When You Have An Only Child, Sleepovers Are A Parent’s Best Friend

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sleepoverIt’s official: my daughter is allowed to have absolutely anyone sleepover at our house on any day of the week. For the next ten years, I’m happy to house any friend she chooses. To be honest, I’m not sure why it took me four years to figure out how amazing sleepovers are. How could I not realize the joy that comes with having someone there to entertain my little girl all night?

As the parent of an only child, I’m pretty used to being the go-to playmate. And on normal days, I love to be the zookeeper to her cheetah or the Joker to her Batman. I have no problem playing Scooby Doo Snakes and Ladders or helping out with a puzzle. I enjoy playtime and seeing where her crazy imagination takes us.

But there are certain nights where all I want is a book and maybe a glass of wine. There are nights when my energy is drained and I’m simply not capable of crawling around on the floor or waging a superhero war on the kitchen table. I don’t think that makes me a bad parent. Now I know an easy way to give myself a break from playtime and keep my daughter completely content.

I’m not saying that my daughter needs to have entertainment at every point in the day. Lord knows that there are times when I’m cooking dinner, working late or cleaning the house and she has to play quietly in her bedroom all by herself. I know that it’s important to teach kids how to play alone. But after an hour or drawing or building blocks, she simply wants some interaction. She’s a kid, I can’t blame her for that.

Enter the sleepover. Last night, Brenna had her very first overnight guest. Her cousin got dropped off before dinner and is still playing nicely in her bedroom. They’ve been superheroes, power rangers, family members, Smurfs, dance partners and various wild animals. They giggled at each other over dinner last night. Her cousin even convinced Brenna to try the meatballs with her spaghetti, a feat that I’ve never managed with success.

The longer this sleepover lasts, the more I wonder why my parents didn’t let me have more of them! I suppose it was because they had three children close in age, and we normally entertained each other pretty well without additional guests. But I have to say that this special event for my daughter hasn’t been much trouble. The kids may have stayed up a little later than normal, and they might have had two popsicles a piece, but that seems like a small price to pay. In exchange, I’ve gotten three chapters of a new book read, my dishwasher loaded and emptied, laundry folded and put away and thank you letters written. All of this was without a single interruption asking me to play the evil queen.

Before my daughter’s first sleepover, I was a little apprehensive. Now, bring on the guests! I’ll stock up on ice cream and Goldfish crackers. My daughter gets a friend to play with and mom gets a nice night to concentrate on my own activities. It’s definitely a win-win situation in this household.