Sleepover Etiquette for Parents
When I was growing up, there was a rule about sleepovers; you didn’t go anywhere until it was cleared with mom or dad first. Parents had to talk to each other and make the arrangements. There needed to be some sort of organization involved. Of course some of these rules changed by the time I was a teenager, by then all I had to do was ask if I could go to my friend’s house and that was that.
But in grade school it was different. My parents met my friends’ parents. Even if it was a quick chat on the phone and then a “nice to meet you” introduction when I got dropped off, my parents always knew the adults I would be with.
Today the rules seemed to have changed or I’m just dealing with parents more lazy than myself. I’ve been hosting sleepovers since Bug was in the second grade and while that seems young to some parents, it’s always worked out well for us if everyone is on the same page.
However, we’ve experienced some parents who have their own set of rules when it comes to sleepovers and their rules tend to run on the side of few and far between.
Regardless of what kind of parent you are, if you’re sending your child to another family’s home to sleepover there are some rules that moms like me appreciate.
Meet the parents. I know we talked on the phone to make the initial arrangements but I’d love to put a face with your voice. Don’t just pull up in the driveway and drop the kid off. That’s just rude. It shows that you don’t have much respect for my home or family. Face to face meetings give both sets of parents the chance to ask the questions they may have forgotten over the phone such as food allergies, the kinds of television or movies you don’t approve of, special things we should know (sleepwalking, talking, or bedwetting). These are courteous gestures that any parent hosting a kid’s sleepover needs to have.
Stick to the pickup time. Lateness happens but if you’re going to be 30 minutes later than the time you said you’d pick up Junior - then pick up the phone and call. Your child could be worried about where you are, the hosting family could have other plans, or they could be worried as well. Especially if you didn’t take the time to heed rule number one above. (This also means that you probably never set a pick up time in the first place and that’s just rude.)
Send the proper supplies. This could be a change of clothes, a pillow or a blanket. If it’s your child’s first sleepover some lovies from home will make the experience easier. If there is a food allergy or health issue that requires medicine, don’t forget it! Kids can freak out when routine is broken and if you decide to skip a dose of medicine “just this once” it could set your child into a panic and worry unnecessarily. Changes of clothes just make sense. You never know what kind of accident could happen. Plan for the worst and hope for the best is my suggestion.
We’ve had sleepovers where I’m washing clothes while the kids slept because Junior got dirty and didn’t have something clean to wear the next day. Along those same lines, we’ve loaned out pajamas to kids who didn’t bring any. Winter sleepovers have been ruined because there weren’t extra boots or snow suits to play outside in.
I don’t think that these are unreasonable requests. Envision a sleepover at your house and then treat the host family and their schedule the way you’d like to be treated. It only makes sense, not to mention your child learns that you care about where they are going and who they will be with.
Of course as Junior gets older, he will need to be responsible for packing on his own and so some rules may change but by then we’ll be good parenting pals and familiar with how each other does things. Until then, we need to establish some ground rules so that the kids have fun every time they sleepover.