By Katie Moosbrugger

When did we decide – as parents – that sleepovers were a good idea? Sure, the notion can sound dreamy (especially if mom and dad get the house to themselves one night), but let’s admit it: the next day can be a true nightmare for both parents and kids.

Ever since my kids were about 8, we went into full slumber party mode. Rarely a weekend goes by that I don’t get a request to have so-and-so sleep over or a call from a mom asking for my child to spend the night at their house. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not opposed to sleepovers. They can be a lot of fun and my kids love them – so we’ll continue them. But I’ve also had many conversations about how to navigate through some of the trickier sleepover scenarios that can arise. So, I thought we could use today’s post to share tips and advice with one another to ensure a happier day-after for parents and kids alike!

Scenario 1: Do You Put Limits on How Many Can Sleep Over at One Time?
My sleepover limit is usually just one to two friends at a time. Yet I hear of many brave parents who allow for as many as 10-15 kids sleep over for a birthday party or other special occasion. Props to those moms and dads, but I am OK with being a wimp on this scenario. Do you think there’s a magical number to ensure sleepover success? Or do you let it vary?

Scenario 2:  Do You Allow for All-Nighters or Do You Force Some Shut Eye?
I’ll be honest (warning to those parents whose kids might sleep at my house in the future): I am not the parent who stays up all night ensuring the kids get to sleep and stay asleep. We have a basement/playroom where the sleepovers take place. Usually around midnight (that’s my limit), I say goodnight to them, tell them to settle down, and remind them they are to stay in the basement unless they need to come get me. I know they’re safe, they have access to a bathroom, and unless I hear them causing a ruckus in the middle of the night, I get some shut eye myself. On the flip side, I know parents who will announce a lights-out time and stay in the room until all the kids fall asleep. What’s your protocol for getting sleep to come in your home?

Scenario 3: Do You Agree to Sleep Overs at Homes Where You Don’t Know the Parents?
Fortunately, my kids have not yet been invited to sleep at house where I haven’t already known the parents, or at least had some time to get acquainted well enough before the event. But I know it’s inevitable that one day my child will be invited to a sleepover or a slumber party at a home where I know nothing about the family. Not sure how to manage this scenario when it arises, but I’m hoping my motherly instinct will steer me through it. Have you been in this situation? How did you handle it?

Scenario 4: Would You Allow for a Co-Ed Sleep Over?
A friend of mine told me her third grade daughter was invited to a sleepover party for one of the boys in her class. The kids were to sleep in tents in the backyard – girls in one tent and boys in another. She asked me if I would allow my daughter (who was also in third grade at the time) to attend, and my initial reaction was no. However, third graders are pretty innocent and my daughter had co-ed sleepovers for years with a boy her age (yet our families are so close they are almost like cousins). How about you? Would you allow your child to attend a co-ed sleepover, and up to what age?

Scenario 5: Are There Other Factors that Make You Draw the Line?
Finally, even if I know the parents well and I am certain my child will be safe, there are always other lingering factors that make me second guess whether or not a sleepover is a good idea. For instance, my daughter was once invited to a sleepover with a friend who had a much older (and not so innocent) brother – and all I could think about was how easily the brother could share an inappropriate YouTube videos or other information. I did not allow for that sleepover, and I still consider who all will be the house when my child spends the night.

Lots of questions regarding many different scenarios! If you’ve found yourself in one of these (or many of these) situations – or if you just have an opinion or two – chime in and let us know your thoughts!

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