As a parent, do you wonder when is the right time to let your child attend a sleepover? How about an overnight camp? Do you gauge when it's the right time by age, a comfort level, or a combination of the two? Well, all of these questions I faced when my husband and I had to make a decision whether or not to allow our daughter to sleepover at her friend's home. Another factor of this sleepover was that it included a trip for the day to an amusement park.
Of course it made me very nervous when my daughter first asked. However, as she gets older, I'm getting better at making decisions based on a thought process vs. reacting out of fear. So, I've come up with steps that aid me in making decisions like these. Here are 5 steps I used to decide whether or not my daughter could attend a sleepover.:
- Communicate - talk directly with the Mom (parents) of my child’s friend. In this case, the Mom happened to be one of my Mommy friends, so that made it a little easier to connect. I’ve visited their home, met their extended family, and her daughter and mine are BFFs. Keep in mind, the goal of the communication is to obtain specifics and details, ex. When are they going/returning? Who is going? How will they get there? Costs associated? Will there be supervision the entire time? etc.
- Assess - assess whether or not my daughter is ready for a sleepover. Will it be fun for her? Can she be away from us? Is she able to sleep through the night? How is her hygiene? etc. An important observation my husband and I made was that my daughter was really excited about the opportunity to go. This was going to be (in her words), "…so much fun!" She asked repeatedly that we consider it. It wasn't something I was encouraging her take part in…it was very important to her.
- Be still and meditate - yes, I sat still and meditated. I wanted to still my mind to see if anything came up that was of a concern that caused it to be a strong no. I needed to hear what my gut (instinct and intuition) said to me.
- Identify fears and worry - I asked myself what fears did I have? What was I worried about? After asking myself those questions, I followed it all the way through to an answer. In that, I also asked myself if I’ve prepared my daughter?
- Reassurance - are the parents willing to keep in contact throughout the duration of the trip? Now, I don’t mean an hourly check-in, but something that reassures me in terms of what I’d need to ease my mind. For example, a text that says, we arrived safely...we’re on our way back…an all is well. It’s not much to ask – believe me! Fortunately for us, my Mommy friend offered this before the question was asked.
Overall, I believe our approach involved a healthy assessment before making a decision. My personality type includes being a thinker, planner, and analyst. Quite frankly, I like to think things through. I didn't act any differently than when we purchased our home or our new car…and those are just material things.
And if I'm 100% honest, I embraced and acknowledged the fact that even after all of this, I didn't fully exhale until she returned home with us - safe and sound. I think that's a Mom thing…and that's ok.
How do you decide if it’s the right time for a sleepover?
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