Sending your precious baby on her first sleepover, regardless of how old she is and who it is with, can cause anxiety – even if you are typically the most laid-back parent. For some parents, even the mere thought of their child not sleeping soundly in her bed could be enough to make the hairs on the back of their necks stand on end. For others, they welcome the opportunity to have a kid-free night while their children are in safe and loving hands.
Regardless of how you feel about it, at one time or another, most grandparents who live relatively close (and even some who don’t) will ask if their grandchild can spend the night. But before you say yes and make reservations at your favourite restaurant, you’ll want to access the viability of such a plan. You’ll not only need to consider if your child is ready to make a full-night separation, but you’ll also want to be sure that your parents are able to provide the intensity of care your child needs. If you determine that everyone’s ready for their first sleepover at grandma’s, there’s a few things you can do to set your child, and your parents, up for success.
1. Choose the right time. Well-rested, well-fed kids are more easily able to handle new situations and manage the emotions that come along with them. Children with even the slightest cold or who have skipped lunch or missed their afternoon nap won’t make the best sleepover guests. When possible, plan sleepovers for when your child’s at her best.
2. Communicate your ground rules. When it comes to what’s for dinner or how tightly your child’s car seat harness has to be, parents and grandparents can have two separate ideas of what’s acceptable. Be sure to clearly communicate any essential rules of care in advance and be sure that there’s a clear understanding of what is acceptable and what’s not. While most grandparents feel that spoiling their grandchild is their right, the good news is that it typically only takes one instance of not following the rules and feeding their grandchild a sugar only diet before they realise that mums really do know best.
3. Send comforts of home. While it goes without saying that if your child sleeps with a lovey or favourite stuffed toy it’s got a VIP pass to the sleepover event, there are other items that can also make your child’s stay more comfortable. If she has a favourite pair of jammies or snack, be sure to send that along as well.
4. Be sure she has a safe and familiar sleep space. By the time many parents become grandparents, they’ve traded in their family homes for more cosy accommodations, and appropriately so. But their scaled down quarters often result in homes with one bedroom – with one bed – and sharing a bed or sleeping on the couch isn’t always the safest option for young children. When babies and toddlers outgrow the standard pack and play set up, finding a safe sleep space can be problematic. For parents looking for a portable and easy to use and store safe sleep space for young children, the Joovy Foocot is a great solution. This low to the ground, steel framed cot is simple to set up, stores in its own travel bag and can be used at home to practice for the big event.
5. Pack essential care items. In addition to a toothbrush, tooth paste and hair brush,if your child has sensitive skin don’t forget to pack face cloths and towels that were washed in your detergent. If she has long hair and you typically use detangler to prevent snarl induced meltdowns, pack that too.
While chances are you’ll worry more than you need to, setting your child and your parents up for success can help the first sleepover experience to go off without a hitch- or a middle of the night rescue call.
A review sample of the Joovy Foocot was provided at no cost to the author. It’s the author’s personal policy to publically review and endorse products that she uses with her own family.