I know many parents who think they are protecting their kids by being the parent who HOSTS sleepovers. I mean nothing bad would ever happen in our OWN HOME… or could it? Sexual abuse can happen in your home, under your watch.
Most of the time the only “risk” at a sleepover is not getting any actual sleep. However, as adults, we are responsible for the safety of children and we need to make sure that we are paying attention to what is happening under our own roof, especially when we are caring for other peoples children.
Here are some simple, yet effective tips that will help keep the kids in your care at sleepovers even safer… even if no actual “sleep” occurs!
- Pay attention!Don’t send a child back to bed if they come to you and report that another child is doing something “weird” or they feel “uncomfortable!
- If child comes to you with a “stomach ache” may be more than a tummy ache. They may be scared and actually needing an excuse to go home. LET THEM CALL THEIR PARENT. Even if it is 3 in the morning…
- Don’t confiscate tween/teen cell phones at the door. If you do, you have just eliminated that child’s safety communication line (and potential “way out”) if they need to reach out to their parents.
- Let your kid know they can text YOU if they need for you suddenly “appear” so you can intervene ona risky situation (this way they won’t look like a tattle tale to their friends).
- Talk to YOUR KIDS about what to do if a friend comes to them at the sleepover with a problem or if they are scared. Kids will often turn to their friends first (before a parent) if they need help.
One of the biggest myths and overlooked red flags is the fact that children can (and do) molest other kids. Over 40% of predators are under the age of 18.