Your 6 1/2-year-old: Sleepovers

Your 6 1/2-year-old: Sleepovers

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Your 6-year-old now

Preparing for a sleepover party will help ensure your child's safety and reduce your odds of getting a homesick phone call at 2 a.m. Talk with the friend's parents ahead of time. Ask about any movies the kids might watch or activities they have planned to make sure they're appropriate. You may even want to ask about guns in the house – any weapons should be locked away out of kids' reach. Let your child know what to expect. The other parents will appreciate a heads-up if your child has eating quirks or is nervous about spending the night.

Pack some comfort items, such as a favorite stuffed animal or blanket. Let your child know when you'll pick him up in the morning. Some parents like to stress that if he needs you to, you can come get him at any time. Know your child. Phone calls just before bedtime may comfort some kids, but they may make others homesick.

If your child is reluctant, you can start with a sleepover at a close relative's house, someone your son is already comfortable with. Or try an "almost sleepover." Take him to a friend's, clad in his jammies, for a movie and popcorn. Then pick him up around 9 or 10 p.m. He gets the fun and gets to sleep in his own bed.

Your life now

Getting involved with your child's school is a great way to telegraph that you care about academics – and about your child. Most schools offer a myriad of ways to be involved, from parent-teacher association committees to assisting the teacher with various projects or ongoing special programs. Even if your work schedule doesn't permit you to spend hours in the class, try to show up for performances or parties once or twice in the year.

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