Tips for Successful Sleepovers this School Year!
New Friends Add Excitement to Sleepovers
For many kids, meeting new friends is one of the most exciting parts of heading back to school each fall. A new school year provides plenty of opportunities for children to expand their social circles, and weekend sleepovers are common ways to build new friendships. Despite their popularity, sleepovers can be challenging for both children and parents. Common jitters that accompany sleepovers such as missing Mom and Dad or being afraid of the dark are often made worse when children are anxious to impress their new friends. For parents, hosting sleepovers can be an overwhelming experience, especially when the guests are spending the night at their homes for the first time.
"There's no doubt that sleepovers are a rite of passage for kids, but that doesn't mean they're always easy," says child development expert Penny Warner, author of Slumber Parties - 25 Fun-Filled Party Themes. "With the right amount of planning and preparation, sleepovers can be great fun for kids and stress-free for parents." Warner says it's never too early to plan for your child's next sleepover, and she offers the following tips to help moms prepare their kids to enjoy sleepovers with new friends.
- Make sure your child is ready to attend.
Consider factors such as whether your child sleeps through the night, handles the bedtime routine on his or her own, and shows signs of independence.
- Prepare your child for the sleepover.
Pack his or her overnight bag with the essentials (toothbrush, sleeping bag, etc.) & a few familiar items, such as your child's favorite pillow or stuffed animal, that will make him or her feel at home, even while at someone else's house.
- Ease your child's fear of the dark.
Pack a nightlight or flashlight in his or her overnight bag to prevent your child from waking up scared in an unfamiliar home.
- Reduce your child's chance of an embarrassing moment.
Sleepovers have plenty of potential not only for fun but also for embarrassment. For example, if your child experiences bedwetting, let him or her know that it's not his or her fault and that he or she is not alone - literally millions of kids go through the same thing. Pack his or her overnight bag together and include GoodNites® disposable underpants. They have underwear-like prints and aren't visible under pajamas, which will give your child the confidence to have fun during the evening and to fall asleep with assurance that a dry morning awaits.
- Parents who will be hosting a sleepover also have their work cut out for them. Warner has been helping parents plan sleepovers for more than 15 years and has plenty of ideas in the sleeping bag.
- Encourage your child to invite old friends along with the new. Having pals from the previous school year present will help your child feel more comfortable around his or her new friends.
- Develop a list of rules with your child to ensure the sleepover goes smoothly. This is especially helpful for your child's new friends who aren't yet familiar with your house rules.
- Welcome the guests. Be sure the children feel comfortable in your home, and let them know they can talk to you in private if they feel homesick, experience bedwetting, or have trouble falling asleep.
- Connect with the parents. Talk with the parents of your child's guests so that you are aware of any dietary restrictions, bedtime routines or other issues. This is also a good time to exchange contact information in case of an emergency and to discuss special rules, such as no PG-13 movies.
- Plan plenty of activities. Keeping the kids entertained throughout the night is crucial - if they're busy and having fun, they'll be less likely to miss their parents and own bed.
- Create a sleeping space. Set up a comfortable sleeping area for the slumber party - try arranging the sleeping bags in a starburst shape with heads at the center and feet at the outer edge.
- Let the kids stay up late at night. They can always catch up on sleep the following day, and half the fun of sleepovers is seeing who can stay up the latest.
Visit goodnites.com for more sleepover tips, advice and information. At goodnites.com parents can connect with doctors and other parents at the GoodNites® Good Morning ClubTM.
Courtesy of ARA Content EDITOR'S NOTE:
The survey cited in this article was conducted in March 2005 by Impulse Research for GoodNites® Brand in order to assess sleepover patterns among kids in the U.S. A total of 1,766 women with children were recruited for this survey. Of those, 1,215 women had children age 4 to 14.
The 90 percent who have participated in sleepovers were the focus of the survey. The overall sampling error for this survey is plus or minus 3 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.
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