When I get invited to sleepover parties, I always end up wanting to go home before bed. Now that I am a rising 8th grader, I am starting to worry that my friends may find it babyish that I can't spend the night. Any advice? -Anonymous
I’ve had experience with this same problem before! When I used to often have sleepovers with my friends, I’d nearly always call my mom to pick me up when it came time to go to sleep. Eventually, I did start to worry that my friends would look down on me because of it, but they never did! If you believe that your friends really are your friends, they’ll understand if you set a boundary like not sleeping over at their houses. The best thing you can do is to communicate. Let them know ahead of time that you don’t want to spend the whole night at their house. If you want you can explain why; however, if you don’t, they should still accept it.
If you don’t feel comfortable telling them that you don’t want to spend the night, another tip would be to blame it on your parents. My mother always said that if I didn’t want to sleep over at someone’s house, all I had to do was tell them that my parents didn’t want me to sleep over. If you do decide that this might be something you want to do, talk to your parents and make sure it’s okay with them if you tell your friends something like “I wish I could spend the night, but my parents won’t let me for (these reasons).” Another tip for avoiding sleeping over at a friend’s house would be to have a sleepover at your house! If your parents would allow that, it might make spending the night with your friends a lot easier. Depending on the size of your room, you could even have them sleep on the floor and you could sleep in your own bed. This was something that made the transition to spending the night at a friend’s house a lot easier for me.
However, if you don’t want to avoid sleepovers and would rather face the problem head on, I also want to offer up some tips for getting to a place where you do feel comfortable staying at a friend’s house. My first tip for that would be to bring items that are familiar to you. Even if your friend has blankets and pillows for you to use, it can be very comforting to use your own pillowcase/blanket if you’re sleeping somewhere unfamiliar. Those items will still smell like your bedroom, and make you feel a little bit like that’s where you’re sleeping. Another tip would be to follow through with nighttime rituals that you normally do at home. For some examples, brush your teeth even if your friends don’t want to, put on any lotions or other scents if you use things like that before bed, and wear socks if that’s something you normally do. Doing things like that will signal to your brain that it’s bedtime, and it’ll probably make you feel ready for bed/comfortable, too. One final tip is to call a parent or sibling before going to bed. Either step into the backyard or the bathroom, and just talk to them for a couple of minutes to say goodnight. Doing that always comforted me when I slept over at friends’ houses, and it might relax you to hear the voice of someone you love.
And those were all of my tips! I hope that some of them can prove helpful to you and anyone else who struggles with this (so many people do!). If anyone else has tips for how to handle not wanting to sleepover, please leave them in the comments below!