How to Prepare Your Child for an Overnight

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As a parent, you will watch your child enter and exit many big milestones in their lives. From lifting their heads up for the first time, to crawling, and eventually, walking – seeing our children grow and become individuals is an experience like no other. When your child gets their first invitation to a sleepover, it is both thrilling and a little scary. With some encouragement and a lot of love, you can help make your child feel more comfortable to traverse from play-dates to overnights.

Children between the ages of 7 to 9 are moving into their sleepover prime. All children are different and have their own reactions to the entrance into this new social setting – some experience separation anxiety, which is very common. Ultimately, there is no definition of the “right age” – but children are the best judges of themselves and when they are ready.

With these tips, you can increase the odds that your kid isn’t going to bail out come

Make Sure They’re On Board

If you are comfortable with the arrangement for the sleepover, update your child with the information you know. Keeping them in the circle of knowledge builds trust with them and helps let them know that they can count on you to be honest with them. Making a plan to say good night with your child from wherever they are is a good idea – whether it’s a phone call from the house line, or their own phone or device. This way you can battle any preliminary anxiety before it ever has a chance to arrive in your child’s mind.

Talk About What to Expect

Getting scared and wanting to get back home during a sleepover tends to originate from a fear of the unknown – which is totally normal for children to experience. If your child still wets the bed, they may feel nervous about having an accident and their friend finding out. To free your child of this anxiety, pack gentle diapers with them at night. The less bulky the better as your child probably wants to keep the situation low-key, but if something should occur, they simply have to get up and throw the diaper away. Crisis averted. Of course, let them know that they can call you at any time if they get worried, and that there isn’t anything to be frightened of; it’s all just part of growing up.

Offer to Host

If you feel your child may be particularly anxious about spending the night at a friend’s house, you might want to offer to host a sleepover. That way your child can get an idea of what these events are like, and how everything is likely to unfold. You can also see if your child will grow agitated spending so much one-on-one time with their friend. It is a beneficial observatory experiment for both you and the child, as well as a fun night for every one!

Follow Your Heart

If you’re getting a bad feeling about your child’s ability to comfortably stay the night at a friend’s house – don’t feel bad about saying no. The presence of other older children may upset you or affect your child’s experience altogether, it is a preference that changes from family to family and should be discussed prior to responding to the invitation.

Every family is dynamic and different, but a policy of open discussion is always the best approach to any situation that may arise.

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