How to Prepare for Your Toddler’s First Sleepover

Once you have your new baby in your arms, you might have a hard time imagining letting go long enough to meet friends for tea, much less overnight. Eventually, this will change and it will be time for your wee one to spend the night at the home of a relative or friend. Whether its your baby staying with grandparents or your toddler visiting your sister, you want the sleepover to go well. In fact, its a good idea to get started fairly early in your childs life. That will make it easier for him or her to transition into sleepovers at friends houses later or adjust to staying in a hotel, for example. Here are ways to prepare in order to improve the odds of your child (and the hosts) enjoying the sleepover.

Prepare for Mess By now you are probably well aware of how messy your child can be. Youll already be planning to fill an overnight bag with lots of diapers, a bandana bib or two, and clothes. What you should realise is whoever is hosting the sleepover may not be used to your childs messes. Even if they have raised children of their own, those skills might now be a bit rusty. Expect them to need more of everything during your childs stay. The spills from one meal that you might wipe up in the blink of an eye, they might find a little more demanding. The same goes for nappies and clothing. Assume things will get dirty much more quickly than they do at home and use that as a basis for packing. That will ensure that you pack enough of everything.

Bring the Comforts of Home A few favourite toys and blanket can make the transition to a different place go more smoothly. If there is music you usually play at night or a nightlight your child is used to seeing, they can be a huge help it making your child feel safe and comfortable. Even bringing your childs regular foods can reduce the number of different variables your child has to deal with at one time. If you normally read to your child at bedtime, bring along his or her favourite books so that the tradition can be continued. This should make the child feel more at home while helping help to lull the child to sleep.

Establish Expectations Begin talking to your child well ahead of the sleepover about the upcoming event. Be sure to describe the sleepover in positive terms. Even a very young child can pick up bits of what you are describing. In added benefit is talking to kids helps them build up communication skills. This is your chance to answer any questions your child might have.

If possible, start out small by having your child spend a few hours at a time with his or her future hosts. That will help your child get used to being with other people and with you being out of sight. This will help your child learn to expect you to return so there is no panic when youre away from each other. Visits to the home and even a nap at the location of the sleepover will all help prepare your child for the sleepover and help him or her get used to the location and people. All of this will make it easier for to adjust to a sleepover there later. 

Skip the Grand Exit The most difficult part of the sleepover could be when you leave your child with the hosts. Minimize the likelihood that your child will worry or act out when you leave by trying to leave quickly and casually. Leaving your child overnight could be a big step for you but if you act nervous or worried, your child is likely to pick up on this. Dont make a big issue about the fact that you are leaving. If your departure becomes emotional, your child is more likely to be scared or angry once you leave whereas if everyone else is calm then your child is more likely to see no reason to be concerned. If youre going to tear up at the thought of leaving your child overnight, do that once you are safely away and out of sight.

Keep the Routine Make sure your childs hosts know the routine your child is accustomed to observing so they can keep to the same schedule as much as possible. Try to facilitate this by coordinating the drop-off times so that it still allows them plenty time to get the child settled before feeding or nap time. If your child remains on the same eating, napping, and sleeping schedule, life should be easier for everyone. Otherwise, grandparents may keep the child up late or auntie might forget to put him or her down for a nap. A tired child is much more likely to react badly to the change in routine.

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