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6 reasons you should never let your kids have sleepovers

Posted March 30
Updated April 7

Nothing good ever happens in the wee hours of the night. (Deseret Photo)

1. No one needs to sleep at anyone's house but their own

It's not necessary. Fun? Maybe. Until the parents are asleep and the mischief starts. Sleeping is to be done at home, under the safety of one's own roof. Let them play all they want, but when it's time to go home and go to bed, it's time to go home and go to sleep. At home. Let your children go back and play the next day, and the day after that, but sleeping is for home. Period.

2. You don't know people as well as you think you do

How well do you know the people your child would like to sleepover with--your children's friends and their parents? Do you only see them at church? Or at soccer? Maybe you don't even know their names. Have you been in their homes? Do you know what actually goes on there? Are there things going on in the homes of your children's friends that you would not want your children exposed to? Do you really want your kids in the homes of others when everyone gets comfortable and walks around in their PJs? Should we really know each other that intimately? I don't think so.

3. Nothing good ever happens in the wee hours of the night

Listen, I know. I hosted and attended my fair share of sleepovers when I was a kid. Some were horrifying and others fun, but in the end, there was usually some untoward event that made girls “cross their hearts and hope to die and promise never to tell.” The toilet papering and egging houses of people you were mad at or had a crush on. So immature. And in my day, kids got taken to the police station and parents were called if the kids were caught toilet papering.

What about the night one of my friends decided to tell us all about how girls really got their periods? It was awful and gave me nightmares. Thankfully, at the maturation program I learned that I was really not going to grow an Alien-like mass of eggs on the outside of my tummy that would eventually explode and I would nearly bleed to death!

Most of these shenanigans are deemed "innocent fun," but are actually really cruel to some. What is innocent about waiting for someone to fall asleep and then stealing their bra and freezing it in a jug of milk? What is kind about giving someone a sleeping pill without them knowing, waiting for them to fall asleep, and then drawing all over their face with markers and dumping a bottle of cheap perfume on them, waking them up, and taking their picture? Nothing. Nothing at all. Those things happened to me by my "friends" from church.

I was new in town and thought I made some good friends. This is what they did to me to "initiate" me. I didn't like it. After the second sleepover with these girls, where the hostess brought out the forbidden Ouija board and tried to force everyone to play, I gathered my things and went home because I had been taught not to play with Ouija boards. The girls laughed at me and it ruined me socially for a while, but still, I went home and I never went to another sleepover.

4. Why would you want to put yourself in a position to be wrongfully accused?

What if your kids host a sleepover at YOUR house? And you get in your jammies, and walk around the house. It's your house, after all. What if you decide to watch the movie with the kids? What if someone's child misunderstands something you say or do and points fingers? What if a kid just decides to make something up about you or your household, to get even with your child? It happens, folks. It really does. When we forbid other people to sleep at our houses, it protects everyone.

5. Sleepovers should be for very close family, in special circumstances only

And I even say this with caution. Many people should not be letting their kids sleep over with their family members. Just because you are related, does not mean you want your children exposed to the environment in your relatives' homes. Do not be afraid to offend. We were not. Your children are your primary and most important responsibility. Take it seriously.

6. Have a "no sleepover rule" and stick to it

When our children were very small and the invitations started coming in, we told them we had a "no sleepover" rule and explained why. They were welcome to attend until 10 or 11 p.m., and then they came home, slept in their own beds. If they wanted to go back in the morning for waffles, that was fine.

I was surprised at how well this actually worked and how supportive some parents were. I know my children got a little pushback from their friends, but because we never wavered with it, there was a firm expectation and it was respected, even if misunderstood. I know sometimes our children were very disappointed, but they got over it. Our job as parents has never been to give them everything they wanted anyway, but it has been to protect them and teach them. We never farmed that responsibility out to others.

Gina Holt is a Utah native and happily married mother of two. Contact her at becomingcream@gmail.com.


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5 Comments

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  • G Wolfe Woodbury Apr 6, 12:31 p.m.
    user avatar

    This is clearly the opinion of the writer, and should be labeled as such!

    Clearly, there are problems that can happen at sleepovers, just as there are problems that can happen at any social activity. To unconditionally condemn any activity because the writer had problems in her own participation is, however, more an indication of her personality than as a valid guide for all others lives.

    She makes a couple of valid points, such as getting to know the family and people before giving consent. Informed consent should be the goal, not just unconditional condemnation. Too many people want to control what other people do just because they don't like what may happen.

  • Matt Nickeson Mar 31, 7:35 p.m.
    user avatar

    This woman must be the life of every party that she attends!

  • Max Smirenny Mar 31, 7:34 p.m.
    user avatar

    I recall having some pretty good times at sleepovers as a kid. The sad reality is... things have changed in our world. I know a lot of parents that feel this way. I may be a bit overprotective... but unless I know every person in the home, including older siblings... my kids dont stay over.

    I recall another parents kid being pretty traumatized, when the parents of the kid he was sleeping over with got into a horrible fight. He had never seen such a thing.

  • Witt Thompson Mar 31, 2:34 p.m.
    user avatar

    Ok, I kind of understand the sleeping at friends to a small degree. As a child my parents always told us to call if we needed to be picked up and met with the family for a full understanding of what was what. I can say this article sounds more like a horror story of her childhood and biased off of her own experiences. This is not researched nor does it incorporate any other source other than hers. As for family sleepovers, yeah ok. This is how I got to know my grandparents well. We would stay for the week or weekend and get to spend real time with them, not just a couple of hours and holidays. Also, what about spending time with your cousins, is that now out of the question. My brother lives 2 hours away and the kids do not get a lot of time together. By this woman's opinion they should only know of each other, not feel like family. I do agree with Charles, this woman is a true helicopter mom who instead of pushing her kids towards things is holding them back from life.

  • Charles Edwards Mar 31, 1:53 p.m.
    user avatar

    This must be an April Fools article, right? How can any good parent seriously say that sleepovers are a bad thing? Sleepovers are a way for kids to stretch their wings, learn how to get along with others, compare their families with others, meet new people, etc. I can't imagine growing up and not being allowed to sleep over with friends. I'd bet if this woman is serious, her poor kids are ostracized by other kids. If the writer doesn't allow sleepovers, what other crazy ideas are in her head about raising children? I'd be willing to bet she is a shining example of a helicopter parent. Wow. Just Wow.