Yes or No to Sleepovers :: What’s Your Take?


Parenthood is a constant rush of decisions, some more difficult than others. For many of us moms, we eventually face the decision of whether to allow our children to have a sleepover. Whether having a friend stay the night in your home or your child stay at a friend’s house, it’s a quandary that seems puzzling.

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It’s not something I had thought much about until it first came up. Concern over sleepovers didn’t occur to me when I was changing diapers and bottle feeding. When my son was 10 and playing at a friend’s house, he called to ask if he could stay and have a sleepover.

Staying the night at Grandma’s house is fine, even a nice warm welcome (hello, date night)! But how do we decide if we’re ready to let them go to their friend’s house and stay overnight? Or, maybe we’re never ready.

There are a lot of considerations that, quite frankly, I don’t think my parents pondered when I was a kid decades ago. I also never wore a bike helmet and drank from the garden hose. We left our garage doors open all day long as an open invitation to the neighborhood kids to come and go. Like everything else, parenting has evolved. Generations later, it still isn’t easy, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

 Saying Yes or No to SleepoversWe wonder what age is appropriate to get our children a cell phone and whether we should allow our kids to download Snapchat and TikTok. There is no cadence for these decisions, so we do our best when making these choices, just as my parents presumably did with the dilemmas they faced.

So, thinking about sleepovers, at what age should we let our kids have them? Or should we even let them have sleepovers at all?

I think about various concerns. Will my son be up all night and come home crabby the next day? Is it going to throw off the harmonious routine? Will he remember that he needs to take his medication before bed? And then more extensively, how well do we know our kid’s friends and their parents? Or do we even know them at all?

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I asked my fellow ABQ moms how they felt about sleepovers. They offered some interesting considerations and unique perspectives. And like me, some hadn’t even given it much thought until prompted by my curiosity.

I was thinking not too long ago about how my parents let me sleep over at friends all the time . . . but I’m not sure I would be comfortable letting my kids do that nowadays!

My mom did not really let me sleep over. I was able to have sleepovers. I think sleepovers need to be monitored. My mom did not monitor. So shenanigans happened. As a parent, my kids do not sleep over anywhere, and if they do, it’s at their godparent’s house with cousins who are the same age. My oldest, I do not see her spending the night. But I may be flexible in doing late-night hangouts when she gets older. My reasons go much deeper.

I’m okay with sleepovers. But we don’t do them often. No real reason as to why other than we are always busy. We fall more in line with the late-over theme where kids can stay over until 10 for a special occasion. Maybe a birthday, Halloween, etc. I have a 13-year-old. And I know many are afraid of things like sexual abuse, kids getting into weapons, etc., and my mind won’t go there. I want my kids to have fun without me being scared of everything. But I do have two severe food allergy kiddos and that’s usually my main worry. But I communicate that to the parents. I also have a 5 and 8 year old and they’ve only slept at grandmas. Mainly because they are too scared to leave Mommy.

Me and my husband have a short list of family we let our kids do sleepovers with but we’ve decided friend sleepovers are a no go. The alternative will be “pj parties.” Dinner, movie night, and snacks/games with a late parent pickup.

Ok I don’t have kids sleepover age yet. My parents let me sleep at friends’ houses, but only if I felt comfortable. If I ever wanted to leave, my parents were there, no questions asked. Having kids myself . . . I would let him stay with my mom. But I think the list will be really short when he’s old enough.

List would be very short for us too IF we did. I would be quicker to host one than let my kids stay somewhere else, but then again, I think it is just such a big responsibility to take on for all involved. They can be totally fine most of the time. It was a mix for me growing up though. Sometimes fine, other times not. So I guess I’m on the no sleepovers rule unless it is super close family/friends and you are 100% comfortable and confident.

I had very few sleepovers as a child. Luckily they were mostly positive. I think once I got homesick. They’re fine with trusted family members but I don’t think I’d allow my child to sleep over at a friend’s place. I might allow one or two friends to our place, but I’d have to know their parents. Being a survivor of sexual abuse, I’m very wary of adults and acquaintances around my children.

Mine have had one sleepover with a friend where the friend stayed with us. The issue I’m going to run into is I have a boy and a girl who are close in age and have the same friends. Coed sleepovers are not going to go over so well with other parents (understandably so). But right now, we’re treating sleepovers on a case-by-case basis; as they get older, I’m sure it’ll change.

We would only allow our kids to spend the night with friends when they were little. Now that they’re older, it depends on a few things for us. We need to meet the parents before the sleepover (in passing at school or whatnot) to see if our Spidey senses tingle: hygiene, personality, behavior, etc. of the friend and parent. Cleanliness of home. (Yes, I will turn right around/pick up my kid if the home is filthy. My kid went to someone’s home where it smelled of pee and there were a couple piles of dog poo inside. She called me to pick her up.)

My older kids have a cell phone they take with them and know they can call to be picked up at any time. I also text my younger (11 & 12 y/o) to check on them. (One rule is they must always answer my calls/texts. If they don’t, then I contact the parent to speak with them.) We’ve also always have code phrases to use if they feel unsafe or just want to be picked up.

We are a no sleepover family. I’ve just talked to too many adults that have very traumatic experiences at sleepovers. And it’s hard to say yes to this person and no to another. So we just have a blanket rule.

There are a variety of considerations, and when we are questioning the safety of our children, perhaps that’s when we really need to hone in on our mom instincts. Are we being unreasonable to be concerned about what may happen behind closed doors? Absolutely not. Is it unlikely? I’d like to hope so, but I’m also not sure I’m comfortable enough to just “hope.”

Let me tell you this . . . whichever side you land on is acceptable. And if you’re like me, and you land on both sides, it’s okay too!

We parent our children the best we know how, and there are many complicated decisions we must make. It’s part of the mom job. Welcome to parenthood!

The concerns and fears are valid. We’re human and parents; our children don’t come with user manuals. We do the best we can and make the best decisions possible. Tell me, do you allow your children to have sleepovers?


The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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Vanessa Prueter
Vanessa is a recent New Mexico transplant (2021), by way of Phoenix, Arizona, and is busy learning and loving the Albuquerque life. She is a Christian, career-focused, work-from-home mom to son, Colby, and stepson, Brady, and is engaged to her fiancé, Kevin. She loves animals and has two dogs, Girl and Ziggy, and a fluffy cat, Alfie. Vanessa is an early riser who loves Mondays and routine, iced coffee, and the daily Wordle challenge. When she’s not working or driving the kids around, she enjoys exploring the city, taking in the stunning New Mexico nature, and fishing with her guys. Vanessa is passionate about sharing kindness, gratitude, and insights on parenting and family life. She’s indecisive and doesn’t have any specific niche but can talk a little about a lot. You can follow Vanessa on Instagram @vprueter.