kids

Sleepover Anxiety

When I was young I loved the thought of a sleepover at a friend’s house, problem was that I rarely made it to the actual “sleepover” part. We would play and watch movies, but when it was time to actually get ready for bed something came over me. I didn’t feel right. My stomach would turn and a panic would start to set it. Now as an adult I realize that it was anxiety. It was pretty awful, and sometimes embarrassing. I remember telling my friend’s mom I had a sinus headache and needed to go home…I didn’t know what sinuses were! My poor parents would have to come and retrieve me and I would leave my friend disappointed and in tears. Sinus headaches seemed to my way out of any sleepover after that. It worked so well.

I eventually grew out of this. I remember being so proud of myself when I would make it a whole night at a friend’s house. But still, every time I packed my bag I would be in fear of one of these episodes happening again. I just couldn’t help it. I recall being very brave one weekend and I went camping for two whole nights with my friend and her parents. I can recall it like it was yesterday. It was the first time I actually drank an entire can of Coca-Cola. I think I was 9 or 10. On the second night I almost needed to be rescued, but I made it. After that I knew I could make it through any sleepover…and I did.

My nephew has the same sleepover anxiety issues I had as a kid. He wants to sleep over so badly, but by the time bedtime comes around he’s ready to go home. So we invited him over for a “sleepover without the sleepover.” No pressure here, just fun. We had pizza. We played hide and seek in the dark with glow-sticks. We had a balloon dance party. We painted. We watched a  movie and had popcorn, and we even indulged in a little chocolate. Before I knew it, my nephew was asking if I would make him a omlet in the morning because he LOVES them. “Absolutely!” I replied. Even though he was full of enthusiasm I was still on edge until he finally went to sleep. He did it. Not once did he say he was ready to go home. Not once did I see the look in his eyes that he was contemplating staying. He did it. I was overwhelmingly proud of him.

When he woke in the morning he was all smiles. “I did it! I told you I would!” he said. “Yes, you sure did!” I replied. He was beaming with pride and I remembered that feeling. Pure bliss. He accomplished his goal. My husband made a fabulous omelet and we all went on a hike. It was great way to end our “sleepover without the sleepover” with the sleepover.

7 thoughts on “Sleepover Anxiety

  1. That is so awesome! It can be really scary for a kid the first few times they do a sleepover. I loved them as a girl but was always a terror the next day from lack of sleep so my mom would always get that “I don’t know if it is a good idea” look in her eyes when I would beg to do a sleepover.

    PS – I would like to hear more about your balloon dance parties 😉

  2. Yikes, i’am 15 years old and i still strangely have this problem D: honestly im losing all hope, what should i do, getting picked up in tears is no longer an option as it would just be plain weird if a 15 year old boy had to be picked up. Be honest, medication? Maybe a shrink? I really need some help.

  3. I’m a 15 yr old girl with the same problem. I managed sleepovers okay as a little girl, but as I got older, I got really bad anxiety. I could hardly make it a whole school day and rarely did. I have generalized anxiety disorder. I’m supposed to spend the night at my grandparents’ house on Friday AND Saturday night! I’m so nervous even though I go to their house multiple times a week! I still have this problem and it’s gotten increasingly worse over the years.

    1. Kayla, I’m sorry to hear this. Believe me, I know that feeling you get in the pit of stomach and you just want to be home. Try psyching yourself up for it. Think about what you want to do Saturday morning with your grandparents. Make a great breakfast or something fun. Have that fun finish line envisioned sometimes helps. Don’t stress about it. Don’t be embarrassed by it. Good luck. Exercise might help too to release some of that anxiety. Maybe an after dinner walk or cartwheels in the backyard.

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