Being a Dad: Rules for your child’s safe sleepover

Below are some tips to help you prepare for your child’s first sleepover whether they are attending or hosting at your home.

Kate Halim

When you were a child, did you love packing your bags and heading down the street to spend the night at a school friend’s house? At that time, all you could probably think about was staying up late, watching movies and eating sweets.

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But as a father, you might not view sleepovers the same way. After all, when is a child ready to spend a night away from home? And what makes a sleepover safe?

Below are some tips to help you prepare for your child’s first sleepover whether they are attending or hosting at your home.

Determining when your child is ready for a bit more independence can be difficult. Look at other factors, such as emotional and behavioral development.

A child’s age is not as important as their level of maturity and self-sufficiency. Around age 7, a child can typically be considered mature enough to spend the night away, but each individual child is different and should be considered on an individual basis.

Ask yourself questions like, “Does my child play well with others and listen to adults?” And, “How does he or she react when we are apart for long periods of time?” Answer the questions thoughtfully and honestly and ultimately trust your instincts. You know your child better than anyone.

Before you agree to send your child to someone else’s house, it’s critical you get to know your kid’s friend and the supervising adults. Set up a play date so you can get a feel for how your child and her friend interact with one another. Does she act the same around her pal, or does her behavior change in any way? Do they seem to have a good time together? These are just some of the questions you might want to ask yourself.

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In addition, having a conversation with the parents is important. That way, the lines of communication are open, and you are fully aware of any needs or behavioral issues of each child.

Once you have exchanged niceties with your child’s friend’s parents or guardians, it’s time to cut to the chase and ask the more difficult questions. Does anyone in the house abuse drugs? What kinds of movies are their children allowed to watch at home? How many people will be at the house during the sleepover? Be kind but firm in explaining what and why these things matter to you.

The hosting parents’ responsibility is to make sure their home is safe for children of all ages and free of hazards.. They are responsible for having all phone numbers, allergy information, health information where necessary, and a good rapport with the family and child staying in their home.

Establish ground rules. This step is vital for parents to go over with their children and the supervising adults. If you are not okay with your 8-year-old kid watching Titanic, say so. The same goes for bedtimes, food choices and games. While you can’t control everything that happens at another person’s house, you should absolutely be able to have a say regarding your child’s overall safety and well-being.

You don’t want to be on the phone with your child all night, but it’s important they know they can reach you if needed. Should they be scared to talk openly while their friends are around, you can establish a safe word to discreetly indicate that they are feeling uncomfortable, scared or homesick. Also, let the hosting parents know how and when is best to contact you.

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Finally, let your child know that while you hope they have an absolute blast with their friends, there’s no shame in realizing they might not be ready. Over time and with good communication, you will both come to a clearer understanding of what works best, sleepover-wise, for your family.

The post Being a Dad: Rules for your child’s safe sleepover appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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