When is it safe for your child to go for a sleepover?
It’s come, that dreaded question from your kid. “Katie invited me to a sleepover at her house and I’d really like to go.” There are so many questions zipping through your mind but it’s looking like Katie’s do will be minus one person. Before you say that out loud though, take a step back and assess how this could be a positive thing for your family.
Today’s world is not the same as say the 1950’s or 1960’s was. Parents are bombarded with tales of male relatives doing unthinkable acts on little ones in their family. So the idea of letting your child sleeping over at someone else’s house may inspire a lot of thinking on your part. If your child brings it up, you may dash that dream by saying they’re not old enough to spend the night at someone else’s house, However close that family may be to yours.
What age a child should or shouldn’t be when taking part in a sleepover differs from child to child. If you feel that your child can handle whatever situation life throws their way, then it’s a good chance that they should go for that sleepover. Not only would it be good for them, it would be good for you, as the parent.
Benefit one: Opens their mind
Besides letting your child do something fun with their friend, a sleepover gives them the chance to appreciate that different families have different ways of doing things. It would allow them to see just how parents come to a conclusion in decision-making and how that everyone has their own style of doing things, even parents. They don’t all operate by a secret book.
Benefit two: Builds on their social skill development
Your parenting strategies may be different from your best friend’s parenting strategies. That doesn’t mean either are wrong in what they do. But exposing your child to different strategies and different rules allows your child to pick up on someone else’s parenting skills and adapt themselves to it. You’ll be surprised at how well they fall into the routine of things at someone else’s place. Even if they don’t-- don’t stress. Give it a bit of time and your kid may be able to follow through on this a month or so later.
Benefit three: They learn how to share
This is probably the best lesson your child can glean from sleeping over at a friend’s place, especially if they are possessive about their toys or personal belongings. For them, the concept of a sleepover is all about fun but you can tweak it to your advantage. Use the opportunity to expose them to the sharing their possessions whether it’s toys, their bed or even your otherwise undivided attention. If, after that first occasion, they still want to have friends over without adding restrictions to their toys or even you, it’s a successful experiment.
Benefit four: Parents can let themselves mature emotionally
It’s hard to cut the cord, whatever age your child is. It’s the worst when they’re still so small, though. Giving your child permission to spend a night at a friend’s house is no easy task. But when you do, you empower your child as you’re letting some of the control rest on their shoulders. By letting them grow mentally, you are giving yourself that chance to grow emotionally. Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t vet the family first. If the sleepover is like this huge mountain, and you feel like you can’t scale it yet- schedule some play dates with the family first and then move from there.
Benefit five: Increased attention for those at home
One person temporarily being away has an effect on how people behave at home. With the focus off one child, maybe this period could be a good time for you to connect with your other children. If you have only one child, use it as a time to connect with your spouse. Make use of the hours to build a closer relationship with one another or with your kids.