Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

Are You Ready for Sleepovers?

sleepoverHave you had the opportunity yet to have your “baby” ask if they could spend the night at a friend’s house? I recently was asked by my 12-year-old if she could—and I quickly responded with, “Why don’t you just stay here?” I would much rather keep my children home, where I can see exactly what they are doing. I remember my mother saying the same thing to me when I was younger and thinking, “It’s not as much fun staying here!” My mother would never let me spend the night at a friend’s house until she spoke with the parents.

I have now become that embarrassing mother that wants to get to know the parents, where they live, what they do for a living, if they have other children, what shows they watch on TV, what games they play, books they read, results of the FBI background check…I know it seems a bit extensive.  But in all seriousness, even though it may be uncomfortable, I feel it’s really important for me to take the extra step and get to know the people that have the ability to influence my babies for an entire evening. I know I am embarrassing my children by doing so but hopefully one day when they are older they realize the importance and can understand how embarrassing it is for us, too.

There are a few ways to go about reaching out to the parents of your children’s friends to get to know them. Something that I do is set up a play date where I and the other parents will all be present and we can chat over coffee. Sometimes I have to make the first move in the conversation. This is easy if I have some ideas in mind of what is important to talk about, to fill in those awkward moments of silence. In the article 7 Steps to Prepare Your Child for a First Sleepover by Kate Rope from Parents Magazine, one parent says, “When I’m hosting I put it all out there. I say, ‘We have no dog, no pool, and no guns. We are going to watch this show, eat pizza and go to bed.’” I tend to follow the idea of “putting it all out there.” This way there are no questions of expectations and a good understanding of rules and plans.

The idea of someone else telling my kids what to do or allowing them to do things I wouldn’t makes me uncomfortable. But a conversation with the parents of my kid’s friends goes a long way in ensuring that I feel they will be safe, so to me, the extra step is worth it!

Author: stacihemlinger

I am a Leadership Coach at 4C for Children in the Miami Valley, a mother of four children, 12, 11, 8, and 3 and I love it! I have 3 girls and 1 boy and have found each of my babies are so very different. I love learning new ways to deal with all of the challenges and getting the word out to just maybe help someone else learn from my mistakes!

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