Monday, July 20, 2009


A while ago one of my good friends brought up the subject of children and sleepovers on her blog and there was a good debate with differing opinions on the subject. I appreciated that she brought up the topic because it gave my husband and I the opportunity to discuss a parenting issue that we had never talked about before. However, I have still found myself thinking about this a few times and would love to hear what other mothers think on the subject.

When I was growing up, I had frequent sleepovers at our house and at the homes of friends/family. I remember sleeping on the trampoline and loving staying up late. However, times have changed and to be honest I would not feel comfortable letting my own children sleep outside unless I was out there with them. I am also nervous about sleepovers. I can't help but think that although I may feel that I know the children/parents whose houses my children may be invited to sleepover at, I do not know their friends or outside influences that may enter their homes. I feel much better about the idea of letting my children have "late overs" where they go to friends' houses and are allowed to stay there late but not spend the night.

On the other hand, some may argue that we can't shelter our kids too much and that if we teach them right from wrong from the beginning that they will know to call us if anything goes wrong or if they feel uncomfortable. I could see myself letting my own children stay with certain family members and make some exceptions there, but overall I feel most comfortable with the thought of all my family being tucked into our own beds under the same roof at night.

What are your thoughts?
Will you allow your children to have sleepovers?

Only at a certain age?
Only with certain people?

Only with family?

Let us know what you think!


Merrill and Mary said...

I love the idea of a late over. I too don't know how comfortable I would be with sleepovers because it seems all the horror stories one hears about are at sleepovers. My husband and I thought that maybe we could make our house the "fun" house so we could have sleep overs here, but that was just a thought.

mistybown said...

I've talked to some moms who say they don't allow sleepovers until about age 8. I have a daughter who is 6 1/2 years old & she has had sleepovers with grandparents & cousins & with 1 girlfriend who lives next door.

I feel that if you really know the family and you know your child is comfortable there (my daughter would be connected to this girlfriends hip permanently if both sets of parents would allow it!) and you trust your child to talk to you then go ahead and allow it. If you don't know the family that well or you feel your child isn't comfortable there or you personally aren't comfortable at the home, then don't allow it.

I know that things are what they used to be and I also understand the "We shelter today's children too much." concept. I think that this is a personal decision, just like some of the other issues that have been discussed. You're the mom - go with your gut instinct because 9/10 times, it's right!

Jared and Delia said...

This world is not what it used to be and I don't think sleepovers outside of close family members is okay with me. I like the late over idea a lot. Most of the fun happens when you stay up late anyway. After the late night fun you are just sleeping and then going home in the morning so kids wouldn't miss much this way.

Maybe I will change my mind when my kids get older, but for now that is how I feel. I don't feel like this is sheltering at all. Cousins are like super friends and they can get the full sleep over experience with them in a home you trust.

What a good topic to consider. Thanks Kelly.

Diane said...

I had sleep overs all the time growing up, my hubby didn't. We've talked about this topic a lot, and it's been interesting to consider our different backgrounds. (we both agree on no sleepovers)

I really like the late-over idea. My sister does that with her daughter (8 yrs old) and I think it's great. I would totally let my children stay over at their aunts and uncles, but other than that, even if you know the parents, you don't know what could happen. My cousin once told me of an 'almost' experience she had at a friends house (with one of the parents) who was in the ward. Also from my own experiences - living in Texas where I didn't have many Mormon friends - kids aren't always the best influences,(I think children do need freedom, but I would rather over-protect my children, than have something happen that could have been prevented. I think there are many other avenues in life for them to learn between good and bad or to deal with certain consequences. I also think there is a difference between 'over sheltering' our children, and protecting them from being acted upon by unwholesome people - but I think this is another topic.) I like what Delia said, once they go to bed, the fun is over anyway, so no big deal.

I've also told Neil a lot that I would love for our house to be the fun house...I would rather have a million kids over at my place, than not know what my own children are up to somewhere else.

Good topic! :)

Kaylyn said...

I loved a good sleepover when I was growing up. I didn't get to have one or good to one until I was 10 or older. I think I will let my child go but I will have to know the parents and make sure she is comfortable with it. It is a lot more scary now then when we grew up. Then again the dangers were just more hidden then.
I do also like the late night party idea because they still get to stay up late but don't have the sleeping somewhere else.

mistybown said...

I know I said this myself & I've heard a lot of other people say it & I'm TOTALLY not saying this is how it is, but: haven't we all heard of at least 1 instance where a child stayed with a family member & something happened that a parent never thought would? I think that with all our comments that the world isn't what it used to be, we need to remember that we don't always know how our loved ones (or their partners) will act in every situation.

Universitybabe said...

Okay, so I am not advocating sleepovers--in general I think they are scarry for a parent but I just had a thought in thinking about this-- what about personal revelation? We are entitled to revelation for our children. I think in general I will be limiting sleepovers to mostly the late night things but I am all for finding happy mediums with my children and trusting that Heavenly Father doesn't want the terrible things to happen to his children any more than I do and will help me and warn me when a situation might not be in the best interest of my child.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I like all these thoughts. :) It has given me a lot to stew about.... that's why I haven't made a comment, I've just been thinking a lot.

I am still undecided... I think I'll for sure let my little ones have sleepovers with cousins. As for other friends; I'm not sure. I had some really bad experiences with sleepovers. But I could see myself letting one of my kids sleep over at say... the bishops house or something if he/she was friends with one of his kids.

As a general rule I'm with University Babe, I think I will rarely (if ever) allow it. I like the personal revelation idea. :) I also like the lateovers as everyone has said.

I just have to say one thing. :) I think it is funny that everyone keeps talking about how they want to have "the fun house" (because I do too), but if everyone has the fun house then nobody will... hehe just kidding. Seriously though - just because I think it would be fun to have the kids playing at my house, doesn't mean that someone else out there isn't as wonderful a mom as I am and that she doesn't also have "the fun house." Make sense at all?

Jared and Delia said...

Yes...that makes a lot of sense. I think personal revelation is always important because how often have we heard of somebody's bishop or seminary teacher or even trusted family member falling prey to harming children? We have to stay close to the spirit and receiving revelation always, always. But we can ask for that guidance to help set standards for our kids as well. Kids might do better with a set all or nothing. Saying yes to some people and no at other times might not be as easy for kids to understand or appreciate as "this is the rule - always." YOu can always deviate as needed but you have a standard to start from.

Am I making sense?

Tannie Datwyler said...

Yes, Delia - I hadn't thought about that. Really good point! I like that.

Universitybabe said...

I agree Delia, but here is why I don't think I will set a hard and fast rule in sleepovers. I want to teach my children to 1. recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost in their lives and promptings that come. Sometimes, those promptings warn us about people and sometimes they confirm that people are good. 2. I want my children to come and TALK with me about their concerns and feelings and I don't know that they will let me know what is going on with their friends if I slam all doors shut from day one. Plus this gives me leverage to negotiate what time to pick them up from a late night. 3. I think my children need the compromising and problem solving skills that talking though and finding a solution that we can both be happy with will bring. I like to give my children as much control over their lives as I can and allowing them to find a happy solution puts ownership in their hands instead of me dictating their lives. That being said I am the parent and will lay down the law if I have to but it is more rewarding for both the kids and I to figure out a way to live standards together. I won't always have control over their lives and I am hoping to teach them correct principals so that they can govern themselves when they are no longer under my thumb. I hope that will result in a lot less rebellion from them and a lot less heartache for me.

Universitybabe said...

I love what you said about using the spirit to set the standards we live by, thanks for your insight Delia, lots more to think about.

Megan said...

I hadn't though of this and was talking to my husband last night and he kind of said the same thing as Universitybabe in regards to finding compromises and living the standards together. I had tons of sleepovers growing up and never had a problem, but with a lot of things out in the open now it makes me nervous. I love the idea of the late nights like everyone else.