With half-term round the corner, parents around the country will be gearing up for a barrage of requests to go to (or maybe even host!) sleepovers.
While some parents might be worried about what their kids will be getting up to, we believe that there are plenty of reasons why sleepovers can be not only fun, but very important to children.
A Chance To Try Out Something New
Putting your kids in a new environment way is a great way for them to experience new things such as foods or maybe even a totally different way of living.
Remember that the bedtime routine might be different in another household (and could go out of the window at a sleepover), but it’s important that they get used to adapting to these different schedules.
A Chance To Make New Friends
Spending time with other children is a great chance for your children to strengthen their existing friendships and hopefully even make some new ones.
Just like at school, a sleepover is a great way to learn how to share and play fairly with others, but it can also serve as a real bonding experience for them as they spend time together away from the schoolyard.
Gets Kids (& Adults!) Out Of Their Comfort Zones
While you might see it as a big step for yourself personally to place so much trust in your child, remember that it’s a big step for them as well.
In many cases, a sleepover might be the first time your child has ever spent the night away from home, which is a bigger step than you might realise.
A sleepover will make the kids feel a lot more grown up and independent, even though in reality it’s a very safe and controlled environment.
An Opportunity To Learn Social Boundaries
Teaching your kids how to behave around the house is all well and good, but what use is it if they don’t go out and do the same in the real world?
Behaving in someone else’s home is very different to your own, and who knows, their friend’s parents might be really strict, or perhaps more chilled out than you are.
The only way to really teach your kids the importance of how to behave in different locations is for them to experience different situations for themselves.
Sleepovers are a great way for you and your little one to spend some time away from each other in a safe and controlled environment.
Kids will have to fend for themselves (within reason!) at a sleepover, and they’ll learn some skills which might seem basic, but that they probably haven’t experienced before, things such as packing clothes and getting ready for bed without mum and dad.
For many kids, it can be a really big step to spend the night away from mum and dad, and this is referred to as separation anxiety in some cases.
Check out this article for more information on separation anxiety in children.
On a selfish note, it can also be nice to have a night of peace and quiet every once in a while too!
At a sleepover, your kids won’t be able to rely on you every time they need something. This can be a big step in their personal development and get them more used to doing things for themselves.
For example, if they’re hungry or thirsty, they need to learn to go and ask for some food or drink of their own accord.
Again, it might seem simple but when your child needs to use the bathroom they need to have the confidence to go and ask their friend’s parents where it is.
Kids Are Better Behaved Than You’d Think!
If you’re worried that your kids might be badly behaved when they’re round at their friend’s house and that they might show you up, there’s often not as much to worry about as you’d think.
The truth is that the change of setting, and being placed with adults they don’t know as well makes children much more well behaved.
Over time they may start to figure out little weaknesses and ways to get at you as a parent, but when at a friend’s house they know that any misbehaving and they may not be allowed back!
They Build Trust
Trust is fundamental to a parent/child relationship, and it’s a two-way street. At some point, you’re going to have to start trusting your children to go out and live their lives, and within reason it’s better to do this earlier rather than later.
Your kids are far more likely to trust and respect you if you show them some in return, and will lead to a healthy open relationship between you.
A Chance To Demonstrate Responsibility
If you find it tougher to trust your child with a sleepover, why not allow them to have one at your house to begin with so that you can easily keep an eye on them.
This is a chance for you to see first-hand whether or not they can be trusted, and also to test out how responsible their friends are so that can you can make a better judgement on future sleepovers.
Fun, Fun & More Fun!
And perhaps most importantly of all, it’s important for your kids to have fun! That’s what being young is all about right?
Kids absolutely love sleepovers, and whether it be a movie night, a night camping out in the back garden or doing each other’s hair, it’s all normal, fun stuff that kids should be allowed to do.
All in all, while they aren’t without their risks, sleepovers are a great way for your kids to have fun while also repaying some of your faith and trust.