Sitting Here On the Sleepover Fence

(Anticipation: all packed & waiting for grandma to pick her up*.)

It's hardly a secret that I am a protective mom. Some might say overly so. I don't think of myself as a helicopter mom, constantly up in Annelise's business when she's playing and what have you, but I do shelter her to some extent. Some might say to quite an extent.

I am not one to allow her to do things just because all her friends are able to do said thing.

So far she has not been allowed to go on sleepovers at friend's houses.

I know, I'm so Mommie Dearest.

She's almost 9 and is going into the third grade.

Some of her school friends (she says) have been having sleepovers for ages. Like forever.

Truth be told, she rarely has play dates at friend's houses. When she does, it's usually at houses of my really good friends and I am there too. That's not to say we never meet up with school friends at various places to play/socialize, we do. 

And the other, most important truth be told, I want our family and our home environment to be her greatest influence (well, besides church, obvs.) right now. There will come a point, and I'm fairly certain it's just around the corner not so patiently waiting, where her friends will be one of her biggest influences, for better or worse and we will be competing even more for her attentions (yes, I mean the teen years), so I am not in any hurry to rush things (read: relinquish control).

Maybe it's because I was an only child, living on a single street without other neighborhood children, or maybe 30+ years ago playdates and sleepovers just weren't the big deal that they seem to be now. Don't get me wrong, I had friends over occasionally, had birthday parties, sleepovers with my cousins (I can only remember one friend sleepover in elementary school, maybe in third grade?) and then of course more time with friends and sleepovers when I was older (upper elementary, junior high and high school), and I turned out okay (I think) (pretty much).

I know I can't control everything, I know that bad things can happen almost anywhere, anytime.

And yet. Still.

Am I depriving her? Maybe. For now. And maybe that's both good and bad. I don't know.

I might be ready to allow more play dates with school friends on a case by case basis (yes, I'm picky) but I'm still not sure when we'll feel comfortable with sleepovers.

In a teensie-tiny step toward allowing her a smidge more freedom, we let her go with Peggy to visit her  grandsons C & C across town. And yes, she's sleeping over. And I haven't come unglued. Yet.

I'm so proud of me.

*She was so beyond excited to go to C & C's house that she was up, dressed, wearing her packed backpack and standing beside my bed staring at me at 7:30. They weren't leaving until 9:00. Yi, yi yi!

Do you allow sleepovers?
What are your guidelines? With friends? Family only? At what age?
Do tell.


  1. We do allow sleepovers. We didn't start until school age, and at first it was only friends from church that we knew very well. It has expanded into a few more friends and birthday sleepovers. I'm still not always comfortable with it. Husband and I talk about it every time and just hope and pray we're doing okay. I completely understand your hesitations.

  2. We allow sleepovers, too. It began with family and close friends at early ages. Last year, when Isabella was in the 2nd grade, EVERYONE was having slumber parties. Luckily, I knew all the parents so I was ok sending her. And we have had talks about bodies and inappropriate touching, etc. (this is my biggest fear about the whole thing).

    Now, if any of my kids are invited to someone's house who I don't know, I'm not sure I'd send them. I'd snoop around a bit by asking my friends if they know the parents - if I can get a seal of approval by someone, I'd consider it. Otherwise, NOPE. And I think it's totally reasonable to tell my kids I need to know the parents of the home she's sleeping at. Period.

  3. Well I did come unglued last year when Luci went to a sleepover and she called me at midnight saying the friend's nanny dropped them off at the movies AT MIDNIGHT in their PAJAMAS!!! Hello?! Luci knew I would be furious so she called me. I was shocked...when Kim dropped her off and visited with the parents there was no mention of them taking my child (or having their nanny take my child) to another location. At midnight. In her pajamas. And this family is one we know from school as in the school run by our church so you would think we have similar values, etc.

    I am very overprotective but really, isn't that our job as mothers, to protect what has been given to us? It's a hard call especially as they get older. Griffin has one friend who liveds on our street that he has had sleepovers with. Luci has not been out on a sleepover since the above incident. I don't want them to be outcasts but at the same time I want to be the one supervising them or at least be asured that good supervision by the other parents will be in place.

    Similar to the above story, Kim dropped Luci off for a playdate once and the mom said she was about to leave for errands but that the teeage brother would be home watching the kids. Kim didn't even have to hesitate on that one. Sorry, not gonna happen!

  4. Thanks for sharing y'all!

    I think we might be open to occasional sleepovers as she gets older with friends on a case by case basis. Or if it's a birthday party type thing where there would be a group of girls together. I would not feel comfortable not knowing the parents or what their home environment was like.

  5. We don't do sleepovers. Mostly because when we have (with cousins) kids come home tired and cranky and it makes for a really loooong day for all the next day. We do "late nights" in which we let the kids play, watch movies, have a party until 11 or so, then all kids go home. We jokingly tell our kids that nothing worthwhile happens after midnight anyway. It makes for a happier family in the long run.


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