Aquarium Sleepover- Other Questions

Updated on January 23, 2014
E.P. asks from Tampa, FL
25 answers

Thank you to all who answered my last question about my son not being invited to the aquarium sleepover. Now I just need to figure out some other concerns.

So daughter is invited to Shari's daughter's 8 year old sleepover party at the aquarium on Valentine's Day. I think this is a unique experience and part of me doesn't want my daughter to miss out but here are my issues-

1. My daughter has never been to a sleepover.

2. If she goes to the sleepover and wants to leave in the middle of the night, I will have to drive 15 minutes to the next town to pick her up.

3. My friend is really not a close friend. We hang out every 2 to 3 months and usually her friend, Melissa is always involved in the meetup.

4. My daughter has known this girl since preschool, however they have never bonded. When we go to see them at parks, etc. the girls rarely talk to each other. There could be a number of reasons- my daughter is very quiet, the girls never go to each other's houses (this girl lives several towns away), Melissa's kids are outgoing and follow girl around. My daughter will just stick to hanging out with her brother.

5. Although she has met some of the kids who will be attending the party, the majority of them are strangers.

Better to send her and let her have the experience or are these reasons enough to say "forget it" and do something else that evening?

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So What Happened?

Wow, sometimes it's weird how everyone's responses are the same. Are we thinking for ourselves here or are we just going with what the other says?

Despite that, the comments do make sense. I think I might be overprotective. My daughter had developmental delays and ever since she was diagnosed with that in preschool, I have been in constant worry about her development. I had to read negative comments from teachers saying she had issues socially. I've been told every year that she's behind her classmates academically. My husband thinks there's something wrong with her because she has trouble making eye contact and she acts out of it, a lot. I guess I'm afraid that she is going to be lost at this sleepover. She also has had mild anxiety issues.

I will let it be her decision and try to put my worries aside.

Yes, I overthink things and I guess I've had anxiety all my life. It runs in my family. My parents rarely left the house when I was a kid and they trusted nobody. Luckily my life had some normalcy that I had friends and did sleepovers. However, the sleepovers didn't happen until I was a preteen. Right now, I am going through a change- my kids are transferring to a charter school. I think I am nervous about the change. Also I have not been getting enough sleep so I tend to worry more when I am tired.

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

I think you're over thinking this. Just ask her if she wants to go and if she does then let her. How else is she going to know if she likes sleepovers without first having a sleepover?
If she doesn't enjoy it then it's not the end of the world it's a lesson learned and next time she'll say no thank you.
It's really not a big deal.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Please let her make the choice and if she wants to go, let her go. Gotta start sometime. If you have to go get her, 15 minutes is not that far.

FWIW, I usually answer and then read other responses. I'm not just following the herd and that was rude to imply.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Wow, perhaps the other girl is trying to get or make a few new friends.

I have gone a few times to pick up my daughter from a sleepover when things did not work out well. Just let her know that it is okay if she feels she has to come home. Don't make a big deal about it. Like "I told you you wouldn't like it." Just comfort her and let her know that it is not the end of the world to leave some place and go home.

She is 8 and she is growing up and starting to spread her wings a bit about trying new things. Let her experience life and not hold her back. Be her safety net when she calls. If you do this you two will have a good relationship when you both will need it most in the teen years. Keep the door open and communicate.

the other S.

PS Sometimes parents have to let things happen and not worry so much about the what ifs and just do it. Daughter will be fine and 15 minutes is not that far away.

7 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

You are just grasping for reasons to not let her go.

So what if she wants to come home in the middle of the night. Get up and drive 15 minutes. It is not all about you.

Give your daughter some credit and cut the apron strings a bit. She may surprise you if you look beyond what you want and actually communicate with her and find out what she wants to do.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

Start with, you have been invited, do you want to go? If she says yes then let her go, if she says no, don't make her go. Problem solved.

If she says yes she will ask the questions that are actually relevant to her.

Do you always go around figuring out problems that haven't happened yet? That seems exhausting.

Um, most of the time when the answers are the same it means everyone thinks the same thing...independently. When they agree with someone else they say I agree with.....or so and so nailed it....or they just give that person a flower and move on.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Ohhh, so really, you don't want your daughter to go if your son can't because you want the security that having them together gives you.

Be brave. I know you have a lot of anxiety and probably it's a family trait.
I've been there. If you want to stop this generational thing, you have to give your child wings. This is a pretty cool experience. Don't let your fear keep your daughter from it. The more experiences she has, the more comfortable she will be in different circumstances. But if you keep her from stuff, it will keep her safer, but instill more fear in her. Odd, huh.

If she doesn't want to go that's ok. If she is afraid to go, well, you have to consider how your behavior is affecting her. Be brave.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You are making this WAY too hard. If you don't want her to go, and don't feel that she is ready, *you* need to own that this decision would be about you and your perceptions.

A fifteen minute drive isn't a big deal. Why are you making it one?

Either you trust your daughter and you trust the hosting adults, or you don't.

One last thing-- you've used a few first names in this and your last post. Might want to rethink that, considering that the situation is unique and this website is not private.

If it were me, I'd let my kid a have a chance to spread their wings a bit. Again, if you micromanage all of your kid's friendship experiences, they will end up not having any friends at all.

ETA: You asked if we were thinking for ourselves. What an incredibly rude question. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see what the situation was, it was painfully obvious. If you are going to ask, then give us a bit more credit. If everyone is telling you the same thing, it's probably because it's true-- not because we are a bunch of sheep. Is this how you respond to the people in your real life?

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

This isn't really about your daughter; it's about your own misgivings. You are the one finding reasons for her not to go; if you ask her, what's she going to say?

If you ask like this, she'll surely say no and you can be off the hook and say SHE didn't want to go:

"Honey, do you REALLY want to do this party? I'm asking because you've never slept away from home before. You know Birthday Girl but there will be a lot of kids there you don't know. If you want to come home it's a WHOLE fifteen minutes away. Are you really, really sure?...."

That's how to put her off doing it, by planting all your adult worries in her head and making her doubt what should be a simple, fun choice.

If you ask by saying, "Hey, what do you think about Birthday Girl's sleepover idea?" and stop right there, she is likely to say yes.

You are anticipating the worst as hard as you can: She might need a pickup, there will be other kids she doesn't know (isn't, she is not super-best-friends with the host kid, YOU are not super-best-friends with the mom.....Yes, it could all come true! Your daughter could get homesick, a giant shark could scare her, the birthday girl might give attention to other kids for a while....but why not assume the best and if you do end up bringing her home, heck, a lot of parents have done that one. She is more likely to make friends among the new kids; be so occupied and busy with the activities and the amazing setting that she never once misses you; and be so busy that she crashes out and sleeps at some point.

If you are worried about the "never spent the night away" thing, tell the host mom that you are. Ask her if maybe your kid can sleep near the girl or other kids she already knows, or in the mom's vicinity so mom can hear her in the night. Beyond that -- let the worries go. Even if some of your worries turn out to happen in the end, at least you won't have planted them in your child's mind in advance and scared her off the party.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Ask your daughter if she wants to sleep over. If not she can still attend the party. If she does want to sleep over, give her your cell phone so she can get in touch with you. Also, 15 minutes is not far away at all, you can always pick her up if you need to.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Why don't you ask her if she wants to go? If she does, then let her knowing that there is a possibility of having to go get her. If she doesn't want to go, then it's all settled.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If she wants to go, let her go! There will be plenty of organized activities for the kids to do. If she gets scared and needs to be picked up, let her know that you will of course come and get her (15 minutes each way isn't an outrageous trip - inconvenient, yes, but not unreasonable).

If she wants to go to the party but isn't sure about the sleepover, then find out what the schedule is and pick her up at night, after the last formal activity (before they settle down to sleep for the night). My youngest son just turned 8 and we had a slumber party at our house. Two boys got picked up that evening, which was no big deal at all. None of the other kids questioned why they couldn't stay. It was a good way for them to join in the celebration without pushing too far out of their comfort zones.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If she wants to go, let her, and give her your cell phone to use if she needs to call you. 15 minutes is really not that far to drive to pick her up, if needed.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

ETA: after your update, and i can only speak for myself but i don't normally ready previous responses before I answer. I think every mom has anxiety about The First Sleepover, but this is the harder part about parenting: giving kids wings, not just roots! Good luck!

I would ASK HER if this is something she'd like to do.
I would also make sure the mom knows that I can & will drive 15 minutes in the middle of the night if something arises.
I would make sure the mom has my phone number/s.
I would make sure my child is unaware of my anxiety over the sleepover party.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

so does your daughter want... to go to it? Or not?
What is HER thoughts, on it?
She is 8.
She must have some of her own opinions/feelings on it.
Ask, her. with.... her.
That is what I do with my kids.
Discuss things.... with them, no matter what their age is.
And I do that with my kids, so they learn the thinking PROCESS of things... and various viewpoints or concerns. So that in time, they learn that ability too.
Then you decide, what to do.

If your daughter does go... driving 15 minutes one way to pick her up, is not a long drive at all.
And I am sure, the Host parents, MUST realize, that a kid may want to go home.
OR talk to the Host parent, and say, that your daughter can attend, but not sleep over. So you will pick her up at a certain time that night.

The other aspect of this is: those invited are not close friends and are "strangers." Your daughter does not know them well, nor the host child.
But its nice she was, invited.
And it depends on the comfort level of your daughter, per the situation.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

How does your daughter feel about going? I would leave it up to her. Does your daughter have any anxiety issues? Any sleep problems?
Could you arrange for her to go on a sleepover between now and the party? Most of the kids I know, including my own, have been attending sleepover since kindergarten, and don't have any troubles.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

What does your daughter want?
If she's excited then let her go. I took my girl scout troop on an aquarium sleepover when they were in second grade and it was amazing.
I would strike a deal first, though. If she wants to go make it clear that you will NOT pick her up past a certain time, say ten pm. That way if she feels she's not having a good time that gives her an "out." And fifteen minutes isn't that far away (our aquarium is a good thirty minutes from here.)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

First, breath! I think in some ways you are way overthinking this. Let your daughter make her decision. During your conversation, if she says "Mom, I would really like to go but I'm nervous", my response would be "you know them. But if something happens its not problem to call me".

I live in Houston so it can take me 15 minutes to get out of my driveway!! =)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Ask you daughter if she wants to go. If she says she wants it, let her go.
If she freaks out in the middle of the night you drive the 15 min to pick her up. Who cares.
It may be great or she may hate the experience. That's life and it's going to be a lesson learned either way.
Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

It's better to le her go and have the experience.
She might suprise you.
And if she calls in the middle of the night treat it as a check in first-and if she is adamant that she can't stay-go get her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I would let her decide, and if she needs to come home then I would drive and get her and make sure she knows that it is okay and I am not mad about the drive.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I haven't read the other answers. I read your question and your SWH, though. Here's what I'm thinking about after reading what you wrote.

You don't have to give reasons for how you feel. You don't have to badmouth yourself for being anxious and having anxiety. You have asked an honest question. It's okay to do that. I appreciate that you aren't playing games with people and pretending that it's a friend and not you or your child. It's amazing how people on here do that and then get mad because they don't get the answer they want. (Immature, if you ask me. Why ask a question if they don't want to hear the answers...)

You are the one who knows your child so well. If you are afraid that she really will not be able to stay all night, maybe it is better to talk to the mother and plan to pick her up before the kids go to bed. She will have enjoyed a lot of the party, but not end up getting upset about not coming home.

I understand how you feel, I really do. One of my kids was the anxious type, very serious minded. He was invited to an all boys sleepover, and I knew it wasn't a good idea. He was one of these kids who needed to go to bed at the same time every night, or he was a bear to deal with the next day. Goodness knows how long they would have stayed up, and how irritated he would have gotten when kids were rough housing or giggling and he expected or wanted to sleep. So I opted out of the sleepover part. I know that it's a learning and growing experience, but not every child needs to have sleepovers. That kid of mine is in college now and lives in a dorm. He's fine. It didn't hurt him one bit that he didn't do a sleepover.

You decide based on your understanding of your child. Not from the answers on this board. And don't feel that you have to apologize for your anxiety here. You don't owe anyone that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from McAllen on

Amen, Doris Day. That's what I was thinking after reading your post and your SWH. You know your child, and you don't need to make excuses for how you feel. Don't let anyone talk you out of your gut feelings, even if they turn out not to be the best answer overall. The only way to develop healthy confidence in your parenting is to trust the process of working it out in your gut. It's important that you feel confident in your decisions as a parent.

My child's first sleepover would never be under these circumstances. If not at our home--or elsewhere under my care--it would be in the care of adults I knew well and felt comfortable with, in a place close enough for my comfort and small enough not to be overwhelming. There would be at least one child with whom he felt comfortable, someone he was somewhat excited to be around. There is no rule that states that your child HAS to experience a sleepover at this point.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I think you're doing the right thing, and as someone with social anxiety, who has come quite a long way from her teen years, the only way to fight it was to expose myself to people and social situations I otherwise would have cringed at, something I am currently doing because I am tired of feeling lonely. I am a member of and other sites that encourage social networking and I meet random strangers in social settings, then we exchange numbers, and voila. Some say it takes a lot of guts going to these meetings where I know no one and if they knew I had social anxiety, they'd be shocked, but again, that's the only way out. This is why I think you should encourage your daughter to break out of her comfort zone based on what you're stating.

Just give her the chance. Like you said, if things don't work out, you can pick her up, no biggie. Navigating from one end of my city (South Beach) to the other end can take over 15 minutes, so the driving distance to me seems rather trivial. I have driven my daughter to birthday parties that were about an hour away (one way, not roundtrip) and had no qualms about doing so. Considering it's on a weekend, you can just sleep in if having to drive disrupts your sleep.

So yes, I'd ask her if she wants to go, make it sound interesting ("you'll make some new friends and see your old friend, you guys will have so much fun, why don't you give it a try?") and respect her decision if she's adamant about not going. If she wants to go, I'd encourage it so she learns to break out of her shyness. My daughter has never been to a sleepover with friends, but she's been with her cousin, who is 13, her girlfriends, and other younger cousins who are 5 & 6, and she's had a blast, coming home with glittery nails and getting facials, watching Frozen, and having a great Chinese dinner. She had a lot of fun. I am sure that if your daughter's having a rotten time, Shari will intervene and try to make things fun for her, isn't that what a good host would do?



answers from Cleveland on

I'm stuck on the delayed part, and hubs thinks there is an issue part. that totally colors how I would answer your question. She doesn't sound like she can hang very well with this age level of girls, plus it's a new situation with people she hasn't yet build up a trust level for.

I would ask if she could come for part of the time but leave to go home by 9 or 10pm
it's also different to me that this is a public place ( closed to the public the whole time??) and not someone's house.


answers from Houston on

I get you on the following the herd reply. I often think the same when I read replies and see who get a bunch of flowers...

But with that, I've learned who the independent thinkers are. Stay here long enough and you will find out who is peer pressured or not.

As for my answer, I am often the lone wolf on posts, but I agree with the others here. Sleep with one ear open and your pajama pants on, you may get that call.

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