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Summer Sleepovers: A Parent’s Checklist

June 1st, 2016

School’s out, summer’s here, and that means the traditional summer sleepover season has begun!

Sleeping over a friend’s house is a childhood rite of passage for many youngsters, and we’ve got a few tips to help you prepare for the milestone event.

  • Talk to the hosting parents before the big night.
    It’s always a good idea to chat with the parents hosting the sleepover. If you don’t know them that well, provide your address and phone number. Ask where the kids will be (In a tent outdoors? In the basement? In an upstairs bedroom?) and how they will be supervised. These are kids, after all, and when they put their heads together, who knows what ‘great idea’ will pop up! Keeping tabs on the goings-on should be the hosts’ responsibility, and you as a parent have to know who’s in charge.
    PS – No parents at home? No sleepover.
  • Find out who’s invited.
    Kids should be roughly the same age, so everything – from the video games they’re playing to the movies they’re watching – are age-appropriate. Check that the sleepover is girl- or boy-only (note: some parents don’t see this as an issue). And ask for a head count: too many kids are hard to accommodate and harder still to properly supervise.
    Check with your child about the guest list as well, to make sure he or she is friends with or at least comfortable with the other kids planning to attend.
  • Celebrate this milestone!
    A night away from home is a pretty big deal for most kids, and a tiny step toward their eventual independence, so tell them that while you’ll miss them for a night, assure them they’ll have a wonderful time! Consider buying them new pajamas or sleeping bag, and don’t forget to help them pack their favorite stuffed animal or DVD for group viewing. And for goodness sake…Once you’re back home, try not to worry (phone calls every half hour checking up on them are definitely NOT cool, Mom!).
  • When homesickness hits
    Just as you settle into that romance novel or that DVR’d movie, the phone rings: it’s the sleepover host, telling you that little Johnny or Susie is homesick and wants to come home. It can happen, no matter how much your son or daughter looks forward to a sleepover. Don’t refuse to pick up your child or force them to stay. As a loving parent, your job is to head over to the host home as soon as you can (no matter the hour!), and bring your child home. Reassure them that it’s okay to miss their own bed, tell them there will be other sleepovers when they’re ready, and tuck them in with a kiss and an understanding smile.