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What To Pack for Your Child’s Sleepover (It’s Probably Less Than You Think)

Everyone loves a sleepover. The kids are abuzz with excitement, and parents are equally happy to have the house to themselves for some quiet time. But before you get the party started, you’ll have to pack for said sleepover and prepare your child for a night without you. Naturally, a little panic might set in. As your child’s entire bedtime routine flashes before your eyes, a giant suitcase might sound like a good plan. 

While getting your child ready for –– well, anything –– is never as easy as it seems, the good news is you don’t have to fit the entirety of their possessions into one bag. Rest assured that your kid will be just fine without all “the stuff.” A few essentials should suffice. Your only job is to make sure they have the things they need to get through the night and get some sleep. 

Ideally, you should pack a small bag that your child can handle, while remembering it’s only for one night (so, skip the luggage, a backpack should be just fine). One of the best ways to figure out what to pack in that backpack is to make either a written or mental list as you run through their bedtime routine in the evenings leading up to the sleepover. 

If you’re still unsure what to pack for a sleepover after this exercise, we’ve rounded up a list of essentials for you to include.

Sleeping Bag

Even if the host family has an extra bed for sleepovers, it’s still a good idea to pack a sleeping bag for your child. Not only does it give them another option for sleeping arrangements, but sleeping bags also make great blankets if your little one gets chilly during the night.

Pajamas

Of course, pajamas are non-negotiable. In this case, a sleepover in an unfamiliar place is not the time to try anything new. Be sure to pack your child’s favorite jammies so they’ll be as comfortable as possible.

Change of Clothes

When the shenanigans begin, there’s no telling what can happen, so make sure your little one is prepared with a change of clothes. In addition to accounting for accidents and spills, it ensures they’ll have a fresh outfit for the next morning. And, when you’re picking an outfit, make sure to pack pieces that they can handle on their own.

Small Snack

This might seem a bit odd, as most parents will expect the host family to provide food and snacks. But packing a small snack is a good idea for a few reasons. 

First, if you ask around, most parents will probably tell you that their kids don’t eat, let alone sit still for a meal when there’s too much excitement and activity going on. Chances are, they’ll be too caught up in the fun to focus on eating — there’s just so much to do! 

Second, there’s no telling if your little one will like what’s being served. If your child is a picky eater, sending them over with a snack ensures that the host parents don’t have extra work on their plate (see what we did there?) by having to make another meal for your child. 

And, finally, the gang will probably be up way past their bedtime, so sending a snack that your little one can dive into or even share in the wee hours, is never a bad idea.

Blanket or Plush Toy

Sleeping in a strange environment is difficult for anyone, and it certainly might be for your little one. So if your toddler is off to a sleepover, be sure to pack their favorite blanket or teddy. Keep in mind that while these items may be completely acceptable at a certain age, navigating this situation may be a little trickier if your kids are older. 

In this case, you may want to talk to your child to get a feel for what he or she wants to do. For example, if he wants to bring along his blanket but is concerned about what others might say, then consider tucking it into his bag and letting him take it out at his own discretion. 

Toothbrush/Toothpaste

Don’t forget to pack your little one’s toothbrush and a small container of toothpaste. They will undoubtedly need the items as they’re getting ready for the next day, and the host family should not be expected to provide extra toothbrushes.

Hairbrush/Comb

Like a toothbrush, your child will need a hairbrush or comb when they’re getting ready in the morning. So, don’t forget to pack these essentials along with any other accessories like clips, hair ties, etc.

Tablet, Phone, Phone Chargers 

If your child is old enough for phones and other tech gear, be sure to pack those items and their accessories in their bag. Your kid’s phone will ensure that you have access to each other, and a tablet that’s loaded with games can be fun for everyone. For the little ones, who need a little help drifting off in a new place, don’t forget that their tech gives them access to the Moshi app; they can always tune in if they’re finding it hard to fall asleep in a new place.

Exchange Information/Medication

Before you leave your child for the evening, be sure that the host family has all of your information; exchange phone numbers, and be sure to give them your address too. Additionally, be sure to discuss any allergies your child may have and medication they may need, such as inhalers or EpiPens. In the case of medication, do not pack those in your child’s bag; instead, give them directly to the host parents, so they know exactly where it is if an emergency arises. 

Sleepovers are fun for everyone, but don’t let the stress of packing rain on your (or your child’s) parade. Keep it simple, stick to the essentials, and use this checklist as a guide so you don’t go overboard.


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Sharon Brandwein is a writer specializing in all things parenting. Her work has also appeared on ABCNews, Motherly, and, Scary Mommy, and Parents. When she’s not busy curating a wardrobe for her puppy, you can find her writing about motherhood, among other things, on SharonBrandwein.com, and of course right here on Moshi.
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