Your children love you and ordinarily cannot bear to away from you however, as they get older they make friends and very soon you will hear requests asking to go for a sleepover or slumber party.
Growing up, my Dad was not big on sleep overs and I never quite understood why. As far as I was concerned he was being a “party pooper” but as I got older I began to understand what some of his concerns may have been; like most parents, he wanted to be assured we were safe and comfortable and the easiest way was having all of us spend the night under the same roof.
The truth is that at some point whether via sleep overs, boarding house or some other way your child may need to be away from your watchful eyes for at least a night. While I won’t start a debate for or against sleep overs here are somethings I usually consider when my children are invited to a sleepover or if I decide to host one.
Do you know the host parents? : It may not be best to entrust the care of your child in a parent you have not met. As a parent you should know your children’s friends mum, dad or both. If you don’t, then take time to meet the host parents and see if you share similar ideals on safety and the likes. You may find that the parents may allow their children liberties that are a no-no in your home. Discuss with them and do not just drop off your child without a backward glance.
Do you know the child: It is very important that you know your children’s friends. If the host child is one whose behaviour has worried you in the past then you may want to rethink the invite.
Ask host parents questions: Don’t be embarrassed to ask a few questions about arrangements. Find out if the parents would be home or how many children are being expected. Most parents would understand and will not take offence.
Educate your child: Way before sleepovers come up your child should know about appropriateness. They should know their privates are private to them and if anyone touches them inappropriately they should know they can tell you or a responsible adult immediately. They should also know how they can say no to any inappropriate behaviour (by words or actions) so that any improper touching is discouraged immediately.
Communication: Ensure you have the host parents’ number and that they have yours in case they need to call you or you need to check on your child. If your child has a phone make sure they know they can call you at whatever time. If you are the one hosting children make sure your rules are well communicated and check on the children frequently. You should also have the phone numbers of all the parents of children in your care.
Go with your guts: While you should not be paranoid it is important to go with your gut feeling. At the end of the day a sleepover is not by force and for any reason you aren’t feeling comfortable with your child sleeping over then feel free to say no.
Be vigilant: This is especially important when you are hosting. Whenever I have children in my home I try to be as hands-on as possible to ensure that the children are playing safely and not getting up to any trouble. Remember that while these children are in your care you are acting in-loco parentis.
Well, these are my tips please share any you may have as well as your experience with sleepovers.