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Remember how scary it was to sleep at a friend’s house for the first time? There was fear of not knowing where the bathroom was, waking up in the middle of the night and wanting to go home. What if food tasted funny or you got a bellyache in the middle of the night? Even more worries surfaced when the bathrobe, dangling on the door, appeared to be a ghost. Sometime during the day, while playing with lots of different toys, the idea of turning the playdate to a sleepover seemed like a good idea. Now what?

Pack those pajamas! Create a simple list so children can participate in the packing process. This allows the child to become an active, willing and responsible participant. It also helps kids know what they will have to unpack when returning home. A teddy bear or favorite book can help ease the transition. Packing personal care items will be appreciated by the host, who won’t have to supply toothpaste, toothbrush, or other toiletries.

Dress in the best manners
: Leave bodily noises like farting or burping for the bathroom. Play fair and include the host’s runny-nose brother or squealing sister in games. Secrets are for sissies and make others feel bad. Remember to ask before using the phone or taking something out of the refrigerator. Absolutely and positively respect privacy. Resist the urge to peek or snoop into the belongings of other people.

Neatness counts.
Ask the host where to place the overnight bag. Encourage children to keep all their clothes and toys in or on the suitcase. Leaving shoes and stinky underwear all over the house will not earn a return invitation. A sleepover is not a scavenger hunt for dirty clothes or an excuse to mess up someone else’s room!

"With a butterfly kiss and a ladybug hug, sleep tight little one like a bug in a rug." (Author: Unknown) Bedtime usually comes right in the middle of a favorite TV show or winning game. Parents know that chattering and giggling are part of every sleepover, but they won’t want to be on patrol all night long. When the host parent says “Bedtime for teddy bears and all other little children,” the guest should start to get ready for bed, even if the host child runs around the house like a wild animal!

Not all families are the same. As a guest, one should keep an eye on the customs of the house. Politely follow the bedtime ritual of the house, which may include bedtime snack, teeth brushing, and bedtime story.

EtiKids stresses the use of please, thank you, excuse me and sorry in all social situations. Reinforcing these words at home helps them become an integral part of the child’s vocabulary. “Thank you for inviting me to sleep at your house” can be followed up with a written note to encourage politeness, writing and social skills. Remember, even though a child may not always express their gratitude at home, they are capable of thanking their host, learning to be a gracious guest and helping with simple and caring tasks.

With all of the helpful information above, your child is ready to put it into practice. As stated in Maurice Sendak’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, "Let the wild rumpus begin!"