Quick, what’s another word for anticlimactic? If you answered, sleepover, you probably have kids aged 6 to 9. Too often a child’s pre-slumber-party excitement ends with an “I-wanna-come-home” telephone call at midnight. Dr. Donna Assh, a psychologist in Halifax, N.S., offers these tips to avert sleepover slip-ups.
Think stage, not age. Maturity varies among children. Your child can probably handle a sleepover if she has a fairly independent bedtime routine, including the ability to change into her pyjamas, brush her teeth and wash her face.
Kids should also be able to call home by themselves. Pack a bit of home. Include a favourite book, stuffed animal or blanket in your child’s bag.
Map it out. Talk with your child about what she thinks will happen at the sleepover, including getting ready for bed and where she will sleep.
Brainstorm before you bail. When your child wants out, ask what the problem is and negotiate a solution. You don’t want to pressure your child to stay, but bailing her out too soon may contribute to a sense of failure. Overcoming her anxiety, on the other hand, will build confidence.