There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the term sleepover anxiety until you’ve had a child who experiences it. It’s not because it’s a new concept. It’s because our parents didn’t acknowledge it as such when we were kids. Now that we better understand anxiety and how it affects us, it’s good to take it seriously. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of tips and tricks to help kids with sleepover anxiety.
Don’t Force Your Kid Into It
If someone invited your child to a sleepover, and they don’t want to go, don’t force them into it. It’s okay not to feel ready for an event like that. However, if they keep turning down multiple sleepovers in the future, you might want to figure out why that is and work through it together.
Recognize and Talk About Their Fears
You can’t work through this problem if you don’t understand it. That’s why our most important tip to help kids with sleepover anxiety is to talk to them. Of course, there’s always a chance that your kid won’t want to talk about what’s bothering them, so you’ll need to make them comfortable enough to do so. Set up a safe environment for them. Stay supportive and understanding, not judgmental and demeaning.
Your child isn’t the first one to have this happen—make sure they know that. Tell them about a time where you felt anxious about something as a kid and how you dealt with it. It will help ease their fears.
Talk to the Host’s Parents Beforehand
Once your child decides to go to one, set up a time to talk to their friend’s parents and make sure they understand the situation and know what to do if your kid starts freaking out. Most importantly, ask them to make sure the other kids don’t make fun of your son or daughter if they’re not handling the new scenario well.
Pack Items To Make It Easier
The next step is to talk to your kid and figure out what they want to bring to make them more comfortable. If they have a security blanket, pack it in their bag. If you followed the previous step, your kid shouldn’t have to worry about other kids making fun of them if they need it.
You should also send them over with a kid’s texting watch like the one we have available on our website. This will allow them to message you if they’re feeling anxious. You can help talk them down. If things get too bad, they can tell you that they want to come home without having to say it in front of their friends.
Encourage Them Before They Go
You can only do so much for them. Once they are ready to go, leave them with some encouraging words and inspire them to follow through with it. Their friends are excited to see them, so make sure they know that and are eager to spend time with them too.