At the beginning of this year one of our set goals was to work towards achieving sleep over success. Even just the thought of seriously suggesting it seemed surreal considering all the sleep issues we’ve experienced.
A lot of time, planning and processes have been practiced, like most of our major milestones, in order to achieve the end game. Patiently progressing step by step and picking the right time to pounce has increased our possibility of a positive outcome.
Grade six camp was on the cards for Madi so it was time to put some proper procedures in place and dare to dream.
Our plan was to host Madi’s best friend overnight and then for Madi to stay with their family the following week to practice and prepare for camp.
Over the past few years, we’ve conducted accompanied play dates at both family homes, gradually increasing the amount of play time and seeing each other on a regular basis.
Once both kids and parents felt comfortable, we then progressed to unaccompanied play dates adopting the same approach.
With an actual timeline to work towards, dates were set pre camp to attempt our very first sleep overs.
We initially decided to kick things off at approximately 5pm to allow a few hours of play and relaxation before bed and enjoy another few hour’s the following day aiming to finish up around 12pm.
We didn’t want Madi to feel too overwhelmed and thought similar amounts of time as playdates each day would be attainable.
There was lots of verbal preparation leading up to the day and our regular fun activities planned to create structure and routine to comfortably occupy the time.
Our self-imposed guide lines are completely flexible depending on how the situation pans out but we always feel better to have a plan in place to avoid additional anxieties.
We were obviously still anxious about the outcome. Wondering what time Madi would go to sleep, if she’d wake up through the night or experience a meltdown but she genuinely seemed excited.
Madi’s best friend is so understanding and completely capable and her mum reads more books about autism than me. We were all fully prepared and as ready as we were going to be.
The sleep overs were an overwhelming success and camp could not have gone better. Madi happily slept on a top bunk bed in the girl’s dorm for 3 consecutive nights drama free!
We also achieved some success with Thomas’s best mates sleeping over at our house for the very first time. A lot more time, effort and interest from Thomas is required to expand his socialising to achieve an unaccompanied play date at a friend’s house in the future. That will become our next goal to work towards.
We’re so blessed and incredibly grateful to the families that have supported us and helped us to achieve our sleep over dreams. Another occasion that at one stage we thought would never happen, just did!