So, what’s the right time to allow a sleepover?

So, what’s the right time to allow a sleepover?

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After some happy hours of play, N came in for lunch today bubbling with excitement. ‘Mama may I go to V’s house for a sleepover?’ She asked. I was kind of prepared, since a few minutes earlier I’d had a phone call from V asking the same question and I’d put her off saying I’d get back to her. 
This marks the entry of my twins in second phase of their lives – the beginning of a new set of parenting decisions and dilemmas. With the kids’ eighth birthday round the corner I thought I still had a few years before queries such as this one popped up. 
Friends hanging out in pajamas

In all honesty, I questioned myself – Is she ready for a sleepover?
The answer is ‘probably yes’. Here’s why I think so..
Since she asked, no begged, for it she probably is ready.
She has slept away from me (with my sister and her cousins) a few times.
She doesn’t wake up too often during the night.
She’s pretty independent (in my absence).
She behaves like a gem (in my absence).
So yes she’s ready for it.
The second thing I asked myself was Who is she spending the sleepover with?
And there were where the worries lay. Nope, there’s nothing wrong with the family. They live in the same society as us and I see them around pretty frequently. They’re in that vague slot between acquaintances and friends. However, how okay was it to let a child casually call up and invite a friend for a sleepover, I wondered. Am I over reacting in thinking this is a watershed moment in my kids’ life? That this is a big deal? Is it just like a simple play date or an evening out with friends (which I am also dubious about till I know the family well)?

I would have certainly appreciated some reassurance from the mum. 
And I had queries. Lots of them…
Who else is coming?
Who are the other adults in the house?
What about older siblings?
What would they be doing before they turn in for the night?
Would they be watching scary TV? (Such a no no!)
Being a girl thing would they be talking/trying out dress up and makeup? (aren’t they too young for that?)
What time would they actually sleep?

I would have liked to ask all of those and maybe some more. Yes I’d have liked a chat with the mum.

Sounds like I’m fussy? Well I’m entrusting the most precious thing of my life to a relative stranger, I have to fuss. I am well aware I’m a tad reluctant in letting the kids go. (It’s not quite right and I’m working on it. The progress has been slow, I might add).
Mercifully an old friend is arriving with her kids the morning of the proposed sleepover so the decision was made rather easily.
What was not so easily done is conveying the news to N. I had the heartbreaking task of delivering the ‘no’ watching her tiny face crumble into tears.
That, right there, is the time I HATE being a mum.


Linking that bit of introspection to Write Tribe’s Free Write for the Wednesday prompt.

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29 Replies to “So, what’s the right time to allow a sleepover?”

  1. Wow that sounds like a tough one, and you have put down the list of questions very well indeed! For me, I don't think I could ever say "yes" to something like this except with close cousins and grandparents etc.. I can be paranoid a bit like that.

  2. I think you had valid concerns and it makes sense you wanted to talk to the other child's mum about all of it. Makes you a sensible parent. I think once you get those questions answered to your satisfaction, it should be ok to send your daughter for a sleepover. What time they go to bed though will definitely be late…it's a sleepover! 😀

  3. Your concerns are all reasonable ones. I think you did the right thing under the circumstances. Better to be safe than sorry.

    In this situation, considering the age of the children, the parents of the 'host' child should have taken charge and invited the others through their parents. They should have anticipated the questions and been prepared with the answers.

  4. I don't think you are being fussy. I worried myself sick when my son went to his first sleepover. I didn't sleep a wink all night. I was so glad when he got back home! ♥

    1. Thanks Kathy. When many other mums have given permission and you seem like the odd one out it's such a relief to hear from you guys that I'm not quite crazy.. Not yet at least :-P.

  5. I too agree with Shailaja.. This is indeed a new generation, but I too feel some things should be age-appropriate.. Especially since there are more reasons to fear in this world nowadays…

  6. I feel your pain, Tulika. And I would have reacted in exactly the same way. As much as this fad for sleepovers is taking over, the only places I have left Gy overnight are with her grandparents. I am not sorry for being strict and I know that one day, she will thank me for it. Stay strong. You've done the right thing. N will know it too , when the time is right.

  7. my dad would not let us go on sleepovers .. i remember my dad was away and my sis went to a friends , dad came about 11pm and he went ot the house to get her back.

    strict NO for sleepovers..

    will i do that same with my kids, Yes probably.. I am not comfortable with the idea especially if i dont know the parents well..

    you did the right thing, if you are not comfortable.. then you are not.. simple rule..


    1. Biker am we weren't allowed sleepovers too but this is a new generation and they play by different rules. They are doing things at least ten years before we did them.

  8. I was also thrown in the same situation along with you .. in fact in 2 different directions.
    V's sleepover was certainly out of question so it was relatively easier though I had my share of drama, sulking etc but my own instinct din't think of any other way about it. Tricky was the offer(rather order) made by Hubby's cousin for stay at her place(Mumbai) for kids.. Damn … it was really a nasty situation even after H voluntarily withdrew her consent after giving a though of staying away from mom-dad for many days.
    Not sure if I will ever be comfortable for sleep overs even in several years to come.

    1. Oh yes it must be way more tough when it comes to family. You'll be accused of not letting go even more. And how on earh do you say No to family?? That's a tough one Jyoti. Glad it's over.

  9. As a mother you have your own worries and they are genuine too especially in the present scenario where it is sometimes difficult to believe even close relatives in matters concerning girls. You need not feel guilty of having said that "No.'

  10. You did the most reasonable and responsible thing by pondering over all those questions. But I am sure you will be facing these kinds of situations again and again 🙂 Not easy being a parent, eh? 🙂

    1. Absolutely not. The kids never understand how tough it is saying no to them. All I'd like is to say Yes all the time. But how is that ever possible.

  11. If not now,the issue may crop up again.The concerns you have raised in your questions are relevant.You must have all the information and quite reasonable to be fully acquainted with that family before you agree.

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