What Age for Sleepovers

Updated on May 05, 2013
M.E. asks from Tampa, FL
20 answers

My daughter (7) has never been invited to a sleepover. She only recently has been invited to another girl's house to play. She is shy and doesn't make friends easily.

Yesterday, she came home from her friend's house saying they are having a sleepover tomorrow night. Before she went over there, my daughter was asking about a possible sleepover. I told her we need to get to know the family better before that happens. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I thought kids don't usually have sleepovers until about 3rd grade. That was my experience as a kid. Or maybe my parents didn't allow it until then.

Daughter said the mom would call me today. The mom is super nice and volunteers regularly at Daisy Scouts, but like I said, I don't know enough about the family for my daughter to stay the night.

According to my daughter, her friend already does sleepovers quite a bit.

Another reason, I'm cautious about sleepovers is based on a separate post I made on here. My son's friend's parents are also super nice, friendly, fun, cool out in public. At home they are different- drink heavily, up all night, parents argue all the time, curse, hang out with questionable people. So that's why I say I need to know the family better.

Any opinions if the Mom calls today? Should I be more open to it? My 6th grader is having his friend over tonight to sleepover our house by the way.

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So What Happened?

I left a message on the mom's voicemail that I thought she was too young yet and that she's never done sleepovers before. I told her we should probably all get to know each other better and maybe her daughter could sleepover here first before we start doing them.
I saw super pregnant mom at girl scouts. She didn't bring it up at all and neither did I. I did want to talk to her in person about it, but the girl scout outing did feel like the place. She wasn't exactly buddy buddy with me during the outing. She talked to everybody under the sun like she was trying to be friends with everybody. I'm not ready to send my daughter to a mom's house when she doesn't try to get to know me better first.

Featured Answers



answers from Columbus on

My daughter had her first sleepover when she was 6. She wasn't ready (she's 11 and still has separation anxiety, but it's getting better!), but she wanted to try. So she stayed until 10 and left. Most parents will understand that.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

I don' t think it is uncommon for first graders to have sleepovers, but I don't think there is one "right" age for all kids (and parents!). My daughter had her first sleepover the summer after first grade. Many of her friends had done them prior to that, so she was definitely bugging me for it. I knew the family very well (our daughters had been friends since they were 1).

You have several options:
1) Decline outright.
2) Say your daughter hasn't done sleepovers yet, and you aren't sure how she would do. Maybe suggest she stay until 9 or 10 and come home to sleep.
3) Turn the tables and ask the other little girl to stay at your house so your daughter's first sleepover is at your house.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I started going to sleepovers before I can even remember. So have my kids. I guess it's never been that big of a deal for us.

I would allow her to go. You've met the mom and she volunteers at the Daisy troop (don't you need a background check for that?). You'll see the home when you take your daughter over.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I never went to a sleep over unless you count camping with the boy scouts.

My grandkids are doing sleep over when they were three.

If you think your son's friend have questionable morals or activities at home, invite the kids over to your home for a sleepover.

Good luck to you and yours.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

This varies from kid to kid.
My son wasn't ready till he was 9.
He wasn't out of pullups at night till he was 7 1/2 and he really liked being in his own bed with his bedtime routine.
At 9 - he was much less insecure.
When I was growing up, slumber parties were for teens.
I was 14 before before I went to any.
If you need to know them better, maybe you can pick your daughter up late and bring her home to sleep.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

My kids started doing sleep overs around first grade, and each is allowed to start having slumber parties for birthdays their 2nd grade year. If the kids seem well adjusted and the parents seem nice then go for it. If it helps you feel more comfortable just send a phone or something with her and make sure she knows that if at any point she wants to come home all she has to do is call. You can not expect to be best friends with all of your kids friend's parents or to do home inspections, so you just have to trust your instincts and to trust your child to let you know if anything is out of place once they are there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


My kids started sleepovers when they were 3 and 4...they were our neighbors and so we were literally next door. They had a blast.

Every family is different. I'm sorry your son got mixed up with a funky family.

Why not have them over to YOUR house? That's how I would handle it.
I would be open to it. Don't let past people influence this decision.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My 18 yr old was having sleepovers around 4 with the neighbors she grew up with. To this day at 18 I still have someone here about once a week.

Of course I knew all the parents at all the sleepovers she's participated in throughout the years. I can say that no family is perfect and if you want to and try hard enough, you'll find something wrong with everyone. Of course the tables can turn on you as well when your daughter's friends' parents discover soemthing about you that is not perfect either.

My daughter loved sleepovers and most of the time, her friends wanted to sleep over at our house because they didn't have to deal with siblings and they could have a fun time with their friend. It was an escape for her friends. Also, it was a learning experience when my daughter slept over somewhere else and saw the family dynamics, etc. Each family is different.

Sleepovers are a part of growing up and some parents just can't handle it and are paranoid about the unknown. I see it as a part of the children learning to be independent and responsible and letting go. We can't raise them under a rock all their lives and then expect them to know how to interact and deal with situations suddenly.

Of course, some kids who are never allowed to sleepover turn out just fine too, they just miss a lot of childhood, innocent fun.

Have the sleepover at your house, especially if it is your daughter's first. That way, she'll get a feel for what they are like and still be securely in her home.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

My kids started sleepovers around the age of four. If I were comfortable with them going to a home for a playdate, then I was comfortable allowing them to sleep over as well.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm the mom of a boy who has never done sleepovers at a friend's house... they've all (all three) been with adults we have known for a long time and trust and not with peer-aged kids.

I think you could create a 'back-up plan' with your daughter, maybe check in with her on the phone around 9 and see how she is doing. You can let her know that if she wants to come home (for any reason, even just missing her own bed) that she can come home at the 9 pm check in or even call you later if need be.

I'd ask the mom what she had planned, how many kids, who will be minding the children (is she leaving for part of the evening or will she be with the girls the entire time?), etc. and where the girls would be sleeping, etc.

Myself, I am very cautious about sleepovers. I think it really depends on the kid and their level of maturity (can they feel comfortable asking for what they need/if they need to call home, if they feel ill, etc.) We did family sleepovers when I was young but no overnights with friends until much older. And just because the mom of the other girl lets her do sleepovers regularly doesn't mean it's a universally good idea. Go with your gut, mom!
If you feel comfortable with the other parents plans, then make sure you have a back-up plan in place and give it a try.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Well considering your daughters age,I would personally let my daughter sleep over only if I knew the parents well. Make an excuse for this sleepover and plan a few play dates at your house and her friends house. Get to know the parents without seeming overly protective or overly curious about their daily life.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with you that 3rd grade seems to be a more realistic age for sleepovers. I'd just tell her straight up that you feel that your daughter isn't ready for sleepovers just yet, and let her know about what age you expect that she will be ready.

My son is 6, and I certainly can't imagine him being ready by 7. For now sleepovers are only for family--his cousin.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My daughter is only 5 and she keeps asking for sleepovers! She has a friend that is older, almost 8, that has sleepovers, so my daughter of course wants to do it. I told my daughter we'd discuss it when she is 6. I honestly think 7 or 8 is about right.

She does have one friend that I'd be open with doing a sleep over with sooner, but we went away on holiday last summer with this family, so they are good enough friends that I wouldn't feel weird if my daughter freaked out in the middle of the night and needed to come home!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

my sons were having sleepovers as preschoolers....when it's family, you can start early!

KG is when it started for the younger siblings in the class, because they all wanted to follow in their older siblings footsteps. The 1stborns in most families started about 1st-2nd grade, depending on the parents' comfort zones.

You know, unless you live in their footsteps 24/7, there's really NO way to get to know somebody else. :) This is simply a Leap of Faith thru the course of parenting. My Dad was fine/dandy socially, but changed at home & nobody knew the extent of it until my parents divorced after 23 years of marriage. He hid it well.....not abusive, just simply 2 personalities.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

The kids were doing sleepovers by the time they were 3 BUT it was between our group of friends and we did this so the couples could have nights out. It was sleep overs for the kids but date nights for mom and dad.



answers from Sacramento on

We're doing one in a few weeks for our daughter's 7th birthday. Everyone is enthusiastically saying yes to the invite.

I am not a helicopter parent, so I just don't overthink birthdays the way many do. I want my kids to enjoy the same fun activities I did as a kid and sleepovers are one of them. I certainly wouldn't send my child to a home with drinkers/partiers, but most parents I know just don't fall into that category.

It really is a good learning process for kids to go away for a sleepover. I have so many fun memories from slumber parties as a kid. I'm glad my kids will have the same. I embrace new steps toward independence.

ETA: If you're not comfortable with sleepovers, your child will no doubt pick up on it, so I wouldn't attempt it. I'd just tell the host your child can stay until activities wrap up and then will go home.



answers from Washington DC on

I haven't had to deal with this yet as my daughter is only 4 but I'm already dreading it! I hear you on needing to know the family better. Perhaps when the Mom calls you can simply express that and invite them over for dinner or brunch or something. In the mean time maybe your daughter can go over for the evening activities and then come home.



answers from Minneapolis on

It really varies by kid, but most of my boy's friends started with them in kindergarten and 1st grade. I too like to know the family a little bit first. My oldest didn't have his first sleepover (other than with grandparents) until he was 9 because he had periodic night terrors. I didn't think that would go over well if it happened at a friend's house. I was also very protective of his sleep and health because he has asthma and used to get croup regularly. My youngest had his first sleepover at 7 with a boy he had known since preschool. They also wanted to bring him to their family cabin for a weekend when he was 7, but to that I said no. Does your daughter want to go? Does she feel ready? I would tell her that she can call and you will pick her up if necessary. I've had parents pick their kids up from a sleepover when the kid changed their mind about wanting to stay the night. I've also had kids stay until their parents pick them up at a pre-arranged time, usually about 10:00 and I've done that too. I don't really like "sleepovers," but as another poster said they are a routine part of childhood and a part of learning independence, etc.


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is 8 and my son is 5. They have not had a sleep over yet. I would be ok with my daughter having a friend over at our home, but if she was invited to a friends house, I would have to know them really well or they would be family (like an aunt). She has not been invited to a sleep over yet, so we haven't had to worry about it. I don't know if there is a right age to start. I think it all depends on how well you know the family and if you and your kids are comfortable with them.



answers from Honolulu on

My son is 6, we do not send him to sleepovers yet.
Nor have any at home, for him. Yet.

My daughter was 8 turning 9, when we had a sleepover for her. At OUR home. It was only, for her friends which we know very well, and their family.

My daughter is 10 now, and we only send her to sleepovers, with families we know VERY well. She knows that, she has no problem with that, and is very cognizant about safety/inappropriateness etc.

I am not, loosey-goosey, about where I send my daughter for sleepovers.
I don't compare, my rationale with other Moms. It is MY... discretion.
That's it.
I don't care, what other girls her age are doing. Nor does my daughter. We do, what is appropriate for us. My daughter is not a keeping up with the Jones' type anyway.
Once, a girl invited her over for a sleepover. I do not know the family well, but don't have a good impression about them or their daughter. My daughter.... had the same, "analysis" of it and the girl and her parents. We see them on campus and have talked lightly with each other before. But, I do not know them well... nor my daughter. So, my daughter did not go over there, for a sleepover. My daughter didn't want to anyway. She didn't "trust" the girl nor the parents enough. She has a good inner "radar" about things, too. I teach my daughter to trust... her instincts, as well.

Being nice and friendly, does not make anyone "safe" or trustworthy.
And if your radar is not comfortable with a family or parent or their child... then listen, to that.
AND TEACH YOUR DAUGHTER... too, and talk WITH her about these things. Too.
I have been teaching my kids about those things, since they were Toddlers. So that, once they are their ages now... they can "surmise" and discern... people and situations, too.

Once, a Mom told me about her 12 year old niece, that was at a sleepover party. During the night, she called her parents to pick her up. Why? Well, during the night, the family had other adults over, to their home. And the adults were partying. The kids' parents, did not know... this was happening. They did not know, other adults were going to be there. And during the night, one of the men... went to the room the girls were sleeping in, and started touching her.

In your situation per your daughter: simply, talk to that girl's Mom, and ask her... about it. What will they be doing, who will be there supervising, do they take a bath/shower there or at home prior to going over, what time is drop off and pick up, where will they be sleeping etc.
When I have sleepovers at my house for my daughter, I ALWAYS, let the parents come in, and I show them around and where the girls will be sleeping etc. I tell them everything. But, some parents, do not let you come in the house. And are reticent, about it. So....

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