Your Kid Is Ready For Their First Sleepover, Are You?

by Holly Garcia
Three tween girls taking a selfie at a sleepover
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty

The day has finally come when your kiddo is interested in sleepovers. Whether you’re hosting or they’re staying the night away for the first time, there are a couple of ground rules to get you ready for their first sleepover.

If You’re Hosting the Sleepover

The good news? If it’s your house, it’s your rules. The bad news? Well, there isn’t bad news per se, but you’re probably going to be in for a long night making sure said rules are followed. While there are no hard and fast guidelines to abide by for hosting your first sleepover, here are a few things that should be covered.

General House Rules

Most likely, your kid’s friends have been to your house before. But there is something about several small people in the same house at that same time that breeds chaos. So remind everyone about the house rules that still apply to sleepovers: no running, no locking your brother outside of the house, and no eating Mom’s cheesecake as a midnight snack.

Drop Off and Pick Up Times

This one is more for the other parents involved, but a reminder of what time they can drop off and pick up the kids never hurts. Otherwise, you run the risk of little Joyce hanging out long after the sleepover ends. Like, until 2 pm, running into your well-deserved nap after a long night.

Lights-Out Limit

Kids haven’t quite nailed the art of functioning on four hours of sleep. So while it’s tempting to allow a free-for-all until 4 in the morning, consider setting a lights-out limit. It doesn’t have to be anywhere near bedtime on a school night, but it should be reasonable depending on their age. And let’s be really honest: whatever time you set will probably be exceeded by at least an hour with whispers and giggles in the dark anyway.

If Your Kiddo is Staying Away

I don’t know about you, but for my kid’s first sleepover there are a couple of things I need to know.

Know the Host/Who Will Be There

Yes, I am absolutely one of those moms who extends her stay at the first drop-off or two. Especially when it’s a newer friend or a parent I’ve never met before. I mean, I’m not going to invite myself to stay and crash their first sleepover. But if my little is going to spend time away, I want to know who they’ll be hanging out with.

How Can Your Child Contact You?

If your kiddo has a phone, this is a time you’ll want to make sure they have it. Oh, and that it’s fully charged. On the other hand, if they don’t, make sure they have your phone number, and the host as well. It might be an emergency, or just a matter of talking them through anxiety about whether they want to spend the night or not. But just knowing they have an open line of communication with you will make things smoother for everyone involved.

The first sleepover is a right of passage for many littles. And as exciting as it is, it can also be nerve-wracking for both you and your kiddo. But, as long as you ask the questions, set the boundaries, and communicate, it’ll be an enjoyable experience for both of you.