A sleepover can be a lot of fun, but if this is her first sleepover, do your part and make certain she is prepared.

Sleepover Etiquette for Parents

by Kathryn Hatter

Sleepovers can be a major adventure in the life of a small person. Hanging out with friends and sleeping away from home is not a small thing. Sleepovers can be big for parents, too – especially the ones hosting the event. Make sure you follow sleepover etiquette so your child is a proper guest.


Communication is crucial to helping your little one have sleepover success. If you don’t know the inviting parents, it is good etiquette to call them before the sleepover date, advises the Parents Connect website. By introducing yourself and establishing contact, you make it easy for the parents to call you in any situation that might come up. If your kid has any issues that the parents should know – like health problems or sleep disturbances – this is the time to talk about them. If your child still sleeps in absorbent training pants, mention this, too. Ask the parents what type of bedding your child should bring.

Pack Right

Pack your kid’s overnight bag so she has everything she needs. If your little one is helping you, she may want to go overboard with the packing and throw too much into the bag. Rein her in and make sure that she brings only what she needs. Pack pajamas, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, comb or brush, a ponytail holder, change of clothes and any sleep toy your little one needs.

Prepare Your Child

Make sure your little one is up to challenges of the sleepover. Although the idea of a sleepover might be exciting -- in reality, it can be really scary, too. You don’t want to send your tot off to a sleepover if he’s going to freak out and want to come home. Talk about what it might be like. Is he afraid of the dark? Does he have bad dreams? Find out what he’ll need to handle to spend the night at his friend’s house. Also remind your tot to use his indoor voice while visiting, to knock on doors, to walk (not run) inside the house and to play nice.

Be Available

Even the best-laid plans sometimes go haywire. Don’t be surprised if you get a tearful phone call when it’s bedtime. Make sure you’re available for this call – both for your child’s sake -- and to rescue the host parents. If your little one is tearful and wants to come home, get her right away to end everyone's misery. Comfort and tell her that it's no biggie, that she can try a sleepover again another time -- when she’s ready.

Pick-Up Time

If he makes it through to the next morning, be a considerate parent and arrive on time to pick him up. Have him thank the host parents and the other child, with a nice “Thank you” and then you should also thank them. You might want to help your little one send a thank-you note within the next day or two, as a formal gesture.


About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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