How Do You Politely Decline a Sleepover Invitation?

Updated on July 26, 2018
C.B. asks from Woodbury, CT
16 answers

My 11 yr old daughter was invited to a sleepover birthday party. Her friend will be taking all the girls to bowl, then dinner, then sleepover at their house. My husband and I don't like the idea of sleepovers. We grew up not having them, and are concerned with different parenting styles and just would prefer not to have our kids participate in them. How do I politely say no to the sleepover without offending the parents?

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.K.

answers from Wausau on

"Daughter is looking forward to bowling and dinner with Friend. We don't do sleepovers so I was wondering what time would work best for us to pick her up so it doesn't interrupt the evening plans?"

If they get offended about that, it isn't because of you.

Edit My Answer
7 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

you say, 'i'm sorry, that won't be available, but jessica would love to go to dinner and bowling if that's an option. we can pick her up at the bowling alley.'

you don't have to give a reason, and you don't need to assume the parents will be offended.

khairete
S.

Edit My Answer
5 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from Boston on

Just say that your daughter will be delighted to join for bowling and dinner but won't be able to sleepover, so what time would they like you to pick her up? When we've invited kids who couldn't stay over, a normal pick up time for a "mock sleepover" was around 10 PM but it's polite to let the hosts tell you what works for them. Sometimes we had kids picked up earlier because they had to be somewhere early in the morning or really couldn't handle a disruption in their sleep routine and it was good to know that someone was getting picked up at 8:30 or 9 so that we could plan on them not missing out on the birthday cake or whatever. It's really none of their business why she won't be staying over so you don't have to offer an explanation.

7 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.G.

answers from Portland on

One of my kids doesn't like sleepovers (has a hard time falling asleep). So this comes up all the time.

We just said (without going into any details or explanation - unless we knew them well/were friends) that we'd be pick our child up early if that's ok - that they wouldn't attend the sleepover portion.

If the kids asked my child why, then my kid would simply say preferred sleeping in own bed. Had hard time falling asleep.

A lot of kids don't like sleepovers, or parents don't like them (kids are a bear the next day) or kids have sports practice next day early .... variety of reasons. It's absolutely fine.

My kid would stay for movie, and then come home. Just called, we came to get. Don't overthink :) It's fine. You don't owe explanation (they really won't want to hear it - it's about their child's birthday - not your child).

6 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Just be honest. Yours is a pretty common parenting decision. As long as you are clear that this is not about them personally, no one will be offended. "Jane would love to come to bowling and dinner, but she doesn't do sleepovers. What time should we pick her up?"

The challenge will not be with the other parents, it will likely be with your daughter, who is probably going to be upset that she has to leave while everyone else stays.

6 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

You politely say no by saying "No thank you."

3 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

Z.T.

answers from Boston on

I've found that people aren't offended at all. With friends she's had for a while, the parents will text that they know she can't sleep over, but could she still join them for the party/hang out. For others, I rsvp that while my daughter (age 11) would love to attend the party, we only allow sleepovers with family. In all cases, she's been invited to join them and we just pick her up before bed time. My daughter has always been aware of this rule so she doesn't expect to be allowed to sleep at their homes. She is sometimes disappointed, but other times, with a new friend or someone she doesn't know especially well, she is fine leaving before the sleepover starts.

3 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

The less you say, the better. You say, "Thank you for the invitation, but Petunia will not be able to come." If you really want to add detail, you can say that she has plans the next morning so she can't do the sleepover. (Now, those plans can be "sleep late and watch cartoons" but you don't say that. Same as when we were teens, declining a date was "So sorry, I have plans" even if those plans were to wash our hair.) You can either suggest that she do the bowling/dinner part and you'll pick her up, or you can wait for the other parent to offer that. Be careful because it might sound like your daughter only wants to do the fun stuff and wants to pick/choose.

You open yourself up to questions, though, the more you say. So you have to have a secondary response if the parents ask why no sleepover. This will come up more for 2nd and 3rd invitations. "Just not her thing," is an acceptable response but can involve some grilling. And your child needs to be prepared that kids will ask her why she isn't coming. If she says, "My parents don't allow it" or "My parents don't agree with parenting styles," then you put her on the front lines of appearing to insult the other parents. So don't put her in that position. If she wants to say, "I just like my own bed," fine. But kids may think she's afraid so she needs to be taught your values and that the less said, the better. This will increase over the next few years of middle school and high school, so best to get your ducks in a row now.

3 moms found this helpful

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

You just say no. You don't owe any explanation.

Just curious.. what does your 11 yr old want to do? I understand some kids don't like sleepovers. Sleepovers were a huge deal and mostly at my house as daughter was growing up. We have some wonderful memories of sleepovers and her friends. She is 23 and still friends with some of the girls who we are part of sleepovers at our house.

3 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

❤.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am the same way. My parents never let me spend the night either. I just say "Thank you so much for inviting our daughter. She's looking forward to the party but won't be sleeping over."

2 moms found this helpful

L.U.

answers from Seattle on

"Little Suzie would love to go to the party! Please let me know what kind of things Jane is interested in (for the gift). Our family doesn't do sleepovers though, so can you give me an estimated time to pick her up? Thank you so much!"

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.K.

answers from Miami on

Just tell them your daughter will be attending the dinner and bowling, and they are to call you when that is finished so she can be picked up as she won't be attending the sleepover, and that is it. You don't need to explain to them why you don't feel comfortable with the sleepover, or whether your daughter is scared of the dark, whether she has a medical issue, a bladder issue, is scared to sleep in a stranger's home, or whatever the case may be.

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.B.

answers from New York on

Thank you everyone for all your responses - your suggestions were so helpful!

1 mom found this helpful

W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to mamapedia, C..

Why do you feel you need to offer any explanation for this?

Tell the parents your daughter can join in the activities and you will pick her up after the dinner portion.

Updated

Welcome to mamapedia, C..

Why do you feel you need to offer any explanation for this?

Tell the parents your daughter can join in the activities and you will pick her up after the dinner portion.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.D.

answers from Chicago on

My 11 year old daughter had a sleep-over at a hotel in the tourist district of our tourist town. I told her a lot of parents might not be comfortable with that, but it's what she wanted so we asked 5 friends. 4 parents said yes, one said she didn't feel comfortable with the sleep-over bit, but her daughter could join for the day's activities. That's fine. No one was offended. But you don't even have to say that much if you don't want to. Just say she can come for the day but not the overnight.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.B.

answers from Honolulu on

I think that you don't owe an explanation, just a polite response in the manner that several have suggested below. It is a pretty common parenting choice, and perfectly acceptable.

But since you have made this choice, I suggest that you have a discussion with your daughter. She's getting to the age where the sleepovers will be suggested by friends first (and parents afterwards), or she may be asked why she is leaving the party early or not accepting sleepover invitations.

Help her craft a polite response. Don't let her make up excuses. Simply help her say something like "my family doesn't do sleepovers - it's nothing personal" or "it's just not something we do". Help her understand the fun of going to the parties, and that it's ok to leave.

And I encourage you to be firm on the no-sleepover rule. If you allow a couple of cousins or a close neighbor to sleep over, word may get out that "only some friends" are ok for sleepovers, which can make for some awkward situations.

Next question: How to Turn down Birthday Invitation

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

More Questions About