Advertising
Advertising

9 Sleepover Tips Every Parent Should Know

9 Sleepover Tips Every Parent Should Know

Parents naturally want to protect their kids and keep them safe and out of trouble. Trusting your kid will be safe at school or with babysitters can be hard enough, but when it comes to sleepovers—even with family and close friends—it can be difficult to let go and trust your kid to someone else’s care.

However, almost every child is going to want to spend the night at their best friends’ homes, go to an overnight camp, or have friends over for the night at your home at some point.

Mentally preparing yourself for sleepovers can make them easier to accept and much less stressful for both parents and kids alike. Here are a few sleepover tips so that slumber parties won’t make you pull your hair out..

1. Make sure your child is ready

As the parent, you will be the best judge of whether or not your child is ready for sleepovers, and whether or not a particular sleepover is a wise idea. Some kids may be perfectly fine at seven or eight while others might not be ready until their teen years.

If they don’t sleep easily on their own, if they wet the bed, or if they still wake up and come to your bed for comfort they might not be ready quite yet. Basically, they should have good “sleep skills” before attending sleepovers: able to fall asleep themselves without your help or much fuss and be able to sleep through the night with few interruptions.

You can always try out a few “late-overs” first (letting your child stay late but picking them up to sleep at home), or a sleepover with grandma or cousins to see how they handle being without you.

Some parents or kids may never be comfortable with sleepovers for whatever reason and that is fine, too. It’s ultimately a decision for you as a parent and you have to trust your gut.

Knowing if your child is ready

    2. Chat with fellow parents

    One of the best ways to have an easier time with sleepovers is to coordinate the details with fellow parents and get to know them in advance.

    Advertising

    Think about it like this: do you know them well enough to loan them your car for a night? If you would have objections about giving them your keys then sending your kid over may not be wise!

    If you are the host, reach out to the parents via phone or in person, make sure you have their current contact information handy, ask if there are any allergies to be aware of, or if there are any other things you need to know about their stay with you. Make it clear if you are planning activities like swimming that would require special clothes or gear so there’s no upsets.

    If you are sending your kid to a sleepover, check in with the other parent let them know the same thing. See what the evening will entail so you know what to pack. You might also want to ask who else will be in the house, their house rules and supervision plans, and other important questions.

    For kids with dietary restrictions, it’s always appreciated (and less stressful for you) if you send a ready-made meal and a few safe snacks along with your kiddo. Other parents may not be savvy with gluten-free/nut-free meals, despite their best intentions, and it’s often easiest just to avoid that stress for both parties.

    Get Chatty With Fellow Parents

      3. Explain sleepover etiquette and safety to your child

      Whether you’re hosting or sending, explain the rules and boundaries of sleepovers ahead of time to your child.

      Minding manners, being polite, and respecting rules and the homes of host parents are important points to cover. Kids can get mischievous in groups, so making it clear that they are still subject to normal rules and consequences can be a good idea.

      Safety is often the number-one concern for parents. When your child is going to someone else’s sleepover, make sure your kid has your phone number memorized and knows that they can call you at any time if they feel uncomfortable.

      Many parents also like to go over the basic aspects of physical safety with their kids. Parenthood.com has an excellent article on smart sleepovers, and safety expert Pattie Fitzgerald has a good short video and an article covering some of the concerns parents might have.

      Advertising

      Explain Sleepover Etiquette & Safety to Your Child

        4. Simple is best

        When you are ready to plan a slumber party, remember that simple is always best—that goes for activities, food, or planning.

        You don’t need to have a three-ring circus in your living room to keep kids entertained. Often a few board games, a movie, crafts, or free play are more than enough. Don’t stress yourself out planning an action-packed night or a difficult outing.

        The same goes for food. You might be super proud of your cumin-scented pot roast and root vegetables that got 100 likes on Instagram, but the gaggle of grade-schoolers you’re serving may not appreciate it as much.

        So keep the food simple. Chicken strips or nuggets, veggies and dip, cut-up fruit, sandwiches, and pizza are just a few classic kid-friendly standbys that will make meal times smoother.

        If you have older kids over, you could also get them in on the fun by having them make their own pizzas, subs or tacos.

        Repeat This Mantra: Simple is Best

          5. Lay ground rules from the start

          One of the best ways to avoid arguments and problems during the night is to set firm but reasonable rules from the beginning. This might include where kids can play, indoor rules for your home, outside boundaries, soda limits, and internet/phone boundaries.

          Also, don’t forget to set a firm lights-out time to ensure everyone gets enough sleep. The last thing you’ll want to deal with are a bunch of cranky and tired kids the next morning. Plus, other parents will definitely thank you!

          Advertising

          Keep in mind age-appropriate bedtimes for your group and plan accordingly. Remember, kids under 12 need at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, and even teens need around nine hours.

          Lay Out Ground Rules from the Get Go

            6. Keep contact information in a central location

            Many savvy parents will already have contact info for the parents of their kids’ friends. But it can be extra helpful to print out all the names and numbers of parents whose kids will be at your sleepover ahead of time and keep it in an easy-to-find location like your purse or the fridge.

            This way if an issue or emergency pops up, you won’t have to search around for contacts or call dozens of numbers while dealing with a stressed or rowdy kid.

            Keep Contact Information in a Central Spot

              7. Pack the essentials, but get your kid’s input, too

              The core sleepover kit for younger kids includes a toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, pajamas, and at least one other outfit. Check to see if they need to bring their own sleeping bag and/or pillow.

              If your child likes to sleep with a specific stuffed animal or blanket toss that in, too. Don’t forget to ask them if there’s a specific toy or other item they want to take with them (within reason) so there’s no regrets or tears later. Run through a quick inventory checklist before you leave the house just to double check.

              Pack The Essentials for Your Kid, but Get Their Input, too

                8. Supervise, but don’t tyrannize

                If you are the host parent, it’s obviously your responsibility to supervise the kids in your care and make sure they don’t get hurt or do anything too crazy.

                Advertising

                But most kids, especially in the middle school years, will want to spend some time giggling and playing with their friends without mom and dad looming over or leading every single action.

                Definitely check in from time to time, lay clear ground rules and keep both ears and eyes open, but don’t stress yourself out about watching them every single minute.

                If your child is away, you can also request a call before bed so that you can check in and make sure everything is okay without being too “embarrassing.”

                Supervise, But Don't Monopolize

                  9. Expect the unexpected

                  Expect the unexpected is the perfect saying for dealing with sleepovers and kids. You can plan the perfect slumber party to the T, but the kids might be more interested in an activity you didn’t plan, one or two kids might get homesick, the pizza might show up wrong, and someone might scrape a knee.

                  Be flexible with your plans and be prepared for deviations. If you are sending your child to a sleepover, make sure your phone is charged and handy and that you aren’t too far away in case something pops up.

                  For hosts, in addition to keeping parents’ contacts handy, keep a backup kid-friendly movie and a few extra snacks around, have basic first aid stuff and emergency numbers on hand, and remember—simple is best!

                  Spongebob Slumber Party

                    More by this author

                    Smartphone Bright Light This Is Why Electronics Don’t Belong in Your Bedroom 5 Ways To Kick Away Negative Thoughts Before Sleeping Girl on iPhone 21 Interesting Apps To Train Your Brain Night Owls The Night Owl’s Guide to Better Sleep How to Rewire Your Brain for Better Sleep

                    Trending in Family

                    1 15 Best Father’s Day Gifts Your Father Won’t Buy On His Own 2 6 Ways to Care For Your Aging Parents From a Distance 3 What to Do If You Grew up in a Dysfunctional Family 4 How to Strengthen Family Bonds When You’re Staying at Home 5 How To Set Family Goals To Build A Happy Family (With Examples)

                    Read Next

                    Advertising
                    Advertising
                    Advertising

                    Last Updated on August 10, 2020

                    8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                    8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                    The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

                    Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

                    Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important?”

                    1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

                    It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

                    But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

                    Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

                    Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

                    “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

                    And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

                    Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

                    Advertising

                    So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

                    2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

                    Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

                    You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

                    Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

                    Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

                    So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

                    3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

                    A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

                    But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

                    Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

                    Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

                    Advertising

                    So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

                    4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

                    This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

                    Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

                    What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

                    This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

                    If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

                    So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

                    5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

                    This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

                    What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

                    The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

                    Advertising

                    Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

                    So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

                    6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

                    Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

                    For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

                    A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

                    Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

                    So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

                    7. Goals Make You Feel Good

                    Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

                    Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

                    Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

                    Advertising

                    If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

                    So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

                    8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

                    I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

                    Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

                    Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

                    There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

                    Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

                    So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

                    Final Thoughts

                    These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

                    If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

                    Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

                    More Tips About Goals Setting

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Read Next