When is the right age for kids to have sleepovers? Now, we are not talking a famous pop star inviting Vivien to his big ranch. Nice kid, nice family. Do you let your kids have sleepovers? Either at your house or elsewhere?

My niece was 6 when she had sleepovers with Vivien. She would arrive quite bravely with her little suitcase and never had a qualm. But then I’m her aunt, so I think there are different rules. But should there be?

11 thoughts on “Sleepover

  1. my oldest, who’ll be 10 in december, started doing sleepovers in kindergarten… probably right around her 6th birthday. she was a champion at it, since she’d been doing them with grandparents, aunties, and our friends since she was a baby. She actually got a lot of last minute overnight invites, as other kids would bail out at the last minute… we always let her go, it was a night off for us and we could go out! I think they would have started sooner if she’d gone to preschool, but she was in full time daycare and the relationships are different there than in school.

    I think that if she really wants to do it, and you’re comfortable with the family, let her. If she decides to bail just as she’s being tucked in, so what? She can call and you can go pick her up.. no big deal.

  2. I’ve already decided on 10. I think it was a random decision ever since she came home from pre-school saying her friends wanted sleepovers. It was just knee-jerk. Wonder why? I’m perfectly fine with family though — grandma’s house & cousins.

  3. keep them home! We do sleepovers but keep them special not the weekly norm. One every other month or so. And in that we REALLY have to know the family. I have said no lots of times and most parents and kids respect that decision. We let our 10 year olds and up stay to 10:00 or 12:00. But then home safe and sound.
    It is a crazy world, I want my kids in our house when the night is done.

  4. I’m a onetime crime reporter and this colors my perspective a little on the issue of sleepovers. Happy my son’s only two and I don’t need to address this one for a while. In the course of my work, I’ve seen a lot of bad things happen to sweet kids while they were on sleepovers with “good families”. One good family let their 8-year-old and her sleepover friend doorknock the neighborhood unaccompanied selling raffle tickets. Four hours later their bodies were found in the dunes. Another good family didn’t keep tabs on their children nor the sleepover friend while they were swimming. A good mother after a few glasses of wine put her child and a sleepover friend in the car and failed to ensure all on board were wearing seatbelts. And so many good fathers did the unthinkable to sleepover friends, male and female. So, before sending your child, whatever their age, off for a sleepover, be asking yourself: “How well do I know this family, really? And is my child old enough and perceptive enough to identify a potentially unsafe situation and to do what they need to do to stay out of harm’s way?”

  5. okay Momshell, that just threw some big cold water on this. I was thinking I could hang out till bed time so that she wouldn’t be afraid as we live close. Of course isn’t usually family members that do the molesting?


  6. Since our kids are the same age (and in the same class, of course!), I’ll throw in my two cents.

    We started thinking about this six months or so ago, so I decided to look on Google to find what people’s general “starting age” was for sleepovers. I was surprised to find all manner of alarming paranoia among various sites about sleepovers. There was one parent who wouldn’t even let her teenagers even sleep over at a friend’s. A lot of the alarm was of the type that Momshell unloaded.

    We, however, know that you can find any evidence on the internet to support or refute a given position. Our friends whom we’ve known for years, and whose kids we’ve known for years? Hell yeah, we can do reciprocal sleepovers — just as soon as the kids are ready. Other kids, with families whose parents we don’t know? That’ll wait a little longer, until we reach an age (6 or 7) where we can explain ground rules for her (about body privacy, safety, etc.) and have her feel comfortable with the sleepover experience because she’ll have already done it with those close group of her/our friends.

    So, long story short: At 4.5 years now, we think we as parents are just about ready for her first overnight with her best friends (whose parents are good friends of ours). She’s out of diapers, doesn’t wet the bed, handles babysitters fine, doesn’t freak out in different places to sleep (hotels, grandma’s house, etc.) — so she’s pretty ready, too. By kindergarten next fall, we’re looking forward to these being more regular events.

  7. Hmm, trying hard to think when I let my kids do the sleep over thing… My twin girls are 12 now and have been doing it for about 3 years now.. So nine…

    At nine I with some paranoia let them sleep over at a friends house (provided I knew their parents for a few years) and all was fine. Usually a birthday sleep over party..

    Thus became my game plan on sleepovers. If I know and respect and have a relationship with the child’s parents I will let them sleep over night (or have them here,,) If I do NOT know the parents or have not heard glowing things about them I will find some excuse (with a dash of parental acting) find some reason why they cannot go.. For some reason they will enjoy and accept. (“But I had hoped to take you shopping/for lunch/ for ice cream/ for whatever!)

    A loving mothers intuition is usually a fine tuned thing. Just go with your instincts. My preference is that sleep overs are here as then I know where my kids are and what they are up to..

    But if a friend or family member invites for them the night and I trust them? See you in the morning kidlets!! 😉

  8. Thanks Mike. I think we are on the same page with this. She only asks to have sleep overs with her cousin and her best friend so far. I mean it’s not like she is sleeping all over the place, you now! 😉

    With a baby in the house frankly, I ‘d rather Viv go elsewhere for the sleep over. next year I will be more capable..and rested.

  9. I think whatever age they understand that they will not be coming home until morning and know how to act in your absence is fine. Both of my girls were about 9.

  10. Yeah speaking from personal experience. It doesn’t matter where the sleepovers happen… b/c not only is there the matter of molestation but if a child has already been molested (meaning her friends) That will definitely pour out into her life as well if they are left alone… My sleepovers started early, like 7 years old. But my parents always made them be at my house. I wasn’t allowed to sleep over at other people’s houses—i guess b/c my parent’s were pastors and kinda new the problems other people had (idk) anyway.

    Not only is it a good idea to have it at your own house but it’s also good to monitor them all the time and really plan it out. Make sure there is no room for anything weird to happen.

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