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  1. My kids have been having sleepovers since they were 6, and not with grandparents as they are not active in our lives. As a mom who was molested by my neighbor (for months during the daytime) I could not cancel my kids joy just bc I had some bad happen to me. We have a rule that they need to have sleepovers here as I want to know my kids friends and their families, but they are allowed to go to friends as well (although they have a few friends who do not have great home lives and rather stay at our house which I’m ok with bc I know they are fed and cared for). Everyone has different rules and lives, and I think we should make choices that work best for us. My current issue is my tweens and teens want later curfews and I’m not ready for that lol

  2. Valerie Daloia says:

    I’m also a no sleepover mom.
    I also am not popular among the pleeesssse mooommmm
    It’s not that I don’t trust my child..
    It’s I don’t trust society
    Strangers ect with my son all night..
    Innocence is precious and I intend to keep him just that as long as possible..ty


  3. Hi 👋 I agree totally with the no sleepover rule. I have always felt uncomfortable leaving my boys sleep anywhere but un their own beds. Good to know I’m not alone in this way of thinking…

  4. Thank you for this. My daughter is 11 and has just started wanting to stay over with friends. I’m still not ok with it. Your post reminded me why it’s ok to stick to my guns!

  5. Good point. My son has ADHD and he is going to his first sleepover next week with two other kids. I know both of them, they’re good boys. Their parents are lovely too. But I can’t shake the feeling of being nervous, you know?

  6. Danielle Ganje says:

    I came across your post as I was looking for more information. My question is: Does this policy apply to things like a sleep-away camp as well?

    As a youth program coordinator, I help coordinate and facilitate overnight events (like camps, leadership retreats/training, etc.) I recently had a parent inform me of a similar policy they have. As a youth development professional, my concern is that their ability to make close relationship bonds outside the home could be impacted by such a policy. For example, right now I am getting ready to train a group of high school camp counselors, it is an overnight training. We deliver content until 11:30 p.m. and make use of every minute we have with the team. We then allow them free-time until lights out where they can connect and build relationships with the other youth staff. It really helps bring everyone a sense of unity and belonging. Without that shared experience, we would not get the desired outcomes. (Disclaimer: There are rules for lights out, staff monitor to make sure the kids are actually going to bed and boys and girls sleep in completely opposite areas, with adult staff in between to monitor).

    As a parent, I understand the desire to keep our kids safe and protect them at any cost. Where I struggle, is the desire as well to equip them with all the necessary tools needed in life. Research shows that sleep-away camps provide soo many life skills and benefits. I wouldn’t want a personal fear to get in the way of that. My plan for my kids is to only allow sleepovers with parents I know well. My daughter is young, but next weekend we are doing a joint sleepover with big girls (moms) and the little girls. Everyone is looking forward to it. As my kids get older I look forward to giving them opportunities for independence and development outside the home (within reason).

    1. I came across this, and I’m on the fence to be honest.. I’m fine having kids sleep over at our house but she, our 9 yo, hasn’t slept over at anyone’s house except my parents and my sisters.. as for camps.. it’s true, it is a great bonding experience. I spent many times at a camp growing up, but to have a safe assumption even at a Christian camp is wrong. I remember when I was around 8-9 and I was as at a Christian kids camp and the camp counselor, who was a mom in her 30s completely undressed from the waist up, no bra on. I turned away because I felt uncomfortable and was raised to not look at someone’s nakedness, she saw me looking away and was like “it’s ok we are all girls here, we all have the same stuff” and I still looked away and the other kids were kind of pressuring me like it wasn’t a big deal.. and some parents might not see that as a big deal but, I did and do for my kids now.. and even if there was no I’ll intention from that counselor, it still desensitizes children to be more open in other situations in the future. My thing is as a parent, it is really hard to entrust others with you child’s well being, I don’t think “no sleepovers” is right in our family, but definitely it is selective. And I totally understand why some do no sleepovers, but for us I just say “I like to get to know the parents a little more”..

  7. My daughter is 10 years old and I will only allow a sleepovers if I am there too. If I can’t crash on the couch or a cot, then she can’t stay either. That’s the rule or it is off the table. Only exception – granny’s house.

    1. Hi, Natalie! I’m a freelance journalist reporting for the New York Times on sleepovers, and I’d love to hear more about your experiences sleeping over with your daughter. I’m trying to show the wide range of choices parents make these days. You can find me on Twitter @erin_sagen. Take care!

  8. This issue has recently come up thanks to my sister and relatives having kids that are around the ages this stuff starts.

    One told me, “Well, you had sleepovers all the time. I don’t understand the problem.” It’s true that either somebody was at my house or I was at theirs almost every weekend. There is a huge catch here though. The plot of land our home was on was shared with my step-dad’s brother and his family. His son and I were only a year apart and the family was extremely close. Even late at night we would go from one house to the other. The adults stayed up and played video games with us most of the time. “Go to bed” meant exactly that as well. I stayed with my grandparents a lot. I also had ONE friend in school that I was close to from junior high onward. I never stayed anywhere else. On three or four occasions I was allowed to have somebody different come over. My mom was picky.

  9. It really doesn’t have to be all or nothing. At this time, my daughter is 9 and can have 1 on 1 sleepovers with a limited number of friends. My two main rules are we have to know the families very well, and she can only do them during the summer. The second will probably change as she gets older and handles sleep deprivation a little better.

    I don’t think we will ever let her go to a group sleepover. I’d be fine with sending her away to a well-supervised overnight camp, but I’ve been to enough group sleepovers to know they are often very poorly supervised by parents. One I went to at 12, had a “sex room” (I did not go in it). Another had kids running around the neighborhood in the middle of the night egging houses and ringing doorbells. Another involved bullying. This does not even include the adults being creepy. I turned out just fine, but my sister did not. I will not take that risk with my own child.

    She’ll have plenty of time to explore and spend the night with groups of friends when she’s in college. I think the one-on-one sleepovers can be a lot more fun anyhow.

    1. great approach!! Thank you for sharing! 🙂 I think that’s a super wise line of thought. Much aloha–

  10. I don’t know if you are still reading these comments but I’m curious to know your opinion about kids staying over at grandparent/step grandparents’. My daughter age 7 stays at her grandma’s usually once a week, and it looks like grandma’s relationship with her boyfriend is getting serious. He goes to church, is a schoolteacher, seems perfectly harmless. At the point they move in together, do I stop overnights altogether? Is that offensive?

    1. oh boy…that is a tough one! 🙂 Staying with Grandma is awesome, but if a boyfriend moves in without marrying her, I would personally pull the brakes. It may be a bit uncomfortable but that should not stop you. IF the man is a Christian (assuming you mean a Christian church?) then he should not move in with a woman unless he is married to her. And if he does, I would personally not trust him. I would just do your best to handle it delicately but respectfully by saying that your daughter would love to spend time with the two of them, but you don’t feel comfortable with overnighters with a live-in boyfriend in the house. Hopefully they can respect your position. The fact that you’d be happy for her to spend time with them shows that it isn’t that you don’t like him, but an overnighter is a big deal and you have the right to make that call. Hope that helps a little…? (Sounds to me like you already knew what was right…just be strong in your gut instinct!)

      1. Thank you so much. I hate to not trust people but I don’t trust people. 🙂 I’m sure he’s just fine, but I appreciate a second opinion to know I’m not being overprotective.

  11. I’m curious about how you would communicate the No sleepover policy to family members (i.e. Uncles). I have a brother who wants to spend time with my daughter in the same fashion as he had our nieces when they were younger. My daughter is 10 and the nieces are both adults (I got started late…). He has asked to take her out to eat on his own. We just say no, we can all go together. Now he has asked to keep her over the weekend (visit relatives, go to a movie, out to eat, etc). My brother and I don’t have the same values when it comes to TV and internet, which causes me and my wife concern. So I’m readying myself for the awkward and potentially damaging conversation (which I prefer over a damaged daughter any day).

    1. Better to prevent than lament… if you have a gut feeling about this speak to your kid’s doctor about your reservations and best way to communicate with your brother. Your brother will hopefully in time understand, if not, too bad. Or tell him that you say no sleepovers with anyone and don’t want to make exceptions so as to not offend anyone. Why this family yes, and the other no (based on red flags). Best to say no to all until your child is much older and can fend for themselves.

    2. Wow you won’t let her go out to eat with him?? What if he just wants to be a good uncle? My husband is an uncle to a sweet little girl and I always encourage him to reach out to her and spend time with her. When she is older she might be grateful to have someone she can turn to (outside of her own parents) to get advice from. I can understand not wanting to send her away for the weekend, but going out to dinner for an hour or two shouldn’t be a problem unless he has shown red flags. You don’t want to be overly protective and dampen his enthusiasm about being a fun uncle! Most kids would love to have an aunt or uncle that actually cares about them and takes an interest in them. And by taking her alone he can have give her his undivided attention. When he goes out with the whole fam, he probably will end up talking to you guys more than her.

  12. I dont let my kids had a sleepover to were new house because that is the rules around were house they can only play with their friends in the afternoon because after they done with their homework they can play outsider for 45 maintues they can play with their tables or ipads too or phones the only play that on the weekends if we are not busy around the house….

  13. Charlotte says:

    We are currently dealing with a friend of our son’s (they are both 10 years old and he also lives in the neighborhood) who is constantly asking to eithier spend the night or just hang out at our home in general. Upon first meeting him, he asked to spend the night. I told him no, and that I would have to meet his parents first. My husband and I met his parents, and he spent the night. In turn, we allowed our son to spend the night at his home. I explained to his friend that sleepovers are only for special occasions. Personally, I am just not comfortable having sleepovers at my home. But I made an exception, since he was a child in the neighborhood. He still asks at least once a week to spend the night!! This has been going on for months now, to the point where I am very worried about him. He even comes with us to my son’s baseball practices, three times a week. And if my son can not play, then he will hop from one child’s house to the next, rather then go home. One day, he came by my house three times. I finally asked, what is going on? Apparently his mom’s ex-husband lives in the house with them. He is the father of the three oldest children. But the current husband lives there too, who adopted my son’s friend. He told me the ex-husband is mean to him, that he will not leave the house and instead of paying the mother child support, he bought a weapon instead! I was at a total loss. I allowed him to spend the night. I then emailed my son’s teacher and told her the situation, and that although I do not think he is being physically abused, something is just not right. She in turn forwarded my concerns to the school conselor. Needless to say, he still asks, and wants to hang out all of the time. (But I also find he can be pushy and a little manipulative). I do not know what to do. And it really gnaws at me! I want to speak to his parents, but I am not sure how to? Overall, he is a sweet kind, but I know in my heart something is just off! If anyone can offer any advice, I will take it!

    1. Charlotte,
      Oh wow…what a situation!! I have met kids like that and heard other similar stories. It is so complicated, and bless your heart for being the one that seems to be responding with love and concern. A few quick thoughts, though it will not be simple no matter what.
      First of all, I am certain that the loving home you have shown this boy is a huge blessing in his life. You will not know until possibly much later what all he is learning and gaining from time with your family. Your steady role in this boys life could change his entire course…I’m so glad you’ve been there for him!
      YET: Your first responsibility is to your own family and your son in this situation. It does sound like the boy has a sketchy situation at home, so I would not allow your son to spend the night there ever. I also would be careful about any time the boy is with your son. I would try to not let them be alone. Sadly, as sweet as the boy is, if he is surrounded by dysfunctional relationships, he likely will have some messed up tendencies as well. You do not want to risk him influencing your son in any negative ways. Personally, I would not allow him to spend the night at your home. It can be as simple as “We had a family meeting, and decided we are not going to do sleepovers at all. I’m sorry buddy!” I would suggest talking to your son (you probably have but in case–) in an appropriate way to help him understand the situation. Pray for the boy and decide the role you will play in his life. But also set boundaries. You may need to sit the boy down and tell him that you care about him, but that he needs to find other resources as well; Perhaps a Boys and Girls Club? Or after school organization through a church or charity group would be available that he might hang out and have positive influences? You were wise to bring this to the school’s attention and I do hope the counselor has some resources available. I would keep looking into those things and continue to support the boy the best you can by offering him some options. You do not want him dependent on you for all of his needs. Hope something in there helps…it’s a tough one! Please keep me posted. 😉 Aloha-

      1. Charlotte says:

        Thank you for your reply! It is just what I needed to hear. As a matter of fact, he came over again today, although my son told him we were not going to practice, so no need to come by. So I will stress that unless we are going to practice, that during the week, no play dates. And the sleeping over is out of the question! One day I found him in my son’s room, as my son was not in there. I asked him what he was doing, and he said he just found his way in there. Very strange!!! Also, due to remodeling we have put out alot of trash. On many occasions we have seen it at his home, in their front yard. But we have never said anything…as we put it out in the street…no big deal. But one night I actually saw them. I think they were embarrassed, but I told them they could have this one piece of furniture inside the house. They never came to get it, but once I put it out…I saw them grab it. And the son asked me for some shoes my son could not use (brand new) as they did not fit. I said of course you can. So again, something is just not right, and I have told my son to be mindful about what he tells him we have in our home. And I do monitor them both, when he is here. Thanks again for the advice!!!

  14. As for sleepover rules, we have to know both parents (and children) well for a couple years, trust them well, and both of us need to have had to be at their home. Also, we never will allow our child to go to multiple child sleepovers. I’ve been to enough of those and know friends who have to know they are much more potential for trouble—from possible jealousy/bullying issues to kids going out in the middle of the night to play pranks and/or break laws when they get older. We also only allow them during he summer for the sake of sleep (it’s exhausting hosting and/or dealing with a tired kid during a school week).

    This does not guarantee our child is safe from bad sleepovers, but it does reduce the chances of something going wrong. There may be other parents who judge us for this, but they can go stick it. Our kid’s safety (and our sanity) comes before popularity any day. I know plenty of adults who didn’t even get sleepovers as kids yet they turned out to be fantastic and not feeling like they lost out.

  15. Good advice except for one thing. Our world has *not* changed. It is really unfortunate people continuously say it’s more dangerous. This is absolutely not true. Statistically our world has become safer for children. Those who think it is “more dangerous” grew up happy, lucky, and/or the privileged not to be victimized. There were plenty of kids in the 80s and 90s who encountered horrible things at sleepovers. That is where many of those “stories” come from. Parents were just too hands off back then between the rise of divorce and just coming down from the party days of the 70s. Our society still unfortunately suffers from an imbalance of fear and/or crapping on intuition. If we learned to pay attention and listen to our gut and common sense before making parenting choices, children could live fear/helicopter-parent-free *and* be safer than they were in the 80s/90s.

    1. Thank you for the comments! I think the way our world has changed however, is the internet and kids with access to devices. This is a total game changer. but yep–I totally agree with you that much has not changed and it was a dangerous world when I was growing up as well. Thanks again–great comments! aloha-

    2. But ……kids these days have trouble latterly in the palm of their hands (cell phones) and can be exposed to things that we could ever think of at our 70-80’s sleepovers.

  16. We allow our children to have/go to a sleepover 4 times a year. Is this reasonable? Also, make sure you know the parents before sending your child off to some strangers house. Even if your child knows the kid, you should know the parents and their contact information.

  17. Hi ≧ω≦, I’m a teen who has parents that WANT sleepovers for me ¥-¥. They often have my cousins or friends of mine unexpectedly come over and BAM! I find out that they are staying in my room for the night 0-0. Period -_- . One time I was very sick and it didn’t matter if I was sick or not or if they would get sick, two not-so-friendly aquantances slept on my bed and pull out bed, I slept on the floor. I have exams coming up, like most students, and my parents expect me to have unplanned, unconsented (if thats a word) sleepover. I’m guarenteed to not get a lot of homework and studying done since its also expected I “keep my guest entertained” How can I be more firm with my answer to no?!

    1. Wow Trinity–Interesting scenario you have shared…(thank you so much for taking the time to share!) Since I don’t know you or your folks, it is hard for me to say tooooo much, but I would always start with a sit-down conversation about this, when it isn’t a stressful moment. Let them know how you feel and how it affects you (especially school and health.) I don’t know if it would help to have them read my post or not, but I think if you maturely present your case, they will hopefully at least be MORE sensitive to you than they have been. Please keep me posted, I am very curious about this! Meanwhile, way to be diligent and reasonable. You sound like a diligent young lady! Aloha-

      1. I have done this before multiple times, but decided to give one more small talk with them, as you suggested, and hope for the best. Unfortunantly, we still have opposing views; clearly stating that they have control over who gets to come and go, because they didn’t get the choice either when they were younger. I’m just going to keep quiet now; it only causes more argueing, and that is not what either of us want. I think this is the best choice and I will just have to wait until I am old enough and on my own. Though, some good news, they only had one person come over since this new year. ^^

  18. I’m 16 and I can sleepover all the time as long as it’s only with other girls and not on school nights. As for boys, I can have them over until midnight or 11 pm, mostly depending on my relationship with him (ie close friend vs new boyfriend). I’ve had plenty of sleepovers that were planned last-minute. Sleepovers are a great place to bond with your friends! With girls, especially in middle school, sleepovers can be dramatic and have negative effects, but my friends and I are usually very easy-going and hate drama. I very rarely have experiences with sleepovers that made me uncomfortable, and if something does come up then I or my friends put a stop to it. Sleepovers are a fun way to hang out and take your mind off stress, or make great time for my closest friends who are going through hard times to be able to talk to somebody about it. I absolutely love getting to bond with my friends and spend an extended amount of time with them!

  19. What do you say to a young homeschooling teen about being more on their own? I am thinking about my son taking classes at the community college, doing research at a college library, taking local high school classes, etc. This is new for our homeschooling journey but public restrooms … the unthinkable happened to a kid in our town. Abductions are real and one happened in the next town over. Our particular bubble is generally safe but I am not sure how to prep him for what is outside the bubble. I do have some fear, not the irrational kind but the cautious kind. I am hoping for practical suggestions and I am praying a lot.

    1. Karen, I totally get your concerns, but I think if your son is a teenager, and well prepared for how to respond if something out of the ordinary happened, then you are probably safe to let him go a bit. I would suggest role playing a few scenes and make sure he is on guard. Of course always pray, but I think if your son is comfortable then you should be too! 🙂 (and so sad/sorry about whatever happened in your community. I just hate hearing the stories!) Blessings–

  20. Yesss Samie i Agree!! I think as parents we have to come to some sort of common grounds & make fair choices for our children. If you choose to not let your children sleep out, but let them have pj parties be concious of their friends feelings and friends parents feelings too. To some people that is a sign that they either shouldnt trust u or that u shouldnt trust them, because yes u want to protect ur kids at all cost, but if u dont trust me I cant trust you either because to me my kid is my world too. Lets be reasonable here. Either its allowed both ways or it isn’t, dont make your kid and other families feel excluded because you want to be hypocritical. Obviously choose people youre close to but if that isnt an exception either, live in that bubble alone.

  21. I have a “No Sleep Over” policy and the exceptions are only my childrens grandmothers. I used to allow my boys to stay at one other close relatives home, until a few things happened & made me realize you dont really know anyone as well you think you do. Nothing serious, but nonetheless frustrating…#1 This relative would constantly go out of their way to host sleepovers & beg to keep my kids but an hour later at 9 or 10 p.m. the latest after only playing for an hour or two theyre all in bed. (Why take peoples kids from a fun weekend in their own home to send them straight to bed at yours?? That is pointless)
    #2 This relatives children have bad sleep cycles (according to the mom) and wake up at 4a.m. so when they hosted sleepovers the parents never failed to emphasize on our kids waking them up at 4a.m. while they are soooooo exhausted. I totally understand the feeling because at that time its hard to feel energized, but my kids dont wake up at that time at home or anywhere ever, infact they would only be up at this persons home at 4a.m because their kids who already have that habit wake up first & then wake up their guests(because what are manners? Smh). With that being said, this is your life every day, why do you offer to do things to then complain & make it sound like a burden? Any clearheaded person would agree that if you don’t want to do something that no one even asked u for, u probably shouldnt go around offering it. Let it come from the heart always.. Because believe it or not kids can sense this too after awhile.
    #3 Lastly this person who always seems so happy to help the world & then burdened by life itself a minute later if an offer ever is taken, never lets her kids stay at my house. Now i’m not a big fan of hosting anything in our home because now a days people seem to not set any behavior rules in place for their children like the back talking, bullying, & walking away from you without permission even outside, but i still try to host from time to time with families we know well because in my eyes the kids wont always be kids & they deserve some fun in a homey but different setting with supervision. Also im a strong believer in positive attitudes being more contagious than negative so i dont mind my children spending time with others who may not be as respectful because of this, but i absolutely despise people who try to make it seem like it is the other way around. Any time we ask to have a sleepover the answer is no, but hilariously enough most of the time THEY ask us to host one & after we agree they leave us hanging & call the next day at sun rise for a sitter-No!. It is your right to decline any & all invitations, but it is also very rude to leave people hanging over & over even when you’re the one who asked. &It is also very disrespectful to lie & make my kids excited & wait all day at home when we could have done anything else, for something you’re not even serious about.
    #4 Don’t “plan” a sleepover at my home & leave me hanging purposely just so u can know for sure that i’ll be home the next day which is what this person always really wanted for a day sitter, but for some reason could never say upfront. Now i’ve wasted time, feel disrespected, & no longer care about your feelings.
    #5 Rant is over but #5 had to fit in because it was a pet peeve when dealing with this relative too,,, please don’t send your kid(s) on group trips with other people & their kids to do outdoor activities if you dont have any money because honestly nothing is cheap. A mom who is offering to take her kids out with others to supervise is already handling a lot, the least you could do is send them out with money to cover their expenses, dont ask me (thats awkward & common sense) just do it. If you’re broke its okay to decline the offer, trust me no one is going to cry because they dont have to pay for another persons tab, & this is also a good time to instill the good ol “you cant be everywhere all the time” or “money has to be earned” lessons or what ever but figure it out mom & dad.

    1. I forgot to mention how my child cut himself badly twice at this relatives house & she wasnt even aware.. Because supervision right? So that was the breaking straw for me.. No respect for my kids feelings or my time, no boundaries, & clearly not enough supervision. Being older than my dh and I, i always thought of them as good inffluences because they preach so much about good parenting/healthy lifestyles, careers etc, but now i know the grass isnt always greener. Amazes me how some people have such obnoxious habits but always seem to down play them so well, pretend to be oblivious, or better than thou even when their own life is rocky. Am i the only one who has gone through something like this? I really just can’t stand two fwo faced people.

  22. We have a no sleepover policy as well. I was molested by my friends older brother. Everyone trusted him, good family friend. We knew them super well. You could trust him, star athlete, straight As. All of the above, he had it. It can be anyone, even your sister’s brother, even your brother. It’s so sad, but unfortunately that’s our world. I don’t make it scary, it’s just our rule. I am arming my daughter with tools on how to protect herself when she is out in the world, but for now it’s my job!

  23. Hello,
    My 7 year old has been invited to a sleepover this Friday. I don’t know the family that well but said yes as I couldn’t think of an excuse at the time.
    I don’t have any concerns about them in particular but would prefer to know them more before I let her go.
    I don’t know what to say now to let them know I have changed my mind or how to approach the situation. I don’t want to be rude.

    1. Hey Sally, I don’t think it would be too difficult or awkward to just reach out and tell the family you still plan to send your son but you’ll be picking him up before bedtime. Just let them know that you realized he/you are not ready and thank you so much for the invite. Your son will likely be relieved in the end, and you’ll feel better too. Don’t make too big of a deal out of it, just let them know and move on! 🙂 (I just did that with my 13 year old recently and the family was totally cool.) Keep me posted! aloha-

  24. More and more parents today are having second thoughts about allow their children to attend or host sleepovers. No, that’s not true. Parents of school-age children are putting their foot down and saying “No” to such events…and here’s why.

    It turns out that most of the sleepovers they participated in weren’t nearly as innocent and benign as the ones their parents (that includes me) enjoyed. It turns out that their sleepover memories include being exposed to porn, being pressured into doing things they knew were wrong and weren’t comfortable with, being bullied, being left unsupervised and unchaperoned or being left in the care of irresponsible siblings, and being bullied or even sexually molested.

  25. So, the biggest problem I have with this is the mentality that something can happen to your child only overnight. What’s to say that something can’t happen before you pick your child up at 11? We do live in a different time, but need to make this world more trusting and loving. Most people aren’t bad. Use the common sense and judgement that the good Lord gave you and you and your children will stay out of trouble.

    1. How do you guys feel about sleepovers where your kid sleeps on the floor next to their friend who gets to sleep in their own comfortable bed? This has happened to my daughter twice and makes me so mad. Should I say something to the Mom? When I have sleepovers, both kids have the same sleeping arrangements.

      1. haha…Good question. that is kind of funny. I don’t know how old your daughter is, but might be easiest to coach her on what to say if that happens again. (if it bothers her.) Maybe she could tell her friend she would like to “both” be on the floor or in a bed…? I’m not sure what to say–Might be a little different with girls than boys too (I know my boys have been on floors next to their friend’s bed but I don’t think they minded…but I totally see what you’re saying. ;)) I”d love to hear the next chapter if you decide to speak up on this!! aloha-

    2. I was molested by my friend’s brother. My parents knew him well. They probably thought nothing of him being there. He was a straight A student, star athlete, charmer. It can be anyone. We need to arm our children with the tools to protect themselves. Unfortunately, it really can be anyone. My friend’s son was recently molested by her brother in law at a family sleepover. It’s devastating.

    3. Best response I’ve seen so far.

  26. Hi
    I truly appreciate this article so much! I am struggling with this exact question today as my son (12) got a birthday invitation for a sleepover from a school friend, but I don’t know the family and I’m feeling quite uncomfortable about it. My husband is not as worried as I am, and I know that I tend to be overprotective (sometimes very overprotective :)). You’ve given me lots of food for thought. Thanks so much

  27. My son is 14 and has recently made a new friend in our neighbourhood. He went for a sleepover and then asked if his friend could come to our house for a sleepover. We agreed, but told the boys that their cut off time for technology was midnight. As midnight approached, the friend told my son that he wanted to go home because he didn’t like the cut off time (apparently he has no such restrictions at his house). The boys had already spent the majority of the day on various video games and watching youtube. Are we being unreasonable?

    1. MJ…Wow–That’s craziness! No, you are not being unreasonable. In fact, I’d say midnight is quite generous. Bummer, sounds like your son’s new friend has some issues. You might try chatting with the parents to see if the boy is being honest with you. It’s such a disappointment when we hit little roadblocks like this but they usually make for healthy teaching moments.

  28. Sara Mirtaheri says:

    OH am I so glad you did this one. I love having boys come to my house. Being a teacher helps parents relax. My motto is to have my sons friends at my house so I can get to know them. One way I do this is through food. What middle school boy doesn’t love food. I have a very special treat I make and the boys love it.

    One night we had five boys over. They were so excited to have this treat, they asked me if they could make it. That is the best way to know who your child’s friends are and it can give you an opportunity to direct them.

  29. Dulcie Piche says:

    Fantastic commentary ! BTW , if your company is searching for a service to merge two images , my husband discovered text herewww.symantec.com

  30. Thank you for posting this! We have a no-sleepover rule and I’ve been feeling bad about it since none of the other kids in my son’s class seem to have this rule. We hosted a late-night event where parents picked up at 10 pm and the kids had a blast. My oldest is 8 and tonight he asked me why he can’t do them. I told him that people have computers and smart phones and we don’t know what kind of rules they have for those things. I told him it was to protect him, but should I elaborate more? We’ve talked about red flags and read books on abuse etc. When other parents start to question us, what should we say? We actually had a close family friend who was a victim of child abuse and watching them go through this terrible ordeal has had a huge influence on our decisions.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Nikki! 🙂 I honestly think it is best to keep it simple, unless you know someone well. That is why I love the “Our family doesn’t do sleepovers” line…You don’t really owe anyone an explanation then. You know your son best but I wouldn’t feel the need to explain anything to him except you love him and you have made a decision and later on you’ll have more conversations…Hope that helps. You are doing your best and that is what matters! Aloha-

    2. Hi, Nikki! I’m a freelance journalist reporting for the New York Times, and I’d love to hear more about your approach with sleepovers. I’m trying to show the wide range of choices parents make these days. You can find me on Twitter @erin_sagen. Take care!

  31. Today is the first time ever, that our son 14 is planning to go for a sleepover to his friends place. Getting to read your blog today was a blessing in disguise!!! It has helped me raise some doubts and get them cleared. Great help !! Although I remember going for sleepovers and calling friends at my place when I was a kid. Fortunately all the experiences were always positive and good. They helped me evolve from an introvert to extrovert (though I am more on intro side basically). But as a mother, when it comes to children, our senses are alert and all sorts of logic goes for a toss !! So I feel good to read your blog as a timely help.

  32. thank you for this post! my husband and i have adopted this same rule for our family. i agree whole heartedly about the “whys” and “why nots”. i never want my children in an uncomfortable situation that they cannot get out of. we have the “exception clause” as well. we made a big move (1400 miles) two years ago, so we are kind of starting over and don’t have any families that we know well enough yet to be our “exception”, but hopefully we will feel that way about a family in our area in the future. also, a friend of mine shared your blog with me, and i am so glad!

  33. Monica — I heard about this post via the Jamie Ivey podcast, and I am so thankful that I have come across your words. Having had experiences in my own childhood, when staying with extended family, that left scars well into adulthood, I have struggled with how to handle the pressure of sleepovers. My now 6-year-old daughter has already been experiencing the pressure with some of her friends, and so far, both my husband and I have stood firm in saying we’re not ready for that. Now, after reading your words, I have courage that we can firmly say no, that we can also adopt the rule of no sleepovers, and we’re all going to be the better for it! It will be a while before my daughter knows any specifics of my own childhood experiences, but I have confidence she will recognize the importance of why we make the decisions we do!

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Angela! Thank you so much for commenting, and I’m so glad you came by my site. I think you are so wise, and though I am sorry for what you experienced, it might very likely save your own daughter from a bad experience. As she gets older you will have the wisdom to navigate. Meanwhile, so glad you and your husband are on the same page, and stay strong momma! 🙂

  34. I agree with you 100%. I had a friend who had the same rule of no sleepovers. I wish I had done the same. When my oldest was 7 he went to a sleepover party at a very close friends home. The threat actually came from one of the other boys at the party. Not the family he was with but another 7 year old. He went to the parents for “help” in the middle of the night and they were tired and told him to go back to bed. When we picked him up he was relieved to see is but spent a week hidden in his room. By the time we found out what had happened and addresses it no one believed him. His behavior was classic of a child who had been abused and we did get him help. However we can’t take back what happened to him. It will always be there and from time to time I see it now that he is a teen. Protect your children. Late them stay out late but have them sleep at home. I wish I had – the guilt and pain is always with us – just as the invisible scars are on him.

  35. We do allow sleepovers and sleepover parties at our home for our boys. We do, however, have a rule about cell phones/tablets. We collect them all before the boys go to bed. We tell the boys that the rule at our house is no unmonitored internet access. Although they may not like it, they always cooperate.

  36. Perhaps I am looking, but I have seen this more and more now. I have a friend who had this policy and have seen several posts, a few that mention Dobson. I definitely had sleepovers growing up, the ones I remember the most, nothing terrible happened, but those are the ones where it was less pleasant. The best ones were at my own house with a close cousin or friend who was more like me and my family. My 9yo has just had a couple. One was so we could go on an overnight. One was with a friend but wasn’t great. There may be times when she’s older, but I think it’s better off we sleep at home or with close family.

  37. We have a not until you’re 10 rule. And then, not at every friend’s house, or every time they’re asked. It so not worth the ramifications of a late night during the next day, or what they could be exposed to. It’s worked so far, and our kids even turn down sleepovers sometimes because they’d rather be in their own beds.

  38. Seems a bit like bubble wrapping your kids. Avoidance is not always a good strategy. Your kids will encounter evil so front load them first: What should you do if your friend has wifi with no parent supervision etc.
    Im not letting my kids sleep at Joe Strangers house however I would never have a no sleepover rule. Depriving kids of awesome childhood memories and independence simply out of FEAR (and let’s get this straight -… it is your fear not theirs) is wrong.

    1. @Erica, I totally agree with you on the part about teaching your children what to do in X situation. You are also correct that it is the fear of the PARENT, and not the CHILD, in the same way that parents are afraid that there child will step out in front of a car and get hit, but the child doesn’t have that fear as they can’t fully process the consequences.

  39. I am totally with you.
    But I don’t even like the idea of a sleep over at my house.
    I have a 4 yr old boy and a 4 month old girl.
    I don’t want any temptation for either one of them by having the opposite sex in the house once they are older.
    My husband was put in a akward situation at 17 by his dad…. and it was basically a he said she said situation…. and I never want to put my kids threw that.
    I’m so glad so many parents are taking on the no sleepover rule.
    Me and a close friend do late overs often on nights when both our husbands are out late. Works great.

  40. When kids are younger I feel sleepovers are more at question. Things aren’t always as it seems and the risk far outways the benefit. Unless you are blessed to know a family very well with the same values. When kids get older it is easier though. Our home was the home all the kids would want to hang out at. Kids would come over and not leave. They would stay days and sometimes weeks. When my boys were in junior high and highschool my boys and their friends were the size of men. It was not uncommon for me to come downstairs in the morning to find 1 or 3 of their friends sprawled out on the floor sleeping. I loved it because I knew we had a very healthy presence in our home and it was a draw to many children for many years. It gave me the opportunity to get to know my kids circles very well and to poor into all their lives. I do agree that kids eat a lot. I always offered food. Even if they weren’t hungry I would put a big bowl of buttered popcorn out or fresh baked buscuits (any comfort food) and it would get devoured. How the Lord multiplied the fishes and the loaves, that happened every day at our house it was absolutely amazing. I feel like the sleepovers opened up opportunity for ministry for us. But every situation is different, and the Lord gives us wisdom for each one.

  41. Monica, fabulous post! I have a 10 year old daughter and a 6 year old son who have been allowed to sleep over together at an “auntie’s” (one of my BFF’s) house with her two kids, one boy, one girl, of similar ages. I am completely comfortable with that. I also have another BFF whom I trust completely with my kids because she has three kids of her own, and is even more paranoid than I am!!

    Even with these “safe” sleepovers, the thing I worry about is too much “screen time.” It seems EVERYONE these days thinks it’s okay to plop an iPad in front of their kids to entertain them. I see it at restaurants, play dates, car rides….. places I’ve trained my kids to behave, talk to each other, interact with their parents, make eye contact for goodness sake! So I hate to send them off to a house I know has different rules on the “screen time” than I do. These two moms I mention don’t go over the top with it, but at my house, it’s not even an option unless we are side by side for a few minutes playing Words or Candy Crush together, LOL.

    The first sleepover I host will be my daughter’s 10th birthday, and the theme will be an Easter egg hunt and game night. Who knows when they will fall asleep? Probably after midnight 🙂 but at least I know they will be iPad free!

  42. Wow! We COULD be twins ….on this issue. It helps that my husband and I are in complete agreement on this. It’s simply unnecessary in most situations and the risk just doesn’t outweigh the thrill of it. I have seen my boys faces and the relief in their eyes as well. There have been exceptions, of course, such as having missionary kids over for a week to help out parents in Africa, etc…and we had a lot of fun. I appreciate your wisdom and insight on the subject, as in just about every blog you write. Thank you!

  43. Melissa B. says:

    Monica, I want to thank you for writing this post, and now re-posting it for all of us. This is a subject that I have been seriously RETHINKING over the past few weeks. My two oldest children are 11 (son) and 8 (daughter). They have only had sleepovers once every few months, at my brother and sister in law’s home, with their cousins. I have really never had a major issue with this, until I found something out after the most recent sleepover on July 4. A few days after the sleepover, my sister in law shared with me while we had our daily phone conversation, that she had discovered the night before, that her older two boys (12 and 14) had been accessing and viewing porn on their devices (although the parents HAVE set up protection and viewing restrictions on most of the devices their children use, apparently there was ONE that was overlooked) My sister in law and I were (and still are!) horrified, disgusted and saddened that her boys had done this (most likely on multiple occasions). I for one, was and still am, very concerned that my 11 year old son may have been introduced to porn or witnessed it possibly, while at their house for this sleepover 🙁 This is heartbreaking to me, that my child’s innocence may have been taken away if he WAS exposed to pornography in any way! I definitely need to gather some Christian resources to learn THE BEST way to talk to my children (especially my son) about pornography and why it is not good or acceptable to look at, participate in, etc and HOW TO SAY NO TO VIEWING IT in any situation. All of this has caused me to seriously RETHINK if it is safe for my son to be allowed to have a sleepover with this cousins. My son loves to be there with them (he really has no other friends, so I have always encouraged him to spend time with his boy cousins, because I know how important it is to have friends of any kind (even only cousins!). Now, I just don’t know if sleeping over with them is something I can continue allowing (even though it will upset and sadden my son immensely!) . When confronted about the pornography, my 12 year old nephew tried to pin the blame on my 9 year old NIECE, saying that SHE was the one who had looked at these awful sites. Her mom and I know full well that he was just lying to try his best to “get out of” being caught and blamed (and punished!) for what HE KNOWS he and his brother participated in together. It’s completely disgusting to me. Thank you again for giving me something to SERIOUSLY CONSIDER, with the “No sleepover” policy. Have a beautiful, blessed day!

  44. We are of the same mind! We do have sleepovers with family (cousins) and as you said extremely close friends whom we know have the same rules/values. That being said, it is not many. I am amazed at how many sleepovers my kids are invited to who I have absolutely no idea who these people are. And other parents just let their kids go, no questions asked!
    I have a teen and it is definitely getting harder for her. One current instance, she had been getting a lot of pressure from her friends, which obviously happens, and even I got pressure from other parents.! We did the late night thing and I picked her up late and said we had things to do in the morning, which wasn’t a lie as everyone has things to do in the mornings. :•D
    As for the family (cousins) that will prove to be a little more difficult as time goes on as I have boys and the cousins are girls, but I’ll take what I can for right now.

  45. Thank you for this post! We have been struggling with the idea of sleepovers for our kids (8 and 5) and sometimes I feel like they are the only kids who don’t have sleepovers! I like this policy with the exception clause.

  46. I keep hearing, exceptions of “people that I know well.” Naively thinking that child molesters are people that are lurking in bushes at parks or “seem creepy.” But the fact is they are fathers, uncles, brothers, neighbors, coaches even priests and pastors, they are even mothers. It’s not about being percieved as odd or freakish, it’s very simply about not rolling the dice with our children’s safety.
    My younger brother was molested by his soccer coach during sleepovers. He was so afraid, he told no one until many years later when the mother came knocking on our door asking him to testify. One of her three boys had given his name as someone that he had also abused. My mother trusted this man and thought that a father of three boys was a safe place and fun for him to be.
    This experienced changed him and damaged him in so many ways. The idea of parenting a child and keeping him safe was so overwhelming for him, he couldn’t do it. He never married, never had kids and has begged me to never allow his neice or nephew to sleep out. I take his plead seriously.
    I know this is hard to read and it is hard to write, but it is true.
    I hope you post this “not so fluffy” post so that others may benefit.
    As a P.S., the “no sleepovers” policy make the high school years a lot easier when your son or daughter’s new bff is a family you’ve never met and a “playdate” with child and mom no longer happen. With all of the other concerns that high school years bring, having this be a non issue is huge!
    God bless!

    1. I am sorry your family had to experience that situation but I am glad to hear that you find value in the No Sleepover policy. We must not decide its just easier to “compromise” on how we raise our children simply because of pressure from friends and other parents. Valuable information and thank you so much for posting…

  47. Children need to experience a gradual release of responsibility from parent to child, sleepovers provide this opportunity for children to feel slight sense of independence. It seems that many Christian families feel that there are dangerous parents in the neighborhood and that they can’t be trusted. As a teacher I have found that those students who become independent at an early age through simple things such as sleepovers are in the long run better off and able to handle the real world. There are many experiments going on with “free range” children And as I am sure you have read this is controversial however, I have seen many children who are pampered and sheltered go off to college only to find they are not ready for the real world.
    Denying children the simple things such as a sleepover because of fear seems to me to be counterproductive to the long-term development of children’s independence .
    Of course your children would sleep at the home of trusted neighbors or friends. No one is talking about sending children to a strangers house whose children are unfamiliar. Sheltering children from sleepovers seems to only teach that people cannot be trusted and serves to reinforce fears and prejudices that we so desperately need to get rid of in our society. Most people are kind and good especially parents and can certainly be trusted to handle a sleepover.
    Holding their hand forever serves no purpose other than to delay their development into adults .
    Until I read this post I had never heard of parents who didn’t allow for sleepovers.

    1. You are incredibly lucky and blessed to not have had someone close to you suffer from being molested. It is life changng. While most people are good, some who seem good are not. There are many ways to help kids become independent without having a sleep over experience in their younger years. Acceptance and respect for parent’s different choices when it comes to this is key. It’s not so much parenting out of fear as it is from wisdom. Us parents need to love and support one another in our choices. Not allowing kids to sleep out is not going to damage kids, but having a horrible experience while at a sleep over could. Just something to consider.
      God Bless!

      1. Wow, I agree with Mavel.
        Let your kids grow up! ‘
        When I was a child I was warned not to take candy from strangers and yet stranger kidnappings are EXTREMELY rare and so are problems at sleep-overs.

        Why is it always so called “Christian” moms who become helicopter parents. As a Christian I feel you give us a bad name at schools, in PTA’s and in the press.

        Most people in this world are caring and kind. Your children should know how to say “no” and how to report problems however, they should not be cuddled away and not even allowed to attend a sleepover.
        I have a feeling that followers of this post and probably very conservative and very religious but please people, let’s not scare our kids into thinking that the neighborhood is full of molesters and murders and that the parents of their friends are dangerous people. Good grief.

        1. “Most people are caring and kind”… really? Do you have any proof of this? How do you know what lurks in the minds and hearts of “most people”? We live in a culture that is literally marinating in pornography — it’s everywhere, completely accessible and DANGEROUS! It warps minds, hearts and personalities, and it absolutely endangers children! For that reason alone, we do not allow our children to sleep at other people’s homes.

          I don’t feel like I have an extremely large social sphere, and yet I’ve heard of DOZENS of situations where a child was clandestinely viewing porn, sometimes for months, without the knowledge of the parents. Then said kid basically molested a younger kid(s) in an effort to recreate what he’d been “learning” online. Either that or said kid enlightens his friends on his new discoveries when parents aren’t around. Either way, it’s devastating and cannot be undone. In every situation that I’ve heard about, it happened in a “Christian” home.

          And that’s just stuff that’s happened between kids. That’s not even taking into account coaches, uncles, teachers, pastors, youth group leaders, brothers, cousins, neighbors, etc. who kids can be abused by if parents are not diligently watching over their kids, and ever mindful of the world in which we are currently living.

          Great for you if you’ve never had to deal with the life debilitating effects of sexual molestation. That is a privilege. For people who are not so fortunate, or simply feel differently , it sure would be nice to not be stereotyped and written off as “helicopter parents”. As for independence, that virtue can be nurtured in a myriad of ways that have nothing to do with sleep-overs.

          If ever there was a time to be diligent, it’s now. Parents must be strong and courageous, and not give into peer pressure.

          We must raise our kids the way God is leading us. We (and our child) are the ones that will have to deal with lifelong problems, addictions, and issues if sexual abuse, exposure to porngraphy, etc. occurs. The nay-sayers and opinion givers will be long gone leaving us and our families to pay the price.

          I say stick to your parenting guns and follow your gut! And thank you Monica this timely article/discussion.

    2. I agree to all of this!!! I can also say from experience that over over protective parents can ruin a kids self esteem, cause them to run away, or have not great relationships with their family, and cause them to go extra crazy when they become age with substances and sex (sometimes earlier). Took me 20y to get my shit together and repair myself after everything, and I still don’t have a relationship with my family.

  48. I too have followed the no sleepover policy with the exception of just two families that we are very close with. This doesn’t mean that I don’t trust other families however I know that they will be following the same rules/guidelines for movies, etc as our family does…(or did) in this case. My two boys are grown now, ages 19 and 22 and having the no sleepover policy was for sure a relief to the kids I believe. Interestingly enough, I did allow one sleepover with a friend from school with some of the other boys who they have hung around with for over 10 years. That was a mistake as that was the opportunity for the boys to be unsupervised most of the night and my son was actually bullied and didn’t sleep all night long and no longer has a relationship with one the boy whose home he stayed at. They still grew up in the same area, school, however that sleepover changed the whole relationship and that firmly cemented it for my husband and I that we were right in simply having the solid no sleepover policy. That boy ended up not remaining in their close circle of friends and even though we do still see him and his parents, we know that he is not coming from the same place that we are and that one night changed everything in their relationship.
    I firmly agree that it is an easy and practical way to keep your children safe and in this day and age, you have to look at it as not being too protective but just doing whatever you can to protect them for as long as you can as once they leave the nest, to go to college, which my second one does in three weeks, you no longer have any control whatsoever over those situations. You protect and prepare them for the big world as long as you can.
    My two boys have not been too sheltered at all and the no sleepover rule was just the perfect way for everyone to sleep tight at night knowing all was safe and well.
    I am fairly certain that my young men will look back on that rule and know that my husband and I did all that we could do keep them safe.
    They have grown up into well rounded, fun loving young men who enjoy all the things that growing up offers such as joining a fraternity at U of A and living in the frat house as a sophomore with 40 of their fraternity brothers. Talk about making up for no sleepovers early on….
    In all seriousness, I have had the no sleepover rule talk with more than a handful of my younger friends with younger children and firmly believe it is a great policy for any family to adopt.
    Keep it up – your blogs are great and having two boys really makes it all hit home.
    Have a great day!

    1. Thank you Rhonda–Great comment and Love hearing from your experiences. So good. Bless you and have a great day! 🙂

  49. We’re pretty spot on with you with our 8 kids.

    A subject I’m so happy that you’ve addressed.

    My parents were really strict about it growing up so but there were a few times I went to a home they trusted, and to be honest it didn’t go so well even when they thought all was an acceptable situation.

    My husband was the same, and so unless it’s at our house, or a time when we go away for a weekend we’ll find a trustworthy family member for the kids.

    Now and then it’s a disappointment to our kids, but overall it is just a relief from pressure and an understood rule.

    1. I’ve read a lot of the responses to get an idea of someone in my situation and I need some support. When our oldest was very young we decided on a no sleepover policy + exception clause (for cousins) and its easy to say we’re those parents and our kids were great about it. But summer is here and my newly 14 year old is very upset by our policy. He wants to know why and “policy” is not enough. Reading these responses of molestations, bullying, pornography exposure etc are the reasons for our decision. But our son is so frustrated by our rule. Everyone else in the neighborhood allows it. All these kids come from good families. To say we are parenting from fear isn’t quite right. Its from a desire to protect innocence. I felt so challenged tonight with good arguments from my son and I am struggling because I know I had gooood experiences growing up, but I had friends who were more innocent than me and we had a blast. So I know good things can happen. I don’t agree with “my kids can’t sleep over at your house, but I’m fine to have your kid over” because it feels like a double standard. Please share advise on how to handle a teenager who never had a problem with it but teenage years changed that. Or those who have this policy, did you have a child who really pushed for a change? Is there a way to navigate compromise without giving in? I know the exception clause works, but for me I don’t see how in general, everyday, summer, play outside, sleep on the trampoline every other night senario’s. Its going to be a long summer.

      1. Oh Deb, that is hard. Seriously, I feel for ya! I wish there was an easy answer. Of course I think you should affirm your son and his good arguments, but once you make a decision he also really needs to accept and allow you to be the parent. i have a few thoughts and I hope one of them is helpful…

        One option would be to let him join in the fun until late at night then come home. If it’s all good clean fun then he should see that as a positive compromise. Once kids go to sleep he’s really not missing out (I understand he may not see it that way. :))

        One of my sons has a lot of really good trustworthy friendships and every once in a while we do make an exception, but only for a couple select families. Yes, that is hard to do (without hurting feelings of others) but we just do our best to minimize it around other people. If our kids ask in private we will say quite honestly “We completely trust that family as we have watched them for years and believe they have strong convictions like ours” OR “sorry, we just don’t feel good about this situation.” Our kids can handle that.

        Finally, at age 14 I am not nearly as concerned about molestations and all of that (though I know it can still happen.) By 14 your son is likely equipped with what to do if something weird were to happen> My concern is much more with the bad influences of kids who might intend to influence your son negatively…Introduce him to something or drag him down a bad path.
        You know your son best. I have one son who I could trust in ANY situation, another who I might think twice b/c I just don’t think he is quite as solid yet. Some are leaders, others by nature tend to be followers.

        If you feel like you can 100% trust your son then maybe you should try it out. Give him a trial run once or twice and see how it goes. You can always pull back! This might be a great opportunity for him to prove trustworthy!

        Sorry, that is not a very clear answer, but my main point is that there is not one way to go. You are the parent. You make the best choice for your son and then ask him to submit to it in obedience. In fact (sorry one more thought— :)) if he cannot submit to you, that alone might be a sign that he is not that mature yet. You can tell him you will be most likely to allow him to do sleepovers when he can handle a “no” without fighting about it. 🙂 (just a side thought.)

        Hope something in there rings true for you and perhaps someone else will answer with more experience! ALL the best to you and please do keep us posted!!

  50. We allow it now. Our girl is 8. I have many rules on guns and men/boys in the house. I have also had some very sensitive conversations with my daughter. It’s tricky and yes, I agree it could be potentially dangerous. Using discretion and having rules and expectations helps ease the experience. You can never be too careful.

  51. We are a family of 5 and have a rule of no sleepovers! We do the “late nights”, and we also have no sleepovers at our home. The only exception is summer camp for our older two- and we have had many conversations on what to do if they are ever in a rough, uncomfortable situation. We do have some sleepovers with a dear friends children, but I stay over too since their Mom is one of my best friends! It has been rough, but we are learning how to deal with hurdles as we continued to get asked to sleep over at a friends house. Current dilemma is wanting to spend time at a friends house with siblings watching, no parents at home. Would love others take on that!

  52. Mickey Norgord says:

    Being a single mom of 2 young children, 4 & 6, I find the no sleepover rule very hard to follow, at least for me. I am an ER nurse and also split custody with my ex 50/50, but we have a very set schedule and he is not flexible at all, so there have been times when I have had to rely on friends who have kids my kids ages to help out and keep my kids over night. It is never a random family or random friends and has been good so far. I call and check on them several times while I am at work and they know my number to call me. I also have an older, 18 year old, who had one of those bad experiences where I let him stay the night across the street with a boy a year older than him and still to this day don’t know exactly what happened. I don’t know what the answer is. Glad this works for your family

    1. Thanks for sharing Mickey. I totally understand that there are not only exceptions but sometimes just no other options. It sounds like you are doing the best you can with your situation. I think teaching your kids what to be aware of and how to deal with any uncomfortable situation is going to be your greatest key.
      I am so sorry for your son though, and that is an unfortunate reality for so many people. Just keep communicating and it sounds like you’re doing an awesome job!!! Bless you. (Both for being a single mom and an ER nurse–both are high callings!!!)

  53. We allow sleepovers (girls 7, 10 & 12, boy 12). However, we have had issues with the boy. The parents let them watch a scary movie. He ended up getting sick right after with a high fever. Coupling those two events together caused him (7 at the time) to have a psychotic event with visual hallucinations that lasted for 6 months, He’s fine now.
    Just two weeks ago, our revered Boy Scout scout leader was caught molesting one of his 12 year old daughter’s friends. No one would have ever suspected.
    When we have kids sleepover here I make them go to bed by 11:30. The day after is much more pleasant. Now a slumber party for a birthday is different. I let them stay up as late as they please. However, I am always up until 0100 so it’s not a big deal.

  54. I love this article and will be sharing! I grew up in a Hispanic household and we didn’t do sleepovers either, so I don’t intend to do them now that I’m a mom – for all the reasons you mention above. I’m glad parents are getting more strict about it.

    Like you, my parents made exceptions, twice I think.

    I think I wouldn’t have a problem hosting, but I would have a problem sending my son over to someone else’s house– especially if I don’t know the parents. My mom let friends sleep over but I just wasn’t allowed to sleep over at other friends’ homes.

  55. Honestly, as a mom to two toddler boys, sleepovers had me nervous. Obviously at ages 2 and 3 their social calendar is pretty loose, but for some reason I was more concerned with the possible risks of unsupervised outings like sleepovers with boys than I would be if we had a girl. I mean, if we had a girl, I’d be expected to be a little over-protective, but there’s still a bit of a double standard with boys and sexual abuse, if you ask me. Since sexual abuse at the hands of family members and childcare providers (seriously, two people you should be able to trust!) is in my family’s history, I’m moved to be reasonably cautious with my own children, and I don’t see any sleepovers in our future (at least until they are much older or in special circumstances like those you mentioned)
    Also, with the recent Duggar fiasco, I think it’s important to note that as much as we need to protect our children, we also need to make sure that teaching them respect for others’ bodies isn’t overlooked. I wouldn’t even know how to write a list of steps to train your child not to grow up to be a sexual predator, but something tells me there are basic, common-sense measures that can and should be taken.

    Always love your insight on these issues!

    1. I agree that we need to ensure that our kids know how to respect others as well as protect themselves, both for their well-being in childhood and as teens and adults. I HIGHLY recommend Theology of the Body to help understand a Godly, Biblical view of our bodies, their purposes, etc. You can get the Theology of the Body for Teens version, which is easy to understand. It’s pretty easy from there to translate those concepts to little kids. This sets you up to talk about all the body issues from pornography to waiting for marriage to modesty, and also body image, acceptance, respect for life and the disabled, to the existential questions of why God “made them male and female” and what authentic masculinity and femininity are. You can find it all online, the original pieces, for free, or buy the condensed For Teens version. Just search online for it.

      God bless you and others through you!

      For us, we don’t do sleepovers because no matter how good they are, parents can’t provide supervision while sleeping, myself included. So I’ll pick them up late and take them back the next morning, but if it’s sleeping time, then my kids, and only my kids, are with me, exceptions made only when mommy’s giving birth or something like that. Why would i entrust my kids to the care of someone who will most likely be unconscious at some point during their visit, or take responsibility for someone else’s treasures when i will be unconscious?

      I worked with over 500 families as a youth minister right after college and believe me, even good kids can have terrible lapses of judgement because their brains, especially the parts wherein are housed consequential thinking, executive function, and inhibitions, are not fully developed yet!

  56. Terri Lynn says:

    yep, I was a no-sleepover mom, and youth groups – school – girl scout , I was a volunteer =helping count heads, feed, picking up bags so they didn’t get left behind, just helped and was there to watch over my child …(husband did the boy things) And we were blessed to have great family and cousins and friends like family … so the could have the sleep over fun and no scaryness

    thanks for giving people the words to say, and the thoughts behind them
    you are a blessing!

    1. Thank you Terri Lynn! Awesome to hear how things have gone with your family, and thank you for the encouragement! 🙂

  57. When my two boys were younger, no sleep overs. For a few years, that was what we did for birthdays as a treat. Now, I have boys in my house almost every weekend and many days during the week while the kids are on summer break. My boys are gamers and so are their friends. If I have 5 kids in my loft, there are at least 2 being Skyped in and possibly 1 or 2 on FaceTime meaning only five bodies but the noise of 8 or 9 kids!
    I love having all these boys with me; it’s tiring for sure but hearing all of them refer to me as MOM is so worth it. They even do chores! They are all such great kids. My mom gets hugs from all her grandsons too which is neat. I’m an only child so my mom only has the two grandkids.
    I’m hoping this summer my oldest will get a job (and his license-he’s 17!) but I’m hoping the sleepovers will last a bit longer too. They grow up so fast and they’ll be away at college soon. I just want them to have great memories of time spent with their friends.

  58. I love that I’ve stumbled across this site! I am also a Christian mother of 4, and struggle to raise my children to live in the world, not of it. The sleepover struggle doesn’t seem to go away. It seems as if my husband and I fight the good fight every weekend and it’s exhausting. I always say ‘We’re only as old as our oldest child’ and so it’s hard for someone with younger children to understand how parents of teens can be broken down, but it does happen, and having been the ‘broken’ mom my advice is to always follow your gut. There have been times I haven’t and those have been the times something was introduced at a sleepover – eventually we find out…it may not be right away, but if you’re paying attention you’ll find out. The times we held our ground and didn’t give in we were glad we did! There will be times when your children’s friends’ parents will stand alongside you at the drawn line in the sand, and then as the pressures begin to esculate they will back away from the line. There will be times you feel alone…and your teen will undoubtedly point the finger at you that your ruining his/her life! But, I truly believe that these are the biggest of our God moments because in them we see what people are really made of. – ourselves included. Who wants to parent and who wants to peer-ent? In the end, the biggest reward is seeing that your boundary lines gave them just what they needed – protection, trust, security, love. 🙂

  59. Here are a few more things to consider in the fun and complicated world of sleepovers.

    1) The offense and drama it can cause in extended family for SO many different reasons. Maybe grandma X watches NCIS marathons and thinks little Johnny isn’t “paying attention”. Or Aunty Z is a wonderful Aunty but she goes to bed early and leaves all the kids downstairs to put themselves to sleep once Nickelodeon starts playing the national anthem. Suddenly you are having to pick between family members (who are all very aware) who is acceptable for sleepovers and who isnt. This subject has the potential to ignite WWIII…really!

    2) When you play favorites with classmates families they will also notice and can become offended. Because of the potential hazards that can happen during sleepovers, it forces you to put a magnifying glass up and essentially judge the atmosphere of others families and home. This scrutiny is paramount for your child’s safety/well-being but it is painful and destructive to friendships, especially when the same scrutiny is applied to you and you don’t “pass”…OUCH!

    3) Why do kids NEED to be vulnerable, susceptible, and unconscious for 8 hours in someone elses home anyway? It’s not like the sleep is better or more fun. It’s kind of weird when you think about it. Can’t we just stick to playdates??

    4) Last but not least, no matter how much you talk to your kids they aren’t mature enough to stand up to adults. As my then 9 yr old son once said to me, “Mom, sometimes it’s just easier to go along with other people’s rules when you’re not around.” Enough said.

    All that being said, we do allow selective sleepovers for our 11 year old son but will probably not allow them for our daughter’s until they are 30ish. We have tried to make our house the “fun house” so kids want to come here. I love my kids being around us and want this to continue for them as well, especially into their teen years.

    1. Joy–Laughing now because I just woke up and even w/ just 3 extra kids over last night for my 11 yr. old’s bday, I know they did NOT sleep well (or nearly enough) and every single point you made is so good. Sleepovers are mostly just dumb, haha…:)
      Thanks for the well-thought out comment. You are right. Aloha! 🙂

  60. This father says “BRAVO!!!”

  61. Wow! I thought I was the only one. What a blessing to realize that other parents go with their gut and say, “No, this isn’t what we do.” As scheduled as kids are, I frankly, cherish my family time. It must be protected.

  62. I grew up under a “no sleepovers” policy in my family. The exception was for birthday parties of very close friends that our family knew well. My husband and I have had the same policy with our children. A few years ago, we found out that my niece had been abused by her own father (our brother in law) in her own home for many years. If you can’t trust your own family members (uncles, grandparents, etc) WHO can you trust and really KNOW?

    It’s been difficult to explain our no sleepover policy to our kids at times, and we don’t want to live in fear, but a no sleepover policy works for us. We have always told our kids to blame us for the decision! We don’t mind being the odd parents 🙂

  63. Kerri Reeves Smith says:

    I am not against sleepovers, but my children go to small private schools. I do understand things can happen even there, but I feel I know the parents and children better. I also encourage my kids to become friends with peers who have their same values and morals.

  64. I so appreciate your post and my husband and I have very similar rules that we have been following for years.

    When my older children, now ages 24, 22, and 18, were young we used to let them spend the night at friends’ houses fairly freely even though I considered myself a pretty protective mama. But after listening to one too many stories of friends experiences, either about themselves or a family member we instituted the “no sleepover” rule. This was very difficult for a long time as my oldest was about 13 or 14, and all of them had been used to having sleepovers.

    We have since softened our stance and, like you, basically have an “exception clause” for our 10 yr old. It has been much easier with her though since she grew up with all of this already in place.

    The world really is a different place than when we were growing up.

    1. Would love to talk to you more about how you established this policy once your kids were older. Mine are 10, 7, & 5. We are moving and I want to adopt this policy, but I know my 10 year-old who is used to having many sleepovers will not understand the reasoning and be heart broken on our new policy. What were some of the ways you helped the transition and do you have any advice in doing so? Please email me at [email protected] Thanks!

  65. Momof1boy says:

    My husband and I are not confortable with sleepovers. When I was growing up I was not allowed to go on sleepovers but could always invite to our house as many girls as I wanted. My first sleepover was when I was about 17 and to be honest, I did not enjoy it one bit. I wanted my bed, my towels, my pillows, etc…
    So, now that I have kids of my own, I don’t like sleepovers for them. I must say that I am kinda the weird one out of the group, the school, my friends, etc. Everyone just looks at me weird when I say we don’t do sleepovers. HOWEVER, I finally gave in because I questioned wether every child should experience a sleepover before 17 😉
    My 10 year old had his first sleepover about 4mo ago. He went to the house of friends that we trust. He had fun but didn’t come back over the moon, hasn’t asked for another one, so not sure if he even wants to do any more. Obviously, I won’t bring the topic of sleepovers up.
    I am glad I read this article because I realise I am not the “weird one”. There are other moms out there who are also uncomfortable and weary of sleepovers.

  66. My daughter is 23, middle son is 22 and youngest son is 14. We always used the no sleepover policy. This was just easy and we knew it was best for them. We alowed late nights, 11:00 or so but then home to bed. This got more difficult as they got older (high school) but we still for the most part stuck to the poliicy. One thing that we feel is very important is no unplanned sleepovers! Especially as they get older! They will call and beg, you really don’t know forsure where they are, and you say”you know our policy, no unplanned sleepovers”

  67. Very insightful article, with very legitimate concerns. I am a mother of twin 14 year old boys. We live in the country, with little “neighborhood” interaction (20-30 minutes away from school and friends). Since our boys became school aged, my husband and I have been open to having friends over to our home for play dates, and the occasional sleep over, and likewise allow our boys to go to friends’ homes. In our isolation living environment, we feel the need to “bring to neighborhood to us”, or otherwise make efforts for our boys to socialize with friends on a regular basis. So far we have not encountered negative experiences, except for the integration of technology. Most kids nowadays, preteen and even younger, have access to personal cell phones, smart phones, ipads, etc. This is a topic that has become very concerning to me, not only for play dates and sleepovers, but the overall potential for our children to become exposed to inappropriate material that can easily be found on the internet. Also, the use, overuse, and misuse of social media is also very concerning. Technology can be a blessing or a curse…and we strive everyday to teach our boys how to manage and properly use their devices. The dangers range from general overuse, to exposure to damaging images and content, to bullying and hurt feelings. We enforce rules that limit the amount of time our boys can use their iphones and ipads, as well as when it is appropriate or necessary for them to use them. We also have rules about posting and sharing on social media. If we host a play date or sleep over, we ask all boys to not post pictures or videos to their social media pages while at our home. It is hurtful for kids to see posts on social media from functions they may have not been included. Parents of today must be vigilant in monitoring the use of technology , and with whom we allow our kids to interact.

  68. Kathy Vest says:

    I have triplet boys that are now teenagers. We have always had a phrase they can call or text. For example, one of our phrases was, “Mom, I left a cola in freezer, please take it out before it freezes.” This tells me that they are not comfortable with where they are or with something that is happening. It’s my cue to come get them. I take the heat, come up with some reason that I need them. This works if they find themselves in a situation because of someone else or even because of a poor decision on their own. The point is, they get rescued AND get to save face.

    1. Wow I love this. I’m writing this down so I can remember. My oldest is 10 and he is just starting to ask so I have been thinking about this a lot.

    2. Marissa Gordon says:

      Love love love this idea! I read your code phrase to my 12yo son and he found it so smart he wants us to make up some. He hasn’t started going out w/o us yet or asking to sleep over but he understands that we always seek his safety! Pls share some more of your phrases! Thanks!

  69. My husband and I totally agree with your standing. We are more likely to have out teenage boys friends spend the night at our home. I can list on one hand other friends homes they have spent the night at. Very well trusted friends with extremely similar values. Biggest rule- electronics kept outside bedroom at night. Stick to your guns momma. And grandma is totally right. Ain’t nothing good happening after midnight. I can attest to that.

  70. Growing up in the 70s my parents NEVER let us have sleepovers. And I resented it BIG TIME! At parties, I’d get picked up at 10 while all the other girls were getting into their jammies. I always felt left out. Now that everyone at that party would be on their phone posting pics of all their fun, I can only imagine that I would feel EVEN MORE LEFT OUT!! As a mother of four, I let my kids have sleepovers at families I know. I always communicate with the parents. And I encourage them to have sleepovers here quite often. To think the kids would feel “relieved” seems like a stretch to me. I hated it!! And I know my 8 siblings did too.

    1. I totally see your point Bernadette–and it sounds like you are being wise as a parent–In fact, it sounds like you do things much like we do if you are allowing your kids to stay only with families that you know well, and communicating about everything, etc. Sleepovers in our home is also welcomed with our kids good friends/relatives…I like to call it the “Exception clause” because I don’t want kids to think it’s an instant yes every time they want to sleep over, and for those families that we don’t know well, (and who our kids are honestly not super comfortable with) it takes the pressure off to just say our general rule is no…:)
      Thanks for sharing your perspective! Aloha

  71. Shannon Best says:

    Our b/g twins are 8. They get asked to do sleepovers. It’s just something we don’t do. Personal reasons from my childho

    1. Shannon Best says:

      Oops. Hit send too soon. Sorry. Anyway. Personal reasons. The article was great. Thank you. I do not like the pressure that’s put on parents today to do sleepovers. I kindly say no and pray they leave it at that.

  72. Kejal Mehta says:

    Ditto! My son is 9, and so far the home rule is “NO SLEEPOVERS”. I am fortunate too that i don’t feel the pressure from my son at all, that he is keen on a sleepover. So what you say makes sense, maybe deep down the young children too are uncomfortable with the idea.

  73. This is spot on. We have a “no sleepovers” rule at our house as well. A mentor of mine told me that one of her biggest regrets is that she let her son have sleepovers. This was when he was first exposed to porn. On my own 13th birthday party, I remember climbing in bed with my parents because all of the girls were arguing so much. We do allow our children to have special time with their cousins and attend Boy Scout camps (my husband usually attends too). Thank you for posting this.

    1. Thank you Kristen–and I think I have you to thank for Pinning this post as well! 🙂 (it took a little investigating, but I found it, haha.) I’m glad to have found your site and all of your social media as well-I’ll be following. It means a lot to me when other sites share or pin my posts, so big thank you.
      And yes, I’ve heard similar stories to your friends’ too many times. It’s just not worth it! Aloha to you! xo

  74. Hello, Monica

    I love your new site – and was going to comment on your home page but now I have wandered off and started reading this post. Such a minefield of a topic, I am absolutely with you in the no sleepover camp – reasons being as you mention. We just didn’t want to put our kids in a situation they may not be able to handle without our guidance, as you say many life changing events can happen at the blink of an eye. Against my better judgement I waivered once last year, the consequences were dire. This experience taught me a valuable lesson (and my boys), set a course and stay firm. Parenting is joyous and hard in equal measures – having boundaries in place makes it a nicer place to be for all – kids feel safer. Cheers Monique x

  75. My Dad used to to say the same thing as your Mom “Nothing good happens after midnight!” Glad to hear we aren’t the only ones. It’s a fine line between protecting our kids and holding on too tight, but this is one subject I feel pretty certain about. Why risk it? What about camps? We have a fantastic Christian camp on one of the islands where we live…what do you think about sleep away camp? I’ve heard only amazing things about it…how do you get past that fear and send your kids to camp?

  76. Glad I’m not the only one! We do the exact same thing for the exact same reason. And we have a couple exceptions that we allow but the kids know our rule. And it makes it so much easier.

  77. I don’t have to worry about this now because my son is so young, but it is something my husband and I already discuss. Of course he can stay with grandparents, but we have some other family members that are more than welcome to stay with us, but he can’t spend the night with them. Ugh, how does one explain this logic to a child?!

  78. We have an unwritten sleep over rule. The exception being grandparents of course. Our reason is more out of concern for safety if my oldest son who is 10 and has a sever food allergy. He has spent the night 1 time away from home and that was recently. It was with a family that I trusted completely and the mom would text me (of her own choosing) as the evening progressed. The boys were asleep by 11 and were up for church the next morning. I am of the mind that my kids should be with me when I am home. The boys (ages 10 and 7) seem fine with this. As they get older it may be more difficult but for now it works for us.

  79. Hi Monica, this is a really helpful post, thank you. Tommy is only 6, so this is around the corner for us but hasn’t come up yet. I remember really fun sleepovers but also some scary ones, too, where the other girls wanted to watch horror movies or tell _really_ scary stories, etc…and I wasn’t even aware of the “real-life horror” that can happen during a sleepover. I’ve always been a big fan of the “blame Mom” thing. I hope Tommy uses it and feels the same relief I did when I didn’t want to do something but didn’t want to come out and say why exactly….just “my Mom won’t let me” says it all.

  80. Having 5 & 7 year old boys, I know this is just around the corner. I STRUGGLE with this because I adored most of my childhood sleepovers. But, there were a few I felt uncomfortable with and didn’t know how to get home at 1 am. Plus, I have a dear friend who was dragged through the depths of despair when a little known classmate of her child who spent the night at her home accused her, a mother and educator, of abuse. After a LONG and draining investigation that involved her entire family, they were cleared. It was, however, discovered that the child was being abused in his own home and this accusation was a cry for help. Also, I remember being terrified during high school when, at a group sleepover, the girls decided to sneak out and roam our town all night. I still have nightmares!
    So, I will hold true to a “no sleep over” rule. But I know there will be times I need to bend the rule. This worries me almost to a level of panic. I want my kiddos with me, where I know they are safe. Of course they have slept at the grandparents’ home. But, it took me until last summer to allow them to sleep over at their lake house. Water everywhere worries me and only a mom watches as closely as a mom!
    Where do you stand on camp? I want my kids to experience sleep away camp at some point, but these fears still fill my mind.
    Parenting is so darn hard!

  81. Tanya Sweet says:

    I am seriously SO relieved to read this blog Monica! I am struggling with this very issue right now with my VERY young ones, and I am so glad to have this advice. We are now officially a family who “doesn’t do sleepovers”. My kids friends already beg for sleepovers, and I have just said “Nope, I’m that crazy Mama who won’t let her kiddos sleep where she can’t know if they need her”. So far, that has worked… so in essence, it’s the same thing. I always said that to take the pressure off of the kids, as well. But just a plain and simple rule makes everything easier. The kids can explain their Mama is a wack-a-doodle if they want to :). Thank you, again! I’m not the only one.

  82. Kari Erickson says:

    Monica, I remember fondly the sleepovers I had at your house! Your parents were so sweet, and of course you had that awesome hot tub! That being said, I also had many uncomfortable nights at other girlfriend’s houses. Not feeling safe, exposed to things I could not understand. When my daughter was little, I only let her have sleepovers at my sister’s house with her cousin. She knew that was the rule, and being that she was so “joined at the hip” with me, it was a relief to her. The first night she spent not with me, or my sisters, or my parents, was at 6th grade camp. That was a tough week, but she had fun. Bottom line, I agree with your stance on sleepovers. Besides, you have so many boys it’s like a sleepover every night!

    1. I agree with you on the sleepovers!
      A great consideration by a dear friend/family:
      My friend recently had a sleepover bday party for her daughter. Her husband and her son arranged to go in a father-son camping trip while the party was taking place. I thought this was so wise and respectful to the families/daughters and great accountability!