Letting your child go on their first sleepover is a very big step for parents. It requires trust of both your child and the household where they will be. What should you consider before that first invitation comes in?

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Is your child ready?

  1. Has your child already stayed overnight somewhere without you (perhaps with other family members) without getting scared or crying?

  2. Does your child know a potential sleepover friend well, and do they get along on playdates?

  3. Can your child get themselves ready for bed—brushing teeth, putting on pajamas—without adult help?

  4. Can your child generally get through the night without nightmares or crying?

  5. Can your child be away from you for several hours at a time without getting anxious?

  6. Does your child do well when socializing with other kids’ families or eating their food?

  7. Can your child ask other adults, besides you, for help?

  8. Is your child excited by the prospect of a sleepover?

Ways to help your child get ready:

1. Offer to host. Let your child have the first sleepover on their turf, or do a trial run where they eat dinner at a friends house and do common sleepover activities, but go home before bed dressed in pajamas. It is best to start out one-on-one instead of with a crowd.

2. Ask questions of the other parents and share with your child

a. What is planned?
b. Where will they be sleeping?
c. Who will be in the home?
d. Are there pets in the home?
e. What food will be served?

3. Talk about what to expect.

a. Talk about inappropriate
b. Teach them to say “no” if
something doesn’t feel right.
c. Talk about weapon safety – do
not touch a weapon and if
someone else in the house
brings one out, leave immediately.
d. Teach them to not take any
medications that they aren’t
familiar with and not to drink
alcohol if it is offered or introduced.

4. Help everyone get along. Talk to your child about compromise. If you are hosting, go out of your way to avoid conflict between the children, and try to make the other child comfortable.