Roundtable Discussion – Sleepovers

1 Nov

Out of the blue the other day, my almost-5-year-old son said to his friend, “When I turn 6, will you come to my house for a sleepover?”

It kind of surprised me.  We’ve never really talked about sleepovers – well, I might have mentioned them once or twice, but it was just in passing, and I always put them off for “when you’re older.”  I wasn’t even sure he had an interest in them until this question popped up.  (I guess he decided that 6 was the magical “older” age!)

My husband said he thought it was a great idea – in fact, why wait?  But I have to admit, I’m not so sure about it.  Would another kid this age even want to stay at our house all night?  I’m not sure my son would want to stay anywhere else but home.  And what about the parents?  Is anyone willing to part with their little ones this young, trusting them for an entire night to someone else?

I’d love to hear from some parents with older kids.  At what age did you start letting your kids have sleepovers?  Did it turn out fun, or (gulp!) traumatic??

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3 Responses to “Roundtable Discussion – Sleepovers”

  1. Katrina November 2, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    When I was a child I got into some awkward situations doing sleepovers with children I did not know that well so I came up with some guidelines for my children.

    1. My children had several “fall-asleep-overs” befor they had sleepovers. I took them to the house of some good friends who had children the same age as ours. We told them they would fall asleep with their friends and when they woke up they would be snug in their own beds. Then, my husband and I went on a nice long well-deserved date. We picked them up later, gently got them out of bed took them home and slipped them into bed at home. Of course they had done almost the same thing many times when friends or family would babysit them for us but calling it a “fall-asleep-over” made it feel like a whole new grown up thing. We did this when they were four or five.

    2. Their first “official” sleepover had to be with a family that I knew very well. I chose a relative or friend who had children the same age as my children. My children were each about 5 or 6 for their first sleepover.

    3. My children were not allowed to sleepover at the house of a friend whose parents I didn’t know until they proved to me that they were old enough and responsible to dial a telephone and call home. They were instructed that if anything made them uncomfortable they were to call home and we would come get them immediately. One of my children called home once because the parents got into a physical fight with each other. I instructed him to call 911 immediately. That’s another thing, they need to be old enough to know when and how to call 911. My kids were 10 or 11 before they had this kind of sleepover and then only if it was a party with several children spending the night.

    i know I may seem a little paranoid but it is impossible to know what kind of environment your child is going into and I did not want mine to end up in scary situations like I had when I was a child.

    Oh and by the way, mixed gender sleep overs were discouraged after the age of eight.

  2. Tanya November 2, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    So far, my 7.5 year old has only ever slept away from us at my parents house. Usually, there are also a few cousins involved and they call them “slumber parties.” I’m still on the fence on when it’s going to be time to allow her to attend slumber parties for real. I do think a few test runs at other relatives, or friends as close as relatives, houses first.

    Katrina… I don’t think you’re being paranoid at all. My first non-relative sleepover was at 12. I know times have changed… but that still seems reasonable to me. I also know that I’m likely going to need to compromise a bit. But, there is no way I’d let her go to a slumber party or even one/two kid sleepover right now. And I know that there has already been one with some girls in her grade this year. Granted, they’ve all been buddies from preK to now in 2nd grade and the parents may be friends… but, I’m still not a fan.

    Oh, and needing an emergency overnight sitter is different… I suppose, technically, my daughter and a friend’s 2 daughters had some sleepevers recently… but my friend gave birth prematurely and was hospitalized and I was helping the family with the older kids – taking home a kid or two!! I did take a pic the first night, of the girls sleeping in my bed, since it was our first sleepover!!! LOL

  3. Lori November 2, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    So far, my girls (ages 3 & 5) have only been allowed to have “sleepovers” at my parents’ house. A couple of times, we have gone out of town with friends who have children, and they’ve had sleepovers in those cases, with all of the parents present as well. We have made some very fond memories in those times! Because of my past work, I am hesitant to allow my girls to spend the night at friends’ houses for a very long time! I like the idea of making sure the children know how/when to call 9-1-1 and being able to call home if necessary. As much as I adore my friends and their husbands, I’m just not ready to let my children out of my sight overnight with people who are not family! It’s tough though, because I know in the next coming years, the girls will be begging me to have sleepovers with friends! All I can really do is ensure ours is the “cool/fun” house everyone wants to stay at, and of course, not be offended if another mother says, no, their child can’t! I’m curious how other people have handled telling their children “no” when all of their friends are being allowed to spend the night?!! Oh and Katrina, I agree with you- I don’t think you CAN be TOO paranoid about this issue!

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