View Full Version : Age for Sleepovers

03-20-2014, 10:49 PM
Dd9 has her first 'real' sleepover coming up. In other words, not with family. It's at the library, with one of her book clubs. She's been excited for a month, but as the date approaches... I think she's going to bail. I'm fine with that. I just can't help but remember how, from the age of five on, I preferred sleeping at friends' houses.

At what age did you and/or your child(ren) start sleepovers?

03-21-2014, 07:06 AM
DS went to a few when he was around 6/7, but hasn't since then. I remember that age up until around 10 maybe as the golden age of sleepovers, but most my friends here are appalled at the idea and think their kids are too young. They do tend to be way more overprotective than when I was growing up, for sure. I'm not sure that boys in general do as many sleepovers as girls. DS enjoyed them fine but has never expressed interest again.

03-21-2014, 07:55 AM
I think my boys started around the age of 8 and still do them - not very frequently due to schedule conflicts more than anything else. Also, once a month, my older one backpacks with his troop which he loves. (My younger son just went on his first backpacking trip last weekend.)

As for your daughter's upcoming sleepover, that sounds fabulous! I want to do that! :)

03-21-2014, 08:54 AM
With family frequently by age 5. DD1, by about age 7. DD2 is 6 and has had one.

03-21-2014, 09:39 AM
Age 6. I think it's whenever they're ready. We've enjoyed being able to do it. Some people just don't believe in them ever.

03-21-2014, 11:38 AM
My dd had her first sleep over at about 6, my ds was 7. Now at 8 and 10, they think it is the BEST thing ever. Personally, I hate them because nobody ever sleeps and I deal with cranky kids the next day.

03-21-2014, 12:13 PM
My 4yo will sleep over a close family friend's house if she's with her older sister. The 8yo is up for any and all sleepovers.

03-21-2014, 01:19 PM
Approximately age 6ish. My son didn't really start until later, but that was because his friends weren't ready to spend a night away from home, or their parents weren't ready.

03-21-2014, 02:16 PM
I am one of those parents who never intended to allow sleepovers. I've ended up letting my son go so my daughter will go eventually.

Around here, many kids as young as five have sleepovers. I let my son go at age 8 and since then he has been to two boys' houses several times. His sleepovers started when a classmate had a birthday party. I intended to allow him to stay late into the night and them bring him home. But he was having so much fun and because he was dealing with the bullying at school so he already felt 'different' and felt like he had no friends - I hesitated to take him away from the situation. My daughter, age nine, has not had a sleepover yet. When she was under age 8 I refused to let sleepover when asked by schoolmates and neighbors. Currently she only sees one girl regularly and that family does not allow sleepovers so it is not an issue.

03-21-2014, 03:18 PM
You mean sleepover parties or just sleeping over at a friend's house like an extended playdate?

I think 11/12 was when I went to my first sleepover party. I don't think I ever slept over at a friend's house other than sleepover parties.

My 6 year old daughter has slept over at our close friend's house once, and her friend was 5 when she tried to sleep over here but never actually fell asleep so her parents picked her up at 11 p.m. I don't think I would be comfortable with it unless it was a close friend. I don't predict my younger ones sleeping over at a friend's house that young because they are wretched sleepers.

03-21-2014, 03:18 PM
6ish. DS has them regularly with his bff, and we are close with the family. DD 6 has her first tonight!

03-21-2014, 06:03 PM
It is more partyish, I think. They are having pizza delivered at 10:00, when they start a movie. Plus, she would be the youngest by two years. I'd love for her to go and stretch her wings a bit, but will support her decision either way. She's still dealing with this new older-kid version of separation anxiety since BIL's death... I think that's the main issue.

03-23-2014, 03:31 AM
She bailed. We had a great night, and she was happy with her decision. Until the next day. Then, she regretted it: "I hope I remember this when 4H camp comes up."

(yeah, me too)

03-23-2014, 08:09 PM
Probably varies with the kid, like so many other things, but my daughter felt so sorry for a little 5 year old girl who was the younger sibling of one of the 10-year-olds at a sleepover, who missed her Mama come bedtime, and cried. My daughter and the other girls did their best to comfort her, but that was just way too young.

I think a good benchmark is, when they are old enough to not require being tucked in and kissed goodnight by the parents, (meaning, even if they still like it, they are okay without it if you say, "Can you come get a kiss and then go to bed by yourself tonight, hon? Daddy and I have to do the taxes" and they won't come down 15 minutes later upset and needing you) they are old enough to handle sleeping away from home without their parents.

It's a good test of readiness, I think.

03-24-2014, 11:25 AM
My son was 'ready' at the age of 5, but we didn't have friends whom I knew well enough and trusted enough until he was 7. My daughter wasn't ready till she was 7. So 7 was kind of a magical age around here.

03-24-2014, 12:30 PM
We started with sleep overs at our house. Both have had friends over. I hate it. I stay up late but I don't like the kids staying up all night. I'm pretty strict about bedtime.

Dd slept over at her friends house for the first time at 10. They moved and until then didn't have room to host other kids. The mom is pushing me to let my son sleep over. I've tried to tell her he's not ready, physically and emotionally to be away from home. He just turned six yesterday. I also don't approve of her sleeping habits. She takes medication every night and goes to bed early. She had no idea what the girls were doing until she woke up at 5 am. I think he can wait and if his friend (2 years older and turning into a real sh**head bully) doesn't like it, that's just do darn bad.

Can you tell I really want to distance myself? :) My kids have never had a sleepover with family or for a party.

03-25-2014, 02:10 PM
My daughter was about 8 I think but I have never been a fan. They always throw off the equilibrium of things for the whole family. I always preferred "half sleepovers" where I'd pick her up late like midnight, or take the friend home. We never did much sleepovers and now my dd is 14 and it happens but not very often, thank goodness. She has a really hard time bouncing back from no sleep. It literally makes her sick so I always have to be sure nothing important is going on the day after or it's ruined for everyone. I always thought it was a stupid thing.

01-06-2015, 08:06 PM
Elle had a million cousin sleep overs from the time she could walk....but her first friend sleep over would have been when she stated public school in eighth grade.

I had my first sleepover when I was six....at my best friend's house when I was in first grade. Same crazy woman is still my best friend, and I see her once a week for girl's night:) She and I take a small "girl's vacation" every year where we escape our husbands and families for a long weekend. This practice has kept me sane. There is nothing on Earth as valuable to your sanity....as a really good girlfriend. I love mine like family. (and sometimes, even more...lol)

01-06-2015, 09:47 PM
It varies with the child. 6 was the perfect age for my extroverted caucasian daughter to start, but my biracial big-for-his-age son needed his mom to say, "He's not old enough yet." to his well meaning caucasian friend's mom so no feelings would be hurt.

I'm not sure if I would have let him go if he'd wanted to because I'm not sure if I knew how to explain about hoodies and toy guns to her before recent political movements made it socially acceptable to do so. It was just a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, not anything I had any words for at the time.

I don't know how old he'll be when the sinking feeling goes away or whether he would want to have a sleepover with a black family now if he was invited, but I feel exactly the way the OP does about kids getting excited and then changing their minds at the last minute. IIRC, I made a few 3 AM drives to pick dd up when she changed her mind.

When my older son was a teen, I never had just one teenager at home; I either had teenagers in sleeping bags strewn all over my house or else ds was with the rest of the gang somewhere else and one of the moms i could call or email would know where they were if i didn't.

01-06-2015, 09:50 PM
Myself - I had sleepovers with friends very rarely and only after I had turned 14 or 15. My girls - do not see them happening any time soon ...or for a loooong-looong time. I just do not see any positives in them, only sleep deprivation, disturbance to the whole next day's family time and a potential for dramas and conflicts.

01-06-2015, 11:18 PM
It's an interesting question....What is valuable about a sleepover?

To me, it's an opportunity to gain confidence and independence. Kids get to see how other families work, how problems are solved in other households, how rules and expectations differ. They get trusted with the responsibility of caring for themselves and following new rules. It's an exercise in coping, adaptation, and self-reliance.

And they have fun. That's really the bottom line. It's a gift to your kid. Yep, it's a pain in the arse to put up with a sleepover.....but it teaches empathy and common consideration. For instance...

Ok, kid, we're letting you have a sleepover, we're going to bend the usual rules and let you have a blast with some friends (which we acknowledge are important relationships in your life), we're going to let you do crazy fun stuff within safety and reason .....can translate into a child having empathy for you, too...and caring that you get to enjoy things that make you happy, too. Your cooperation with what's important to them = their cooperation with what's important to you.

Also, it's a great opportunity to get to know your kid's friends better...to understand what attracts your kid to other people...to see what the relationship dynamics are. As your kids get older....close friendships will significantly inform their ideas, their humor, their interpersonal skills, their attitudes. Also, a few dramas and conflicts can be a good thing. You learn about your friends that way, and about yourself. Sometimes it helps you both to grow in better directions. Whoops, I changed my mind at the last minute? It happens. Whoops, I'm not feeling brave enough to spend the night tonight? Meh, that's cool...maybe next time you'll stay longer:)

I agree that sleep overs should be planned carefully so they don't interfere with high stress times, or times other important things are planned......but sometimes everyone needs a mental health day when they're allowed to laugh like maniacs half the night and just enjoy being alive. Kids are no different.

Whenever we planned sleepovers, we had a few rules. First...no last minute sleep overs. They had to be planned at least 48 hours in advance. They had to happen on Friday nights, and we had to have an pre-agreed-upon ending time on Saturday. That way, there were no surprises, and we could still schedule whatever else needed to happen that weekend. We had rules about checking in (if our kid went away, she had to check in on her cell phone), about types of things that would END a sleepover (dangerous stuff....which never happened)...and about the child being responsible for planning the activities and keeping their friend engaged. (If your friend is bored and unhappy, I'm not entertaining them, I'm driving them home)

I think if a kid isn't ready to follow these rules...he's probably not ready for a sleep over. Some kids can self-manage a fun sleepover very young, for others it takes a while to be that social and organized.

I remember going to my best friend's house when I was six.....we would be so excited, we'd plan a list of things we wanted to do together. Play stuffed animal wedding, make outfits for our stuffed animals, take a walk around her property, feed her chickens, play games in her basement, make egg-drop soup, draw pictures, tell stories, play imagination games, talk about all sorts of weird things...we talked non-stop (and still do!), we'd spy on her sisters, put little bowls of water in the window wells for toads, play outside in her play room in the barn....at night we'd chase fireflies, tell ghost stories, laugh half the night about stupid stuff, play flashlight tag, "camp" outside by sleeping in their conversion van...lol, play marbles, just wonderfully pointless stuff we came up with in the moment. I always came home feeling like I'd spent a week in a very exotic and magical land. It was glorious:)

01-16-2015, 04:23 AM
I'll be the odd one out and say 3 (for friends. Family was earlier). My daughter just turned 4 and loves sleepovers. My son is almost 6 and doesn't like them yet. But we live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone and early sleepovers are the norm here. 4yo went last week to a sleepover with 2 other girls for a 5yos birthday, another 5yo birthday sleepover happened the week before, where my 5yo went (he wanted to walk home before bedtime, and did). We had my daughter's 4yo friend sleep over last summer as well.

But perhaps if it's with a small set of families you've known for a long time that it's a bit closer to the "cousin" example.

01-16-2015, 01:39 PM
I was probably 7 or 8 when I had my first night at a friend's house, and did it a handful of times before the spark wore off. Dd is 13 and has done it once. We're kind of a different case, though, with the ASD on board. Regardless, I would need to know the family as well as the friend, and feel super comfortable, especially with younger kiddos. I'll admit I'm probably on the overprotective side. Having had my own experiences with abusive situations, and knowing so many people who have had similar, and with people they thought they knew and could trust - cousins, sibs of friends, even the friends themselves - I am cautious. I was just talking about this with someone who had been assaulted as a teen by a casual friend. She told me her daughter was assaulted by a family member, her mother-in-law by a family friend... It's far more prevalent than it would appear, mostly because so few people come forward and so few cases are prosecuted. All of this talk of stranger danger gives a false sense of security, I think.

01-16-2015, 02:01 PM
I was sleeping over with friends by age 7 or 8. I loved that sneak peak into how other families operated and lived. It probably gave me hope. My son has never slept over at a friend's house. He doesn't want to. He has had ASD issues and allergies and anxiety issues in the past, but could now, but he doesn't really know anyone close enough who he likes enough, who we trust enough for that to happen. He sleeps over at my parents' house sometimes so he can sleep away from home. But he likes his room, his bed, our home - he's a homebody. DH is the same way.