Sometimes you and your child could use a break from each other. Sometimes it would be great to have some time apart. Especially in the summer. When you start feeling like that, it might be time to arrange a sleepover!
Note: this only applies to children old enough to spend the night at a friend’s house. That age is up to you, but Kindergarten or older is what I’m talking about here.
Having friends over to my house is a lot of stress–if I let one child invite a friend, the other children want one too, and pretty soon I’m coordinating a party. But letting one of my children sleep over at a friend’s house? That’s a wonderful deployment break.
First, brainstorm their friends and consider who you would be comfortable having your child spend a night with. How well do you know the family? How far away do they live? Does your child get along well with them? Have they ever given an open-ended invitation for the kids to do a sleepover ‘someday?’
Then, consider dates to suggest to the other family. You will want to have a light schedule the next day, so not on a school night or the day before a soccer game. If you aren’t sure how to invite your child over, try something like, “My daughter has been wanting to see your daughter. She wants to sleep over sometime. Are you guys busy next weekend?” This makes your request known, but isn’t too pushy, and gives the other family room to check their schedule, or just say no.
Even if your child is old enough to pack their own things, it’s always good to check their selections. Make sure they have fresh clothes for the next day (including socks and underwear!), some pj’s to sleep in, toothbrush, hairbrush, and any favorite toys or stuffed animals that they sleep with. Find out if they will sleep in the friend’s bed or on the floor, in which case your child will need a pillow and sleeping bag or blanket.
My kids are usually eager for a sleep over and don’t have any anxiety about it. But if your child seems nervous about the idea, ask them what, and discuss any of their hesitations. Maybe they are afraid the friend won’t have the same toothpaste or breakfast cereal. That’s an easy discussion. If it’s the friend’s older brother that makes them uncomfortable, well then maybe you want to put the brakes on the project and have a serious talk! So listen to your child, but also reassure them that they will have fun, and they can always call you to come get them, and that you will be just down the road.
Once your plans are in place and you are ready to drop off your child, make sure you discuss pick-up plans for the next morning! Then say your good-byes, and enjoy your night with fewer or no children! Try to get some rest and not stay up all night worrying about them, haha!
Final note: your child will come home tired. No one ever sleeps as much at a friend’s house as they do in their own bed. So be sure to have a light schedule planned the next day, and give your child a chance to take a nap if they need it!