37 answers

First Sleepover : / What Is a Mom to Do?

My 6 year old daughter was invited to a sleepover which will be in a few weeks. I am very hesitant to let her go! NO, I'm not one the those mothers who keeps her child in a bubble, but I do teach at the same school that she attends and am not sure that this particular little friend is the best choice for a sleepover! I wouldn't mind if she goes to the party but as for a sleepover I'm leaning on the "no" side! When did you feel comfortable letting your child go to a sleepover? I'm very unsure with the world the way it is to let her go anywhere without family or close friends. I can't very well question the little girl's mother without worries that she may feel judged since I work at the same school, but I don't want my daughter punished for my fears! Any good advice would be greatly apperciated!

What can I do next?

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I have three girls, now 14, 19 & 21. I think 6 is a little young for a sleepover. I would allow her to go the "party" until 10 or so, and then pick her up. That way, she has got to spend time with her friends and you are not the bad guy. My girls started true slumber parties in 3rd grade, and there isn't a weekend that goes by that I don't have at least 8, last weekend 17 spent the night!! :) Love it, and love knowing where they are! I have a feeling you won't be the only parent who doesn't let their child stay.

2 moms found this helpful

Dear J.,
Unless you know the family well that has invited her, I myself would advise you not to let her go.
Or you could just let her go for the evening, maybe until 10 or so, and then pick her up.
That is what I did for my granddaughter last year.
As for you "judging" her mother, you have every right to know exactly what environment she will be in.
And, if it does not jibe with what you feel is appropriate, then so be it.
Better safe than sorry.

1 mom found this helpful

Let her go, She may have the time of her life. Or by bedtime she may be calling you to pick her up. If she does, thats ok, sometimes it takes several sleep overs for a child to get used to being away from home.

1 mom found this helpful

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You are exactly right to feel protective....and it is good to have your standards and stick with them. Others may not agree with you...that is their choice! You don't need to apologize for not allowing your daughter to participate in the sleepover. Giving made-up reasons is not being honest...such as saying your family is going out of town. There may be another similar invitation to deal with down the road. So, be honest and direct with the mother..."we do not participate in sleepovers." If you and your daughter feel inclined, send a small gift. It is o.k. for your daughter to learn at a young age, "I can say No"..."I don't have to do everything others ask...especially when there's a question of safety!" After the initial disappointment has worn off, you may find out that you have relieved your daughter of fears and anxiety. This is a great teaching moment!

3 moms found this helpful

I have three girls, now 14, 19 & 21. I think 6 is a little young for a sleepover. I would allow her to go the "party" until 10 or so, and then pick her up. That way, she has got to spend time with her friends and you are not the bad guy. My girls started true slumber parties in 3rd grade, and there isn't a weekend that goes by that I don't have at least 8, last weekend 17 spent the night!! :) Love it, and love knowing where they are! I have a feeling you won't be the only parent who doesn't let their child stay.

2 moms found this helpful

That is about the age my 11y.o. daughter was asked to her first sleepover. I will say, sleepovers are a common occurance in this day and age...I've told my daughter I can remember 2, maybe 3 slumber partied I went to in my youth - and she gets invited to 1-2 "slumber parties" (more than 1 girl)a month.
I have on a couple occassions told our daughter that she can go for the evening festivities and picked her up as late as 11pm. (esp. at this age) She also knows if for ANY reason, she wants to come home, she just needs to call us and we will be there immediatly.
She knows our ground rules...and she learned them at a young age...a parent MUST be in the home, (no older sibling in charge)and no sleepovers in a home where there may be a male IN THE HOME that is not related to the family. There is one family we deal with and mom has "rotating" men in her life - luckily, I am not the only parent feeling this way, and the mother has been asked by us on slumber party nights to have no "friends" in the house, and she has obliged. Also, at that particular home, our daughter can only go if it is a party - not by herself. I ALWAYS call and talk to a parent if I feel the need or have any ?'s - and have never felt like they were insulted in any way. Responsible parents understand our caution in todays world.
It is a great time to socialize, make friends, gain confidence in ones' self, and just have fun. BUT ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! I am willing to bet that there are other moms feeling just like you...and there may be more than 1 mom picking their daughter up before bedtime - esp. at this young age. Good luck, and trust in yourself! S.
PS Has your daughter ever had a friend over to her house to sleep - that is a great way yo introduce the whole event?

2 moms found this helpful

hey J....

I don't know what ya do... but...because of this day and age and PEOPLE in general... how well do you know the parents?...how about the Male members of the household... are they close friends...

my girlfriend has 12yr, 8yr, and 3yr... NO Sleepovers !!...just house rule due to todays Society...and you never know what may be lurking in "sheeps clothing".....

I am Single Mom of a 4yr old and 2yr old. My daughters have had plenty of sleepovers...but with all Female households or my immediate family.

Just another thing to think about in todays world.

Good Luck... E.

1 mom found this helpful

Go with your gut. If you feel this is not a place for her to stay all night, make other plans that your daughter will prefer and do that instead. If you have time, plan a get together with the parents. A night out with some other parents from the same class and get to know them so that, in the future, you will feel better about the time they are together or know for sure that this is not where you want her to be but have a solid reason for it. The more you know about the family and their beliefs the more comfortable you will feel about what you decide...
Best of Luck!!!
I still use this logic and my daughter is 17. But, I feel much better when she does go with families for weeks at time and out of the country.....

1 mom found this helpful

Trust your feelings.
My mother never let me or my sister stay with a family that she didn't trust completely. If she didn't know them personally she would ask around and if she heard one bad word the answer was NO. She also worked at school so she had a broad base on who to ash about other families.
Honestly most sleepovers were here at our house. Then my mother got to know the girls better.

1 mom found this helpful

Let her go, She may have the time of her life. Or by bedtime she may be calling you to pick her up. If she does, thats ok, sometimes it takes several sleep overs for a child to get used to being away from home.

1 mom found this helpful

J., I am a way old Mom with adult children, but I don't think the world has changed So much that your instincts are not dead on! I believe that six years old is just too young for a sleepover...regardless of the situation. And if you do too, that is all you need to say to the mother and your daughter when you RSVP.If your daughter can still be cool with just going to the party and not sleeping over...then fine. Just tell her how much fun it will be when she finally gets to have her first sleepover.(And you'll be in charge!) K.

1 mom found this helpful

It depends on how well you know the family. Have you ever been to their home? Is this someone that you socialize with outside of school? How far from home will the child be? Has your child ever had a play date with this child? Was the play date at your home or theirs? How well do the girls play together. Is this a slumber party where other children will be there? What other children will be there and does your child get along with them. These are all questions that you should ask yourself. If you have any reservations, try talking to some Mom's of children who have spent the night there before. If it is a slumberparty, talk to the other Mom's of the children that are also going. Still have reservations, maybe you could ask the Mom if you could meet her, or come over to her home for a playdate for a couple of hours with your daughter and get a feel for the situtation. Then you will be able to make your best and most informed decision. Good Luck, and I hope your daughter gets to spend the night, who knows, maybe she will want to come home at 2 a.m. like mine did the first time...lol

1 mom found this helpful

Just say "No!" Follow your gut.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think there is anything wrong with how you are feeling. You definitely must have some background on the family and your gut is telling you it's not a good idea yet, listen to it. Besides six is really young to be having a sleep over especially at a house that is not family or practically family. At this age your excuse is legitamit, you just don't think she is ready for a sleep over yet but she would love to attend the party.
Good Luck.
M.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a 14 year old and a 5 year old....both girls. I wouldn't let either one attend a sleepover at friends homes until they were 9 or 10 years old. In my opinion....6 is too young. Unless the person was a very close friend of yours or a family member....I just wouldn't feel comfortable letting my 6 year old stay over night....(This comes from an extremely liberal mother too)

Until they reach an age where they are able to call you on the phone or capable of accessing emergency services....I personally just wouldn't feel comfortable...

Tell the mother that you really appreciate her invitation but that your daughter can't spend the night...( you don't owe her an explanation) if she asks....just tell her it has nothing to do with her but that it is a personal/private matter.

Good Luck.
R.

1 mom found this helpful

J. -

Follow your instincts. If you aren't going to be there, and aren't sure your daughter is going to have good supervision, don't make it her first sleepover. Wait until you have a circumstance, with a trusted friend or a family member, to have your daughter try out this new experience. In the meantime, just explain to her and the person making the invitation that this isn't part of her social repertoire just yet.

A.

1 mom found this helpful

Well I have two opinions on this.
First if your daughter is independent enough to sleep over with out needing to be brought home in the middle of the night then I don't thin 6 is to young. It depends on the child though. My daughter has to go to her fathers one weekend a month and when she was 3-4 she had a hard time with it. When she was 5 or 6 years old she was independent enough to go, spend the weekend with him with out crying and enjoy herself. On a side note she DOSE NOT like her father and I insist that she be respectful to him while she is with him. If it were up to her she wouldn't see him.

Second if you are uncomfortable with this child then DO NOT let your daughter go!! As an alternative why don't you plan a family activity for that night and offer to have some other friends over to your house on another night for a sleep over or just for a girl party.

I think it would be hard to let her go to the party and then have to come home while the other girls are staying the night there.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the previous posters, follow your gut instinct. If you felt completely comfortable with the family's house, that would be different. I think letting her go to the party is fine, but there is no reason she has to sleep over. Maybe let her stay a little after her usual bedtime, unless she already has an unusually late bedtime. She will be so tired, she'll know she's ONLY missing the sleep part. Just tell the mom that you don't allow sleepovers at this age.

1 mom found this helpful

I say always go with your gut instinct. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it!

1 mom found this helpful

you have a right to be concerned about your 6yr. old going to a sleepover. afterall there is alot of stuffing happening to are kids now adays. My kids are grown up and moved out but, i didn't let them go to any sleep over at that age.I would suggest you go with your gut instincts and do the mother bear protecting her cub thing. That shows you are among one of the moms who really care about their kids. From a loving mom

1 mom found this helpful

J.,
I am right with you. I have 5 & 7 year old daughters (and a little guy)who were invited to their first sleepover this year. They were so excited about it but I had definite concerns. It was at the house of a girl from their playgroup that we've known for 2 years. I didn't have concerns about their family but I am hypersensitive about dads being there, etc. My husband didn't want them to go. I ended up volunteering to help and spend the night. The girls had a lot of fun but we did talk about staying together, not showing/touching anyone's privates, how to call home, etc. I didn't want to scare them but to me it is just not realistic to trust that everyone is safe. They have spent the night at another playgroup friend's since then. I did feel better that there were two of them. I also reciprocated the sleepover at our house. I actually think these kids are pretty young to do this (some were 4). I'd always error on the side of caution, particularly if you don't know the family well. Maybe make a deal where your daughter could go play for a while (even with you along) but not spend the night. I know it's hard but sometimes you just have to trust your gut. I wouldn't let hurting someone's feelings make you go against your own judgement...you can do it in a kind way.

Good luck!
K.

1 mom found this helpful

I am pleased to see that I am in agreement with almost all the responses. Six is simply too young for a sleepover party. You are CLEARLY not the only one who feels this way and I would bet that not all the invitees are going to sleep over either. One mom suggested letting her go to the party part and pick her up later, maybe 8pm, or so. I love giving my kids choices, for example, " You have a choice. You can go to your friend's party and I will pick you up at 8pm or you can skip the party altogether. Which one do you prefer?" I assure you that your daughter will not drop a notch in the popularity scale. Fifth grade is a decent time to start going to sleepovers and that's when they start to get fun for the girls (my oldest is 15). Get to know your children's friends' parents and as you are the decision-maker for your child, you are allowed to judge.

1 mom found this helpful

I understand why everyone is telling you to trust your gut, but at the same time don;t you think you might be suffering from a bit of a "momma bear" type mentality? We all do it, its just how far you take it that makes a difference.

I used to have sleep overs all the time when I was little, every birthday I would invite 6-10 of my little friends over. So would my sister. Its something girls do, female bonding at a young age. And they are some very fond memories, both at my house and the other sleepovers. Most dads of other girls are no where to be found when you have 10 screaming little girls around, if thats part of your problem.

So before you say no, I only ask that you really spend some time asking yourself why it is that you feel so uncomfortable. Have you heard some kind of rumor that their parents are drinkers, smokers or horrible parents? Is it really ok for you to judge that if you don't personally know the people? Don't you think to be fair to your daughter you might want to call and talk to the other girls parents, see what is on the agenda for the night? My dad never let us go anywhere without driving over and speaking to the adult in charge or calling and talking to them, even when I was 16 he still did that.

So use precaution, look inside and decide why you feel the way you do, if there is a real basis for it (you haven't given us much of a reason why you think this is a bad thing?) and talk to this girls parents. I understand your concern, my son has asthma and I worry about his first sleepover and will this person parents be able to handle him and his meds ok, but at the same time you can't restrict them.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear J.,
Unless you know the family well that has invited her, I myself would advise you not to let her go.
Or you could just let her go for the evening, maybe until 10 or so, and then pick her up.
That is what I did for my granddaughter last year.
As for you "judging" her mother, you have every right to know exactly what environment she will be in.
And, if it does not jibe with what you feel is appropriate, then so be it.
Better safe than sorry.

1 mom found this helpful

As a mom of an 8 yr old wonderful little girl, i would go with your gut.. If you do not feel the enviornment is unsuitable, better safe than sorry. You can never be too careful when it comes to your children- esp. Today!!!

1 mom found this helpful

You are a wise mother. Go with your gut feeling and you won't be sorry. Having been in that situation, you have some options that will work well. Either let her go to the party and then pick her up in an hour or so, or plan something else that evening as a family that will be great fun for her. Remember, you aren't punishing her for your fears. You have been given a priceless treasure - protect it well.

1 mom found this helpful

I can relate to your concerns. The bottom line is to trust your instincts. If you can't confidently ask questions of the mom who will be responsible for your child overnight, then you probably have your answer. Go with your gut. You could suggest a "pretend sleepover" where the kids have all the pre-sleeping fun of a sleepover in pj's and all. But when it's bedtime, your daughter goes home to sleep in her own bed. Hope this helps. They really do grow up soon enough, enjoy:)

1 mom found this helpful

I will preface my opinion on this by telling you what my husband just found out about the neighbors he lived next door to as a child. These neighbors were close friends with his family, and my husband's parents trusted them and appreciated their friendship. These were the type of people who they borrowed flour from and let their kids play with all day everyday. My husband and I recently found out that the father of this family who they knew and loved was actually a child molester. This has come as a total shock, as the family were close friends with the family of my husband's.

My husband and I discussed this at great length and made a decision that in this crazy world we live in, there are other ways that our children can have fun besides sleepovers. For our children, sleepovers will be reserved for cousins, grandmas and grandpas, etc., but not friends. While there are definitely some friends that we trust wholeheartedly, it is better to make a general policy so as not to offend by saying you feel comfortable with one family but not comfortable with another. There are so many dangers nowadays that were not around when we were growing up. Think of the media alone. Many wonderful families have varying levels of comfort when it comes to what is shown in movies, in internet, and in video games. That is just the beginning. You do not need to feel overprotective or apologetic for protecting your children. That is your responsibility as a parent.

1 mom found this helpful

Don't do anything if you are not 100% comfortable. Your child's safety and well being is your number one concern.

1 mom found this helpful

I use this method with a lot of decision (like this one) for my girls. Stop for 5 minutes and really think about it (pros/cons) then:

FOLLOW YOUR MOTHERLY INSTINCT: (this being different from just general gut feeling, of course) I think that this motherly instinct naturally comes while giving birth to help us do right by our children, so follow it b/c more often than not, it is right.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear J.,
Trust your gut. Your child's safety is your utmost resposibility. Just tell the other mom that you would be happy to bring your daughter to the party and that you will be picking her up a X time, period! You do not need to make an excuse. I will be surprised if you are the only one. 6 is young & I guess many other children will not even want to stay the night. I have a friend who made a policy with all of their kids... No sleepovers until highschool. That was too extreme for me, but she never has regrets.

1 mom found this helpful

I have 3 girls and I am not crazy about sleepovers for several reasons. My kids are always impossible to live with upon their return and it causes problems with the one at home and her sister being gone. I also worry about influences, especially when she gets older. This is my sleepover solution. when my girls are invited to sleep over, I allow them to go and have fun until bedtime, then I pick them up around 9:30 or 10. This is great to teach compromise and works well for us. They get to go and be a part of most of it, and I get to relax knowing she's safe in her own bed at night. Yes, they would really like to stay the whole timne, but are happy to get to go and always have a great time. They will be used to this rule and when the get older and I really have to worry about not so good influences, then the rule has already been established. My girls don't fight anymore to stay over night because they don't feel like they're missing out so much anymore. Hope this helps!
J.

1 mom found this helpful

that's one of those "gut" feelings that you have to listen to. If you are familiar with the family already, then maybe just the party and pick her up before the sleepover starts. But if you are not comfortable with the family, i would wait until she is older.
my oldest could not sleepover until she was at least 8 and i felt comfortable that she could express her thoughts and opinions clearly if something was "odd" to her.
i think using caution is more important these days... the world is not the same as when we were going to school at 6.

1 mom found this helpful

I am not a keep my child in a bubble mom either. But if your instinct says not good situation-then do not do it. My rule at home is that you can spend time with friends during the day- all day depending upon the age of the child. We do not do sleep overs. We sleep in our own bed. I do not want to take the chance of my child -being molested, raped, etc. It is not worth the security and mind set of my child. There are so many uncertain factors out there as it is. Why should I put a small person at risk so early. It is not worth it...Do what your hearth tells you or else you will regret it. folow you mothers instinct-it does not matter what others think

1 mom found this helpful

My oldest boy who is now 10 had his first sleep over when he was 6. I called and talked to the mother about what she had planned such as movies and snacks for the kids and things like that. He also just spent the night at a friends house a couple of weeks ago that I had never met the child nor the parents. I went and dropped him off, but when I did I went in to meet the boy and his parents. They were all wonderful people and that was reassuring to me. If you do not feel that this girl is the best choice then tell your daughter maybe another time. Or you can meet the parents first and talk to them unless this individual is a single mom. I would suggest meeting and talking before you definitely say no. I also have two younger boys ages 7 and 4. My 7 yr. old had his first sleep over at age 6 as well, but I already knew the kids and parents because we used to be neighbors and they moved. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Go with your gut, instinct is a very good indicator. One of a Mother's best gifts!

1 mom found this helpful

I didn't let my girls go to sleepovers until they were about junior high...and even then, it was a rarity. For one thing, at this age, most kids get tired of each other before the night is done. I understand, too, when you are comfortable with the other child or parents. I'd just tell her we don't do sleepovers at this age. You shouldn't have to explain anything.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, your daughter is only 6. There is still plenty of time to have sleepovers before she moves off to college. You are obviously uncomfortable with the idea and should value your own judgment when your daughter is concerned. I personally believe that if you don't feel comfortable enough to ask the questions that would assuage your concerns then you shouldn't be comfortable enough to leave your child in their care.

1 mom found this helpful

Listen to your instincts! If you don't feel comfortable letting her go I don't think you need to make any excuses. Maybe present a little "white lie" to avoid your six year old feeling uncomfortable, but I don't think you need to explain yourself!

1 mom found this helpful

Dear J., I'm the same way with my kids. I would love to pick their friends out for them but that's their choice. I'd say let her go to this sleepover and if she doesn't have a good time she could always call you to pick her up.Good luck with your decision.

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