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Sleepovers, Yes or No? That is The Question!

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e have a family rule: we don’t do sleepovers. I don’t want her out of our house for the night; she’s only 8 and in 3rd grade. I CANNOT imagine the night that I go to bed and she’s not in her bedroom, 15 feet away from me. I CANNOT imagine the night that I don’t wake up because I hear her peeing in the middle of the night. I CANNOT imagine not having her jump in my bed and waking me up before the birds in the morning!

I play out all kinds of scenarios when I think of her sleeping over somewhere: What if she wakes up and can’t get back to sleep? What if she has a bad dream and needs me? What if she falls out of bed and is scared? What if there’s a fire? What if there’s a break-in? What if there is a gun in the house? Do we really know the family? Do we absolutely KNOW without a doubt that they will keep our child safe? This is where my mind goes. Literally, I think of any and everything that could happen even though I realize that most (probably none) of these things will ever happen. But, what if they did?

This is how my husband & I both feel. Parenting is hard. Harder than I imagined, actually. I had sleepovers all the time as a kid. Times were different. My parents were worriers (I know where I get it), but I was allowed to sleep over at a few of my friends’ houses. I’m not sure how old I was, but it happened and everything was fine. Bottom line: I’m not ready and she’s not ready.

It’s really hard making a decision that you know will make your kid(s) and their friend(s) sad. That’s the last thing I want to do. But, I realize, and it’s taken some time, that being a parent means making hard decisions. I’m not my girls’ best friend. I’m their mother. I’m here to care for and protect them – no matter what. That love means not always liking one another, but ALWAYS making the decision that is right for them in the end.

But, not all families have the same rules and that’s what makes it hard. I feel bad every time I say no. Whether it be to the parent hosting the sleepover or the child having it, or to my own daughter(s). What I want and need people to understand is that it’s MY issue. It’s nothing personal – it’s just a family rule. Some families have different rules and that’s the way the world works. Listen, I let my girls have soda sometimes and in some families that is an ABSOLUTE no no! My girls can stay til 10pm and have all the fun until then. I just need them to sleep at home. I’ll even take them back in the morning for waffles! And to be fair, this rule applies across the

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board, with the only exception being grandparents.

Now that my kids are old enough to actually discuss things with, I’ve tried to explain why they have to sleep home. And, honestly, I think they get it. I actually think deep down they appreciate it. They definitely feel like they are missing out, but at the same time, I think they appreciate how much they are loved and know that I’m not trying to be mean and say no for no reason. At this point, I think they may also feel some relief. Last week, we went to pick up my daughter at 9:30pm from a sleepover (she wasn’t sleeping over). I can tell you, that she hopped up faster and was ready to go quicker than any other playdate pick-up I have EVER seen! She was ready to come home. We talked about the party, snuggled and she fell sound asleep in her own bed. Life was good and the way it should be.

How do you all feel? What are your thoughts on sleepovers for elementary school kids? I’m curious as to whether we’re in the minority or if others feel the same. I feel better with us all under one roof. One dad recently told me that I’m like a mama bird because I like having everyone in my nest. He’s right! All my little birdies under the same roof!

Let us know what you think.

~Johanna

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