Like Lindsay Cross, who doesn’t force her child to go to bed, neither do I. My daughter has to be in her room by 8:30 but she can read or write until she gets tired. She falls asleep much better on her own than me forcing a bedtime on her.
I was at a school function recently where I was talking to a mother about setting up a girls sleepover. Because my daughter has ballet until eight p.m. on Friday nights, and again on Sunday mornings, it’s very difficult for her to have a sleepover on weekends. This mother also has a hard time arranging girls sleepovers because her daughter has piano lessons on Saturday mornings and skis all day on Sundays.
”Are you, um, opposed to sleepovers during the week?” she asked me with trepidation.
I was like, ”ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’m so happy you asked. I wanted to suggest that but I didn’t think you’d agree!”
Girls sleepovers during the week are kind of genius, if you think about it. First off, the children KNOW they have school the next day, so all you have to do is remind them about that, and also before the sleepover, you can say, ”Remember this is a school night. So no arguing about going to bed past nine p.m.! Or you will never be allowed to do this again!”
Then, when they get up, they eat a quick bowl of cereal, because they are on a strict schedule to get to school on time. The sleepover ends by eight a.m., which is great for me after suffering from too many LONG sleepovers where I just want the damn kid out of my house but can’t very well say to the parent, ”Can you pick up your child at eight a.m.?”
So, my daughter had her very first mid-week sleepover, on a Wednesday with a friend who is also only free on Wednesdays. It was the best! First, they did their homework as soon as they walked in the door. Homework, apparently, is way more fun when there is a friend to do it alongside you. Then I ordered a pizza for dinner. Easy. Then they were allowed to watch television or a movie until eight, when I told them they had to go to bed. Yes, there was a little moaning, but it is still better than yelling down at midnight on a weekend night, ”YOU BETTER GO TO BED NOW. IT’S ONE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!!!!”
They were allowed to play in her room until they got tired, and by 10 o’clock, they were asleep cuddled up together on my daughter’s bed. The next morning, I woke them up.
Apparently, it is also easier to wake up my daughter when a friend is over. They got dressed in their uniforms together, which they thought was fun, and I had two bowls of cereal waiting for them. They ate while watching television. And, instead of just yelling at my daughter to get her knapsack and coat on, I got a two-for-one bonus. I just yelled at both of them. And both of them were at school by 8:15 a.m. happy as clams.
In fact, I think I may only have mid-week sleepovers from now on, because every time my daughter comes back from a weekend sleepover, she’s like a zombie and not a very nice one. With the excuse of ”You have school tomorrow,” the kids seem to go to bed earlier than weekend sleepovers. And, like I said, the sleepover ENDS early. Yes, the kids may be a little more tired than usual but nothing so bad that they couldn’t get through the day. And their homework was done!
It was the most fantastic sleepover ever.