Friday, September 24, 2010

How to Have a Successful Sleepover

Guest post by Tim Handorf

“Mom, can I have a sleepover?” Sleepovers, slumber parties, nightovers, whatever you call them, are somewhat of a rite of passage for every child. If your child hasn’t asked you to host one or let them attend one yet, it’s just a matter of time before they do. But should parents take precautions before planning a sleepover or sending them to someone else’s house?

According to a recent interview on CBS’ The Early Show with Shannon Eis, a parenting expert and Time to Play magazine contributor, sleepovers can cause moments for alarm. However, there are several ways for you to ensure your child is safe, comfortable and has a successful slumber party. Here is a breakdown of what she said:

First things first, it’s imperative to make sure that your child is truly prepared for a sleepover. It varies with each child, but signs that indicate your child is not ready are the following: Clings when you leave him/her, does not like to participate in new experiences, and regularly wets the bed.

Eis says the appropriate age to begin having sleepovers is usually around 5 or 6. She suggests that children younger than 6 try having sleepovers with family members. This way, children start to get comfortable with the idea and realize that you will pick them up in the morning, something Eis says is the number-one fear for most young children. She also suggests that if you are the host parent, do not “invite more children than there are the actual age of the child.” For instance, if your daughter/son is 5 years old, do not invite more than 5 children. The following are additional tips she gave to make sure your child has a smooth slumber party:

1. Talk to the host parent: It’s perfectly okay to ask questions about the host parent’s home and dynamics, Eis says. If you want to know if the home has firearms, internet (you might want to check in with your child via skype) or if you would like to know how many siblings your child’s friend has (i.e. any older brothers you might feel uncomfortable having your daughter around), then it’s important to ask upfront. It’s also important to inform host parents if your child has any specific rituals, such as going to the restroom right before bed, to prevent problems during your child’s stay.

2. Leave lights on: Eis says that because children tend to get spooked and trip in the dark, it’s best to leave on the lights. She also suggests passing out flashlights as party favors so that children who might be afraid of the dark are comfortable.

3. Plan wind-down activity: While most sleepovers don’t involve any actual sleep, Eis says it’s really important to set and stick to a reasonable bedtime. Eis suggests planning a wind-down activity such as reading a bedtime story or letting the little ones watch a program -- anything that lets them know the evening is coming to a close.

4. Set a pick-up time: Lastly, Eis says to set a specific time that the child needs to be picked up so that the host parent will have a ball-park figure of when their life can return back to normal and they can start cleaning, etc.

By-line:
This guest post is contributed by Tim Handorf, who writes on the topics of online colleges. He welcomes your comments at his email Id: tim.handorf.20@googlemail.com.

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