Sleepover Rules for Middle School -Thru High School Age Kids

Updated on January 20, 2011
T.D. asks from Aurora, IL
15 answers

I am looking for some advice from parents that have already been through this age and can offer some insight or parents that are at this stage now.

I have a daughter in the 6th grade. I have never had any issues with her going to a sleepover at a friend's home in the past but we have always known her friends and their parents/family members well. However, my daughter has started at a new school this year and is just starting to develop some friendships. We do not yet know the friends and families yet. It is a priority for us to get to know these new friends but it is taking time - especially now that the kids are older and less dependant on parents. But, in the meantime, we want to develop a standard set of rules for sleepovers that will last through high school. We don't really think there are issues, especially at this age, but as she is older we want to have these in place from the beginning.

My husband and I were thinking if she wants to sleepover at a friends:
1. this would not be the first time she is "hanging-out" with this friend
2. we will have already met this friend previously
3. we must already have met the parents

What rules/guidelines do you use in your home or wish you would have for sleepover situations (middle school age and older)?
We have concerns about sleepovers with friends that have older brothers too. **to clarify - we are mostly concerned about boys getting into more trouble and watching inappropriate tv

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answers from Kalamazoo on

I'm super stressed already about the sibling thing! My son is 2yrs older than my daughter (perfect age for her to like his friends and him to like her friends, ya know). They are only 6 and 8 now, but I plan on having very strict rules at my house that if I catch anyone in any room that they are not supposed to be in, then that friend will never be allowed over again. Period! I would hope that before i would let my children stay somewhere else, that I could be confident that they would follow the same rules!

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answers from Sacramento on

I don't have kids this age, but I have been teaching middle school for seven years.

When you have met the parents, make sure you actually talk to them about their rules for things you are concerned about... do they allow boys over? How about rules about open/closed doors? Drinking? R rated movies?

Honestly, I'd probably say stick to day or evening socializing until you know her group of friends and their parents. Maybe have a family bbq on a nice weekend and invite them and their families over and meet everyone at once.

Not to scare you but... last year there was actually physical fight between two mothers on our campus that had to be broken up by our staff. Turns out the issue was that the daughters were friends. The girls had had a sleepover and the hosting mother allowed boys and alcohol! (she had a "they're gonna do it anyway, I'd rather know what their doing" attitude... ugh)... the angry mother's daughter had gone to the sleep over and lost her virginity!

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answers from Phoenix on

We've had sleepovers before and let our older kids sleep over but we really didn't do it often at all nor did we encourage it. Kids won't suffer if they don't have a sleep over but they will if they do and something happens. We've had friends spend the night but we checked on them regularly and we know the family well. Same with when our kids spend the night. My daughter spent the night once when we were out of town and my son had a friend over once and my daughter did too. They are now 15 and 17, so yes, I mean they rarely did it at all. My son did an "all nighter" with his small group at church twice but we know all the kids well and we know the leaders very well. Plus, my son was 16 and 17 and very trustworthy. =) HTH

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answers from San Francisco on

I am sorry, but I am appalled at the number of people who have stated they wouldn't let their daughter sleep over if there is an older brother. Talk about being guilty without doing anything. I think I need to reassess. Maybe I shouldn't allow my daughter to have girlfriends sleep over to protect my sons from false allegations. Have you seen how aggressive some girls are to boys? I did say some girls, not all. If we are going to judge all boys by actions of some boys, we should also judge all girls by the actions of some girls. It's also interesting that people are willing to have kids sleep at their house, but not their child at someone else's house. If the other parents have the same rules, there will be no sleepovers. My advice try and make reasonable rules. Otherwise when they turn 18 and/or go to college they go crazy because they haven't been gradually allowed to make their own decisions. Sorry -a little rant, but I don't think my sons are less important than my daughter.

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answers from Dallas on

I have a 9th grade daughter and can relate to the dilema. Luckily my daughter has only asked a time or two to spend the night with someone I didn't know. I said, no, I don't know her parents and that was the end of it. Now, I know she won't be as compliant as she gets older. But, I have told her she can have friends spend the night over here when ever she wants but can only spend the night with families I know.

You are smart to be concerned about older brothers. I have a brother 2 years older and won't go into specifics but I should not have had friends spending the night.

You also have to think about high school, which you obviously are. When I was in high school I knew I couldn't sneak out of my house so I spent the night with friends whose parents didn't care or were oblivious and we could do as we pleased. If our kids choose this path, they will be able to do this if they can spend the night where ever.

So, to make a long story short, I would encourage all sleepovers to occur at your house.

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answers from Honolulu on

Maybe tell her for now.... that YOU will have sleep-overs for her... thereby having her friends over... and you can meet them/their parents. Too.

Let your daughter, invite friends over, freely.
That is what my Dad/Mom did, when I was that age and older. Our house was the hang-out place and that way as well... my Parents got to know our friends, and their parents... and many of my friends loved my parents and would even talk to them about problems... too.

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answers from Norfolk on

I think the key is : parents with the same values you have must supervise and be present at all times during the sleep over.

For the most part my son doesn't do sleep overs. The exception is a lock down night twice a year his taekwondo place has. Boys and girls attend but sleep different rooms and the Master and his wife supervise. They have pizza for supper, run around and play dodge ball, watch a mild movie or two (they always have some little kids (8 yr olds) attending so the movies are G or PG - usually animated), then get a few hours sleep in a sleeping bag before parents pick them up in the morning. A good time is had by all!



answers from Dallas on

When my daughter moved from elementary to middle school, where several elementary schools came together, we pretty much ended all sleepovers unless we knew the child and family from elementary school. Our middle school principal told us in a meeting that she wouldn't let her child go on sleepovers knowing what she knows now. in our neighborhood the standard is a evening visit but everyone goes home. Make it fun, well have poker night, steak night, movie night, some theme to the evening. We even did a minute to win it night wi 10 kids! This nonsleepover applies even to highschoolers. Luckily my daughter wants to sleep at home and is ready to go to sleep around 9, so she doesn't complain about not spending the night out.



answers from Detroit on

I'm with MamaMia on that one. As someone in the counseling profession, let me tell you lots of stuff happens at sleepovers and meeting the parents a few times gives you no real understanding of what happens at their home. I have always loved sleep overs, however, the sleepovers being at your home is the safest bet to make sure your daughter is safe.



answers from Washington DC on

My daughters are 13 and 15.
We usually have kids stay at our house.
My 13 yo can go to her best friend's but I know the mom very well. She also has a big brother who is more annoyed with the girls than anything else.
My 15 yo's friends stay at our house for many reasons.
We also have simialr rules. No overnights with people I don't know.



answers from Detroit on

Some of my favorite memories growing up are of my sleepovers with friends. Parents were always home, made home-made meals, and we had alot of fun with Pizza, pop, and movies. No harm.

I think you need to have a set of rules for when your daughter is in MIddle school, and adjust for high school. Your daughter at 14-17 years old will be a different person and probably, different rules apply.

YOU CAN"T BAR YOUR DAUGHTER GOING ANYWHERE/SPENDING THE NIGHT WHERE THEIR"S BOYS PRESENT!!!! Or asking them to send their son away..thats a little ridiculous!

Parents now adays can be a concerned parent without being overbearing...sorry just my 2 cents.



answers from Chicago on

Since I know what I did when I was Jr high and High school, I know that at a sleep over that you can sneek out with your friends go to the woods, drink, meet up with the guys. I also know that without sleepovers in the middle of the afternoon you can, drink, and meet up with guys. You can also go over to your friends house after cheerleading in the afternoon and replace 50% of her VO with a little weak iced tea. My mom never suspected, my Dad wasn't home alot due to work and it wasn't about whether or not we came from a good solid family(parents married for a total of 45 years now) or that they were a solid family. We did what teenagers do, we figured out how to get away with something because at that age you are in your own mind indestructable. So rules, you can lay them down, but use hawk eyes and don't assume that if you have met a parent, that they have been friends for a while and have hung out and not seemingly gotten in trouble they won't. Let your child know your expectations, if you want your choice of the level of supervision always welcome her to invite others over to your house for sleepovers and then live up to your standards of supervision. Remember though the phone calls can come back to you too if you didn't know that they got the sleezy guy to get them a pack of mike;s hard lime or a bottle of vodka and drank it at your place when you were making them popcorn or fell asleep.



answers from Chicago on

You have the right idea. The rules should not change just because she is in HS. You still need to know the parents and make sure you go to the house to see what it looks like. Make sure the alcohol is put away and not just sitting in an open bar that the teens have access too. Does the child have an older brother that always has company over at the same time as his sister. Do they have prescription drugs that area just in the medicine cabinet. There is so much to consider once they get older because they try more things the older they get. When all else fails, have the sleepover at your house where you know your child and the other children will be safe.



answers from Denver on

I would add just a couple of things - perhaps invite the child to sleep over at your home first. Also, be sure to have at least a phone conversation with the other parents to ask about supervision and rules in their home. When you take the child to the other home, go into the house and be sure to leave emergency contact info.

I would not spend too much energy on older brother issues, unless you have a specific reason. There is really no reason to assume that the boy is interested in sexually molesting your child, without evidence.


answers from Biloxi on

Hi T.,
I guess you could ask that any houses with older brothers send the boys away for the night when your daughter sleeps over. LOL I'm sorry, but that is a little over the top.

If you know the family, have spent time with the parents, and share core values I think your list of rules is fine. Remember that what we teach our children is still in their head even when they are not with us and 6th grade is old enough to call you if she feels uncomfortable and wants to be picked up.

I tend to host more sleepovers than have my son spend the night elsewhere. But I think that came about because his friends prefer to be at my house rather than their own. So that's another way to go with this - become the house that all your daughter's friends want to hang out at.

Trust me, there will be times she will ask to stay over a friends house and you will just know that the answer is "No". Stay involved in her life, school, extracurricular activities in order to get to know the parents of her friends. Let her know the expectations when she is sleeping at a friends and have an open talk with the host parents about what you expect.

It will be fine - sleepovers are a childhood rite of passage.

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