say no, or arrange for a pickup before bedtime. By middle school, your child will be asking to have a sleepover at their own house. Bigger is definitely not better. The more kids you have, the greater the chance of poor sleepers and lots of kids up way too late. Help your child chose a realistic number of friends. This means that some friends will not be invited and that is OK. Do not pressure your child to invite someone he or she is uncomfortable inviting. Have a conversation with your child about the importance of not talking about the event at school. If you are contacting the parents to do the inviting, then it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that they do the same.
Plan in advance. It is good to have some activity to do for part of the time. This could be done away from the home, and includes things like bowling, going to a sports event, or making bead necklaces at a store. It could also be something the kids do at home such as a movie after dinner, an art project or an outside game of football or laser tag. Check out food preferences by asking your child about what their friends like and do not like to eat.
Most importantly, take away phones at a predetermined point in the evening. Let parents know you will be collecting phones in case they text their children and worry if they do not get a response. It may also be helpful to ask kids not to post pictures of what they are doing at the time. Before a return to school have another conversation with your child about what to say if confronted by a friend who is angry about being left out. This is where role playing can be very effective. Practice responses such as “my parents would only let me invite three people” with your child. Remind them that they cannot make everyone happy and it is not their responsibility to do so. Remind them that sometimes the best conversations are short ones and that sometimes other kids will be upset and it is not their job to fix that.
Prepare yourself. No one ever gets enough sleep at a sleepover and the next day can be difficult. Factor in quiet time for your child, and for you the next day.