Your kid’s first sleepover at grandma’s house is a pretty big milestone. Besides, the idea of getting a day off from parenting is exciting. You’ll finally be able to read that book that’s been collecting dust sitting on your bookshelf since forever.
But what if it’s 2 AM, and your kid wakes up with a tummy ache? What if their allergies flare up? What if there’s an alien invasion at your in-law’s home?
Relax, will you?
Stop overthinking and start planning everything down to the last detail instead. Here are 5 fail-safe hacks to help you make sure the sleepover at Grandma’s goes smoothly.
Make them Feel at Home
We all know that change is the only constant but don’t expect your toddler to accept the deepest truth of life just yet. Transition is never easy for a kid. So the first thing you need to do to ensure a cry-free, successful sleepover at grandma’s is to create a familiar environment.
Most kids have a specific set of items they want to sleep with, in their beds, like stuffed toys. Almost every child also has a favorite blanket and jammies they can’t sleep without. Pack them all.
Things like these make them miss their home a little less and allow the sleepover to go smoothly.
Even as adults, some of us have a hard time dozing off peacefully anywhere but at our own homes, on our own bed. To help your junior relax and enjoy a sound sleep, consider using a nightlight. Choose a model with variable brightness if the kid is a light sleeper.
Make Appropriate Sleeping Arrangements
Not every grandparent has a nursery at home, and even if they do, your child might not be ready to sleep alone at their house just yet. Co-sleeping might not be the safest option either. The easiest solution to this problem would be buying a portable crib.
Travel-friendly, foldable cribs are a breeze to set up, acceptably spacious, and easy to store away. Portable cribs don’t take much space even when fully extended, making them well-suited for small bedrooms.
Pack and plays are good for daytime use, but they are not meant for sleeping overnight. Don’t forget to pick the right crib mattress. For your kid’s safety, pay a great deal of attention to make sure the mattress fits the crib perfectly.
There should be no more than 4 inches of gap between the mattress and the end panels of the crib. Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to fit more than two fingers in the gap. Avoid loose-fitting or plastic mattress covers as they pose suffocation hazards.
Get a High Chair
There is nothing grandmas enjoy more than cooking for their grandchildren. If there are going to be many more sleepovers in the future, get a booster seat. It will fit any dining chair and allow your kid to join their grandparents at the dinner table.
Some convertible models can transform into a nifty toddler seat. Make sure to give the grandparents a quick tutorial on how to fasten the harness and take out the tray.
Or get a full high chair to keep at Grandma’s house.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Grandparents and your child will probably make it through the night without having to call you, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful, does it? Write down all the essential care items you need to pack – lists are so helpful. Don’t overestimate the power of your memory.
Diapers, wet wipes, burp cloths, toothpaste, toothbrush, prescription medicines – whatever seems important should go in the bag. If your little one has sensitive skin, make sure to pack a set of extra towels because your kid might be allergic to this detergent their nonnie uses.
You should also leave them with a copy of your kid’s medical card. If push comes to shove and they have to make important medical decisions for your kid in your absence, the medical card will be required for insurance purposes.
Establish Some Ground Rules
Some rules are meant to be broken when your kid gets a VIP pass for a sleepover at grandma’s house. And it’s totally cool. It’s fine if they want to stay awake and watch a movie with their grandparents one hour past their bedtime.
It’s also okay for grandparents to pamper their grandchild with one extra cookie. But things like loading their tiny stomach with a buttload of sugar or, worse, rubbing alcohol on their gums to soothe toothache should be off-limits.
Clearly communicate where you draw the line. The older generations’ definition of “harmless” might not be the same as yours and mine.
It’s completely normal to feel anxious if it’s the first time your kid will be away from you. Most grandparents are more than capable of taking care of their grandkids on their own.
Trust them to do their job well and do your part to help them make this sleepover a success. Finally, before dropping off your kids at grandma’s house, give her a list of all the emergency numbers she can call if anything goes wrong.