So, this weekend Libby had her first spend the night party. To be honest, I've been avoiding this for a while. Selfishly, this is partly because I spend all day with other people's kiddos, and on the weekend I really just want to love on my own kiddos for a while. This is also partly because Libby is only seven, and she has so many more years to enjoy the epicness that is the sleepover; I didn't see the need to rush it.
However, I took the great plunge Friday night in what has to have been the world's best first sleepover experience. Here are some things I learned:
1. HAVE A PLAN
Expecting that you'll just put two kiddos together and that they will play happily for hours is not always the best approach. I don't know about your kiddo, but Libby wanted her sleepover to be greater than great, and just playing all night wasn't going to cut it. Think about a playdate-- fun for a few hours and then starts to fizzle, right? Well, why should we expect this to be any different? So, I suggest you have a plan. If the kiddos want to play, great, but have something in mind to do in case things turn sour or get boring. For us, this something was Dolphin Tale. Have you seen it? Confession: I wasn't looking forward to it for two reasons:
1.) I'm not just a huge fan of dolphins. I don't DISLIKE them, I am just more interested in other animals. 2.) It seemed to have lots of potential to be cheesy. I can handle a little cheesy, but I'm not much on OVERLY cheesy. Well, if you need me, I'll be busy eating my words. This movie was top-notch. We liked it so much, in fact, that we rewatched it yesterday. It has a great cast, great music, a great message, and is something the whole family can enjoy together. I highly recommend you check it out. The girls sat quietly and watched the whole thing.
2. PREPARE YOUR KID
While Libby has had a little sister for the past two years, she also spent five years as an only child....and sometimes it shows. She likes to be in the spotlight and isn't always super excited about sharing. If this sounds anything like the kid you love, I suggest preparing him or her prior to the sleepover. We talked about how she was our guest, how she may have different rules than we do, and how she may not like everything we like. We also talked about what we'd do if she got homesick at bedtime. While I can't prove it, I do believe that giving Libby a heads up and talking through what may happen helped avoid a minor meltdown on her part and helped her to be a better friend Friday night.
3. CHOOSE CAREFULLY
I think this is the key to having a successful first sleepover, so listen closely: carefully choose who you will invite. Not everyone parents the same way, not all families share the same values, and not all kids play well together. Period. So, getting your feet wet in the sleepover department with someone whose parents you know well is essential. I can't stress enough how much I respect the little girl's parents, and I know that their parenting style and priorities as parents are very similar to ours. Not to mention, there daughter was a DREAM! She was so polite and funny; I truly enjoyed being around her. Will there come a time when Libby wants to invite over someone I barely know whose parents I also don't know? I can pretty much count on it. But, by starting here with someone we know, we set the standard for how we treat guests and how we behave at a sleepover while staying in our comfort zone. One challenge at a time....I'm thinking that might need to be on my parenting motto list.
And before you go, I have a winner to announce:
And if you didn't win, chin up, pretty.
I have three more giveaways headed your way really soon from some awesome new sponsors.
And the fact that someone likes this little blog o'mine enough to want to sponsor it, is proof that someone other than my mom reads it. (Hi, Mom. Happy almost birthday.)
So, if you're reading, which you clearly are, you make my day. Every day.
Here's hoping your Monday was filled with the good stuff.
Ours was filled with the stomach virus. Yes, that makes round three at our house.
Yuck, yuck, double yuck.