What about sleepover parties?

I was on tv last week and wrote about it here.


Can we talk sleepover parties?

They kind of baffle me, and I've realized it's because all I know are slumber parties with girls, so I really don't know what happens with boys at sleepovers.

How old were your kids when they started being invited to them or going to them or having them?

How many kids usually go?

Are there ages at which they're co-ed, or are they always single sex?

In NYC the first one we got an invitation to was in second grade, and there were around 8 boys. My older son went to one last weekend here in Michigan with what seemed like a thousand boys. My first-grader suggested having one, but we thought it might be too soon and talked him down to a daytime party.

Do girls still do the same social bullying games we did in middle school to the first person to fall asleep?

Do boys do that same stuff, or is it more straightforward?


25 thoughts on “What about sleepover parties?”

  1. My 4.5 yo and his best friend (who is a girl) have each hosted the other at a sleepover in the last month. Probably young, but our families socialize together a LOT, so it was easy peasy for both of them. I am sure that at some point in the not too distant future it will no longer be appropriate or desired (by them), but for now, they are best friends who act like siblings.That’s my n=1. I’m interested in hearing what families with older kids do.

  2. Our 2nd son wanted one in 1st grade, but only one of the four boys was willing to sleep over. Second grade/age 8 seems to be the magic number. I only invite 3-5 kids, depending on the location where they’ll sleep.What do the boys do? (Pray first for good weather or a sound proof basement.) I start the “night” early, inviting them for 5pm. They run around outside until they’re hungry. I feed them something simple off the grill. They run around until it gets dark with light sticks I bought them all. They come in for cake at some point in there.
    The times I was smart we then put them in a tent with flashlights and all their baseball and trading cards in the back yard. Another time they were indoors and we turned on a movie. The 8 year olds indoors were in pj’s by 10 pm and quiet by 11 (3 hours later than my child’s usual bedtime) The ten year olds in the tent claimed to have stayed up until midnight, but I’m skeptical.
    Whichever kid is a night owl determines bedtime. The kid who wakes with the sun every day determines the wakeup time for all of them. (Feel free to ask parents discretely before sending invitations!) Between the two kids, there won’t be much sleep. Feed them breakfast and send them home by 9 or 10am.
    Then take a nap so you can be prepared for the crabby child you will have for the rest of the day. (Because HE won’t want to take a nap because he “won’t be tired.”)

  3. My son has never been invited to slumber party, but has slept over, and had a friend sleep over. I don’t do well with my sleep being interrupted, or playing warden, so I would never allow multiple kids (or kids I don’t trust) to stay over.

  4. As a kid, I always came down with something after attending a sleepover party (usually linked to a birthday). The combo of junk food and no sleep made me sick. Finally my mother said I couldn’t go to any more sleepover parties. I think I was secretly relieved.My 6-year-old son has slept over at a friend’s house a few times, and has had one friend sleep over a couple of times. I think that’s as far as I want to ever go!

  5. I am hoping to let my daughter have one friend sleep over as her “birthday party” this year–framed perhaps by dinner out (or something with cake) and a pancake breakfast. Turning 8; end of 2nd grade.The friend she has in mind is the daughter of a good friend of MINE–someone who I would not hesitate to call if things go south due to homesickness.

  6. I recently had an eight year old birthday party for my son where six of his friends slept over. They came over at 6, had pizza, watched the movie “Spy Kids,” and then, in theory, went to bed. Unfortunately, we had a child who is a bit of a troublemaker stay over, and he kept the kids up and was not easy to manage. So, at about 11:30 p.m., we had to call him and another child upstairs to sit in our kitchen with us in silence, until the rest of the other boys fell asleep. We gave them breakfast and let them play Wii in the morning and they were picked up at 10. I guess the lesson I can impart here is to be careful who you invite, or to at least modify the schedule depending on what the individual can handle (in this instance, the boy should have not slept over and just stayed for the activities). I knew I was in trouble when the boy gave me a note from his dad at about 10 p.m. indicating that I had to give him his medication at 6 a.m. the next day and that he’d be a little wild for 20 minutes after taking it. I couldn’t believe that the dad thought that this was o.k. and that it would have been appropriate for me to deal with an already hard to manage child in a “wild” state. Anyway, lesson learned!

  7. Oh– and my son recently went to an eight year old girlfriend’s sleepover where he was the only boy! There were about five children total. I felt fine about this as they are very good friends and I checked with the mom beforehand to make sure they were doing gender-neutral activities. I kept thinking how he would feel if this happened eight years from now– like he won the lottery! And, no, I wouldn’t let him attend then 🙂

  8. My daughter is three and woke me up three times last night, the last one lasting an hour at 4am, so my current impulse is to tell her when she gets older that NOPE, SORRY, YOU USED UP ALL YOUR KEEPING ME AWAKE TIMES ALREADY.

  9. My going to be 7 yo in a week had his first sleep-over…he had spent the night at Grandma’s before a few times, so this time Grandma took him and they both spent the night at his cousin’s house. The boys could not sleep in the same room because one of them was so excited about a sleepover, that neither of them were going to fall asleep. So, they separated and went to bed at about 9 pm. They thought it was great.At 7, we’re a long way from a friend sleepover. My niece, though, has been doing overnights with one friend at a time for a couple of years (she’s also 7).

  10. First grade boy went to his first slumber party a couple of weeks ago. And it was his first time sleeping away from us, so there was tension on both sides, but all of us did great.I think they invited about 8 kids and about 5 or 6 stayed for the whole night. When we got there they tossed the boys out in the yard for a while, then there was play time in the yard. I guess there’s also a small rock climbing wall in the garage, and they played on that for a while. Eventually pizza, movie, and sleeping on the floor. Or “sleeping” but that was their problem. They fed them pancakes the next morning and we picked up mid-morning. He was exhausted but he had a great time.

  11. My children are too young for a sleepover, but I am afraid of letting them go to other people’s homes. Even if you know them, you don’t really “know” them. How do you determine that your children will be safe/you are comfortable with the situation?

  12. We haven’t done slumber parties and indeed, I’ve just been horrified to realize that as a parent I may have to host some. Oh no! I’m not sure I remember my brother having those, but I did … maybe they are a girl thing in this neck of the woods, in which case I will be safe.My DS has had sleepovers at other local adult family’s homes, which let’s just say have been a pleasant change in routine for … me (and a great experience for him!). A few of these have involved other similar-age cousins but most are just him and one or two grownups. We haven’t yet had any such at our place, though…

  13. A like-minded mom friend helped us get started the easy way with “half sleepovers” at age 8 or so. Your child can invite one friend over for supper, then they play, put on pajamas, watch a movie and eat popcorn etc. Then the guest goes home at 10:00 pm and sleep in their own beds – yay! All the fun of a sleepover without the anxiety, and only a minor impact on sleep schedules.We started real sleepovers when our kids were 10. We keep it pretty simple: order pizza for supper, play Wii games, play Lego for boys or do hair and makeup for girls, put on pajamas and watch a movie, then sleep in sleepingbags in the basement – sometimes in a tent. We make a pancake breakfast the next morning and send guests home around 10 or 11.
    We often exchange sleepovers with a family whose son and daughter are close in age to our triplets. The girls go to one house and the boys to the other, and choose movies and activities according to gender.
    I still have not hosted a slumber party with more than 3 guests, and don’t want to. Our kids have attended a few, and have sometimes stayed up WAY too late, and gotten upset stomachs. Who allows 11 year olds to keep playing video games and eating junk food at 2 a.m.?? Not me, lights out by midnight! (earlier when they were younger) You can’t make them sleep, but you can make them get into sleeping bags with the lights out, and they’ll shut down eventually. We haven’t run into any social bullying issues, yikes.
    I prefer sleepovers on a Friday night, or the first night of a 3-day weekend. My kids are okay the day after a sleepover, but the 2nd day after, they are really tired and prone to melt-downs and tears. That can make for a long hard Monday!

  14. My sister’s kids are older, so she is blazing this trail for me. One trick I’m keeping handy when I have to host is this: they turn the heat way up to help the kids all fall asleep. Luckily for them their kids birthdays are in the winter, so this trick has worked like a charm. I remember how hard it was to stay awake at Gramma’s house.

  15. glad to read the comments. As a child, I wasn’t allowed to go to sleep overs until I was in high school, and only because it was a close friend, family known to mine, just a few girls, etc. Over protective parents may be? They just believed you slept in your own bed in your own house. And it was definitely a girl thing in my time (I’m 45). My brother was never invited to or wanted sleep overs.I have to say, with a soon to be 6 yo son, I am nervous of the whole thing. I don’t really like the thought of it at a young age and then I worry about what would go on at an older age. I also think about how sleep overs are the perfect opportunity for unfortunate incidents to happen – I would need to know the family REALLY well, and know that there weren’t older siblings around or boyfriends of older sisters, etc. Call me paranoid.
    I will probably relent at some point, but it is going to take a lot of deep breathing on my part. Hyprocritically, I’d be OK with a sleep over at MY house.

  16. Slumber parties! I LOVED these when I was a kid almost as much as my mom HATED them. I think I can now understand why she despised them. We stayed up until all hours making noise, there was always at least one girl who caused drama that my mom would have to referee, and we made a total mess of at least a part of the house. But, I have great childhood memories of these parties, so I’m going to host and allow my daughter to attend them too.

  17. i love my kids having sleepovers! we have had many of them over the years. i have 4 daughters, the first two close in age so i had lots of girls over. actual slumber parties for us started around age 8 i guess. sleepovers are much easier than parties…have a few pizzas available, chips and beverages and leave the kids alone. my 15 and 16 year olds don’t have many friends over at once anymore and my 9 year old hasn’t had a full-on sleepover yet but i am waiting. we homeschooled, so some weeks 2-4 girls would come home with us for a night or two.

  18. Yeah-my OB/GYN only allowed kids over to the house, end of discussion. I think it depends on the temperament of the parent(s), i.e. what you can live with. I can live with them coming over to the house. I could probably live with sleepovers if I have known them for a very long time (but still worry because 1 in 4 women are molested, and 90% of attackers are known). Yikes. I am going to be very unpopular for awhile.

  19. Yeah-my OB/GYN only allowed kids over to the house, end of discussion. I think it depends on the temperament of the parent(s), i.e. what you can live with. I can live with them coming over to the house. I could probably live with sleepovers if I have known them for a very long time (but still worry because 1 in 4 women are molested, and 90% of attackers are known). Yikes. I am going to be very unpopular for awhile

  20. I am uncomfortable with the idea of sleepovers. Anything can happen when you aren’t there. I don’t mean to seem paranoid, but almost all the abuse stories I’ve heard start with, “I was over at my friend’s house for a sleepover and couldn’t fall asleep, and my friend’s dad stayed up with me and then asked me if I’d ever…” So it sounds like a really bad idea to me.On the other hand, our kids do fall asleep over at their friend’s house while his parents babysit our guys. We exchange babysitting. They all fall asleep in one big bed and then we come and get them around 11pm. We trust these parents, so I am comfortable. But I think I would say no unless I knew the parents really really well. Even then you can be wrong.

  21. On the other hand, our kids do fall asleep over at their friend’s house while his parents babysit our guys. We exchange babysitting. They all fall asleep in one big bed and then we come and get them around 11pm. We trust these parents, so I am comfortable. But I think I would say no unless I knew the parents really really well. Even then you can be wrong.http://monsterbeatsstudio.us

  22. Oh brother. My kids have been having sleepovers since kindergarten. We do sleepover parties for their birthdays but only 2 or 3 friends maximum. We did one with 7 boys in first grade but that was too many! Sleepovers are fine so long as you make sure they go to bed–I usually stay not far from their room reading and keep shhshing them when they start giggling–usually takes no more than 15 min for them to fall asleep. no big deal!!

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