Sleepovers--how Often, How Long?

Updated on June 06, 2010
L.T. asks from Houston, TX
16 answers

Hi! My daughter is nine and seems like she and her friends are ALWAYS wanting a sleepover. Now that school's out for us here, I don't have near the number of excuses we used to...our schedule is slowing down thankfully! But I wanted to know if any other parents set guidelines on the number of sleepovers their kids have per week/month, etc.? And if so, what are the hours they start and end? Mainly she wants to sleep over at other friends' houses which I feel bad about because I want to reciprocate. One of her best friends does not like to sleep at any one else's house so I have learned not to take it personally but I don't want my daughter to overstay her welcome either (thankfully that mom and I are friends and I know she would tell me honestly if it is not a good time--but usually it is!)

On reciprocating, I am just not that excited about it becasue I am not a night owl and don't like to stay up super late to make sure they have lights out at a reasonable time--at least not on a regular basis. My sister's kids seem to have sleepovers (or are sleeping over) probably at least 3 times a week during the sister says it's easier but frankly I find it tougher--maybe I am just too much into my own routines! I know I did not sleepover at friends house near this much when I was her age.

!Thanks for your help!

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answers from Dallas on

It depends on you, your family and your routine.

We have an only child and we are accustomed to sleepovers every weekend pretty much since 5th grade (daughter is just now getting out of 9th grade heading to 10th next year, OUCH) We do most of the hosting because we have an only child, larger home, more space for the teens to hang out. I personally do not worry about reciprocation (sp) It all evens out in the long run.

I do not stay up until they all go to sleep at this point ( I did when they were younger). Right now, they may have boys over, etc. and I am up to make sure all is ok, parents are here on time to pick up etc.

Most of the time, they sleep til noon now and are headed home by 1 ish.

Personally, I like it when my house is the chosen one because I know what is going on and when. I don't mind if they cook, get snacks but I DO mind if they disrespect our property.

So far, our daughter has had a good group of friends and we have all been able to get along well. Some of the friends have been with us on vacation and we know most of the parents well.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Laurie A. describes how sleep overs generally work for my granddaughter too. I'll add that there are no sleep overs on a school night. Sleep overs are more often during the summer but still not more than 1-2/month. A sleep over is usually combined with some other activity such as plans to go swimming or skating the afternoon before or the next day.

I don't have room for a sleep over at my house and since my daughter works I do provide a fair amount of recreation. I take my granddaughter, who will soon be 10 and her friends swimming, skating, to play in the park, to a movie at least once a week in the summer. Then they sleep over at my daughters house sometimes but often they don't.

What guides us is whether or not it is doable from my daughter's or my point of view. I think it does help for us to share the time between us.

Play dates are more common. They can last just an hour.

We aren't concerned about reciprocation. I believe that some families have the ability to have sleep overs or play dates and some don't. I can't honestly tell you if my granddaughter has been as often to her friends' homes as they've been to hers.

The number of girls to have depends on how well they get along and how much energy I have. I do firmly believe that best to have an even number and to never, never have 3. No matter how good of friends they are one is always left out at some point.

I also believe that sometimes it's easier to have a friend over. The two girls play together which give me more time to do the things I want to do.

There is no right way to help your child spend time with friends. It is important that they have opportunities to do so, especially in the summer. Do what is the most comfortable for you. You will feel anxious until you've developed a routine that works for you. Start out with a play date so that you have the experience of managing another child or children in your home. Then have a sleep over.

When I first started having play dates and sleep overs for my daughter I had a difficult time because I didn't set out the rules and expectations out front. But I caught on to how to do that by watching other mothers when I took my daughter to their home.

I don't mind if the kids ask at the last minute or when the friend is with my granddaughter. I'm a spur of the moment person anyway. My daughter wants to be asked ahead of time and without other kids present. You do what you want to do. If one way doesn't work, try a different way.

I also worry sometimes about my granddaughter over staying her welcome. In reality nearly all mothers will directly say what time to pick her up or will call when the kids are not getting along so that I can pick her up. We adults are in the same boat and just seem to naturally work together. We are arranging activities for our kids and not needing to impress each other. The kids try to do that for themselves, Impress each other. lol We parents laugh together as we take care of ourselves too.

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answers from Austin on

Our daughter started attending and having sleepovers around 8yrs old.

For her 9th birthday we actually had about 5 girls over for her birthday sleepover. We were at a family lake house so they had plenty of room to spread out and we slept far enough away the house did not shake with all of the laughter.

Our daughter is not very social so I would say she attended about 1 every 2 months maybe less? Our neice is at or hosting someone almost every weekend. She is very social. Many times it is a team mate so they can ride together to a game or practice together the next day.

For our daughter we would drop her off around 5 pm or 6pm and pick her up at 10:00 am.. Sometimes the families would then invite her to join them for an outing or going out to eat for lunch the next day which was usually fine.

I always set rules "of the house" the first time a girl came for a sleepover. I usually did this with the parent present so they would also know the expectation. The girls were really well behaved over all. If they got too loud, I would go in and remind them to keep it down or they would have to shut it all down and go to sleep if I had to walk back in.. You can say that lights out at 11:00 or whatever time you want, just make sure they know about it when they all first get there..

I found even numbers of girls work out the best. For some reason odd numbers always ended with someone not wanting to participate. Odd, just the way it worked out..

We also did a couple of sleepovers with the girls sleeping in a tent in our back yard.. It was fun.. We even had a tent for the Trampoline, that was an interesting night..

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answers from Minneapolis on

It really depends on the kid. My DD is almost 11, and at about age 9, she asked for sleepovers a lot. And I said no a lot because she almost always asked me last minute while the friend was at our house, and it put me on the spot. Now she was invited, and happily went to a number of sleepovers at friends homes, so I knew we should be reciprocating. . . but she never planned in advance (like I told her she should). For me, I really need a little advance warning to make sure we have food, etc. I suspected a lot of the friends were telling her to "go ask your Mom if we can have a sleepover." Then at around age 10, I noticed she wasn't really enjoying going to sleepovers much, often came back overly tired and sad about something gone wrong. Seems several of her friends were the type to try to stay up until 3-4 am, and my DD just cannot handle that. She gets WAY too tired, and needs to go to sleep much earlier. Of course, she didn't want to be the party pooper and disappoint her friends, but she didn't have it in her to keep going so late into the night. And if it was ever more than 2 girls, it was a disaster. Groups of 3 or more when my DD is at her tiredest point do not mix well at all. Finally, I think she has come to terms with herself, and is just fine doing fewer sleepovers than her peers. She's just more of a morning person than a night owl. Sometimes, she'll just have one good friend over for a movie and to spend the night, but it is a friend who also does not like to try to stay up all night, and it works out much better.

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answers from Chicago on

sleep over's do not have to be an "event" if your daughter wants a sleepover let her have it but remind her that bedtime is at "x" time. and stick to it. I am assuming you mean one girlfriend over not a party. when my daughter hit about 9 she had a lot of sleepovers at her best friends house (they lived 4 houses down) and the best friend spent a lot of nights at our house. bedtime was 8pm. and we stuck to that. now having said that they did like all 8 or 9 yr old girls do at bedtime. they giggled for an hour. you just have to set the rules. I do think 3 times a week is to much but once a week during the summer not a big deal.

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answers from Odessa on

I never really had hard fast rules about how often, but I did have a few rules that were never negotiable.

First and most important, applied to all situations, not just sleepovers, you must ask privately, if you asked in front of the other child or parents, it was an automatic NO. Absolutely no exceptions; for several reasons, mostly so that I was not manipulated into something I wasn't comfortable with, but it was also a safety net for the kids. If it was something they were being pressured into, they knew if they asked in front of the other child, they were off the hook, that didn't happen often, but my kids always knew that safety net was there for them.

They could never sleep over unless we personally knew the parents and had personally visited thier home. I have to admit, our house was usually the 'go to' house and I preferred that, I almost alwasy knew where my kids were and what they were doing, 'cause they were home. I couldn't put a price tag on that. I didn't worry about other families reciprocating, because I didn't mind the kids all being at our house. But growing up, my house was like that, so it seemed natural to me for my kids to bring everyone to our house. We have some really great memories now of all those years of kids thru our front door, they were almost always very respectful, most of them still call us Mom and Dad.

Enjoy these years, all to soon they will be over, and you will move on to the next season of life, which is good in different ways, but these are really fun years.

God Bless

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answers from Houston on

Sleepovers are wonderful. You just need boundaries. Keep to the nightime schedule. If bedtime is 8 then they should have lights out at 8. However, with little girls know that they will stay awake for a while. I have read several responses here about not letting their kids have sleepovers. I never let my kids spend the night over someone's house that I didn't know well but I believe that we still need to let our kids be kids. Good luck and enjoy!

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answers from Victoria on

my mom never stayed up with us! at nine hopefully she knows not to set the house on fire. i stayed with friends all the time. there were no limits. if you would like to reciprocate with the best friend that wont stay at your house. take them to a theme park or movies give the momma a break durring the day. the summer when i was twelve i hardly was ever at home. i went home to get clean clothes!!! soooo much fun.

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answers from Houston on

My daughter is 13 and we seem to always ahve someone over at our house. Since she is an only child it is nice as she has someone to entertain her. However, there are a few friends that I can only stand to be around every so often. So, we have a friends list that mom says can come over any time and a friends list that needs prior approval before coming over. Also, we have some rules about meals and stuff like that. I think it is a personal preference and for each mom it is going to be different. I am a single mom with only one child so having someone over takes some of the entertaining pressure off of me. For married families with more than one child, it may be more difficult to have have extras around all the time.

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answers from Washington DC on

We did not allow sleepovers until middle school and then only one per year. And for that one, they slept outside in a tent. Actually, they don't sleep at sleepovers and they are cranky and whiny the next day. I hate them.
As for reciprocating - I don't like my daughter to do sleepovers unless I know the family very very well. And even then, I'd rather not.
Our kids go away to camp and have since they were in 4th and 6th grade. That takes care of their "sleepovers" as far as I'm concerned.



answers from Houston on

My children are 8yo and 4yo and haven't asked for any sleepovers yet. However, as a child I used to attend them somewhat regularly. I ran around with a group of about 8 girls (well, 7 plus me). Whenever one of us had a birthday, we had a sleepover (starting in about 6th or 7th grade). We arrived Friday late afternoon. We had some sort of supper, often pizza or subs. Then we watched movies (VHS at the time lol) until 11pm or midnight. Then we slept in late, ate a late breakfast, and went home by lunchtime on Saturday. Our families pretty much knew us all well; we traveled in the same pack up through graduation. We called each other's parents "Mom" and "Dad." So, I guess what I am saying, is that with 8 of us doing sleepovers for birthdays we had about 8 sleepovers spread out over the year. We kept ourselves entertained, and parents just provided movies, supper, and breakfast.



answers from Santa Barbara on

If my son had his way, he would sleep over every night of every week. I am not about the "up all night" and cannot reciprocate because we live with my mother. I make it very clear when my son sleeps over that our home situation does not allow us to reciprocate, "Are you okay with my son staying?" I limit sleepovers to a few times a year. I need to make sure my son is sleeping because he is a bear to deal with the next day. But for a treat every few months, why not? What if you said every other week or every third week over the summer, once every 6 or 8 weeks during the school year?



answers from Chicago on

Seemed like I seldom went to any til highschool, but my sons seemed to have lots of them. Depends on the age. Go with your gut instincts, you are allowed to say no and if you feel up to it do it. It is your home, your children, your family.


answers from Dallas on

We also don't do sleepovers, and don't plan to either. The only way it would be okay for me is if it were at my house so I could know what was going on.

But, when I was a kid, maybe once every few months during the school year, maybe 2 times a month over the summer. 3 times a week would be insane to me, but some people don't mind.


answers from Jacksonville on

Just wanted to sympathize with you. I have a much easier time doing sleepovers with my son (no airbed or sleeping bags to drag out). My daughter only has a twin bed in her room, so that complicates the sleepover thing for her (sleeping bags or air mattress, plus I feel more like I need to keep them separate from older brother since they are younger girls). She has a friend in the neighborhood that invites her over to sleep over often. But since I am not able to reciprocate very easily (my husband works odd hours, so it can get complicated) I limit how often she goes over there.

The biggest thing I made a point of doing, however, was talking to my kids about how inappropriate it is for them to come to me WITH their friend in tow, and ask if they can do a sleepover right in front of the other party. How awkward a position that puts EVERYONE in. I made it a rule that if they asked me in front of the other party (or their parents) that the answer would be no every time. They needed to talk to me privately.

So, while I don't know the answer... I know what you are going through. I like smooth routines around here too... and we often have family (from both my side AND my husband's side) popping in to visit. (We live in a kind of touristy area). Frankly, after doing all the bedding and towel laundry for family visits, I often don't want more guests. I am working on it this summer though. My daughter will be 9 this month.



answers from Colorado Springs on

We don't do sleepovers at all. Well, we have done entire family sleepovers! But, we don't send our children to other people's homes to sleep. They can get together and play and have fun, but not for sleeping. Too many dangers, and honestly, we prefer them to be at home with us.

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