Dear American Girl,
I'm scared to go to sleepovers. It's not because I feel homesick or nervous—it's because I still sleep with a stuffed animal. I just can't sleep without him! I'm afraid that my friends will laugh at me, but I'm missing out on all the sleepover fun. What should I do?
-I need my fuzzy friend
Here's your advice:
You shouldn't be scared to bring your stuffed animal. Lots of girls have stuffed animals, blankets, or something else to cuddle with at night. If these girls are your real friends, they won't make fun of you.
-Corinne, age 12, Virginia
If you feel embarrassed to have your stuffed animal at a sleepover, roll him up in your sleeping bag. When you go to sleep, pull out your fuzzy friend.
-Ellery, age 10, Minnesota
If someone says something about your stuffed animal, just say, "What's the big deal?" and move on. Try to relax and enjoy the party!
-Isabelle, age 12, California
Your friends might not laugh. I sleep with a stuffed animal, and I've never been teased about it. One time at camp, we rode our horses to a campsite to spend a night under the stars. Everyone (even the counselors) brought stuffed animals!
-Genny, age 13, Pennsylvania
You should take your stuffed animal to a slumber party. Who cares if you still sleep with a stuffed animal? He makes you feel comfortable and happy, and that's all that matters.
-Haley, age 12, Georgia
Throw a slumber party at your house, and tell each girl to bring her favorite stuffed animal. That way, you won't be the only one with a fuzzy friend!
-Olivia, age 10, New Jersey
When you go to a sleepover, walk in with your stuffed animal and your head held high. If a girl says something unkind, say, "So what if I have a stuffed animal? He's awesome! And I'm sure you have one at home."
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Illinois
Instead of taking your stuffed animal to a sleepover full of girls, start small. Invite one of your closest friends to your house to spend the night, where you feel more comfortable sleeping with a stuffed animal. Then you can work your way up to a sleepover with more friends.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, Pennsylvania
When you go to a sleepover, you should be able to be yourself around your friends. If you think that these girls will be mean to you, maybe you shouldn't spend the night.
-Anna, age 12, Missouri
If these girls tease you about your stuffed animal, just smile and explain why he is special to you. That might help them understand.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Massachusetts
If you end up feeling too embarrassed to bring your stuffed animal, try to cuddle with something else, such as a pillow or a thick blanket.
-Alyssa, age 12, Wisconsin
When I go to sleepovers, it's actually cool to bring stuffed animals. We match our stuffed animals to our sleeping bags and pajamas, and we all look really cute!
-Zoe, age 11, North Carolina
Make a joke out of it. If someone teases you, you could say something such as, "Yep! Pete and I are glued together."
-An American Girl fan, age 12, California
This might be a good friendship test. If your friends are mean to you about your stuffed animal, it could be time to rethink those friendships. If these girls don't make a big deal out of it, they're probably true friends.
-Bianca, age 9, Washington
I have a blanket with ducks on it that I can't sleep without. Last year when I went to camp, I brought my blanket with me. I just didn't bring it up as a topic of conversation. It worked for me!
-An American Girl fan, age 12, Utah
Bring your stuffed animal, and even if someone does say something, respond kindly and calmly. Chances are, if you don't bring attention to your stuffed animal, your friends might not either.
-Amanda, age 12, California
I'm 12, and I still sleep with a little stuffed dog. I used to worry that my friends would laugh at me. Then one day, I went to a sleepover and found out I was wrong. I wasn't the only one who had brought a bedtime buddy. It made me feel a whole lot better, and I realized that no matter how old I get, I'm never too old to be myself.
-Emily, age 12, New Jersey