Is Your Child Ready for Sleepovers?

At about the time she starts attending school and making some real friends, your child will probably ask if she can spend the night at another child's home. But the age at which kids are ready to spend the night away from home can vary - a 5-year-old might be ready for it, and a 10-year-old may not be. Instead of just throwing her into a situation where she's uncomfortable and homesick, ease your child into the world of sleepovers.{relatedarticles}Start with having relatives sleep at your home while you and your partner go elsewhere - perhaps for a weekend! This will get your child used to going to bed and waking up without you. Then, progress to "almost sleepovers" in which your child goes to a friend's house, gets suited up in pajamas and has all the fun of a sleepover, while you pick her up around 10 p.m. or whatever time works for her. This way, she gets all of the fun of a sleepover and gets to sleep in her own bed, too.
When it's time to have that real sleepover, assess whether your child is ready. A child who still wets the bed, has a disability or has food allergies may not be capable of sleeping elsewhere until she can manage the situation herself. It's tough to ask another family to help with these conditions when they may not fully understand them. If you think it's manageable, put any special instructions, like how to give medications, in writing. {relatedarticles}Express your need for there to be a set bedtime, if you feel strongly about it, and assess whether or not the parents will be home the whole time. If not, then ask who will be doing the caretaking. Other concerns parents may want to address are the presence of guns in the home, what kinds of pets the family has, how they monitor Internet access and what types of videos, movies and computer games are available to the kids.