When is the right time for kids to go to slumber parties?
It’s back to school time. And if you’re like most parents, you are in a tailspin filling out paperwork, learning new schedules, buying school supplies, and futilely attempting to get your kids out of bed before they miss the bus.
The first few weeks of school can be overwhelming for everyone. So, when your kids come home with a phone number messily scribbled on a torn piece of notebook paper, asking you to make arrangements for a sleepover, you need to be prepared with a well thought out answer.
To Sleep Over or Not to Sleep Over
As our children’s social circles expand, so does their access to all sorts of experiences, good and bad. While we can’t raise our kids in a bubble, we can take steps to protect them spiritually and physically. If you aren’t sure how you feel about your children attending sleepovers, follow these three steps.
1. Pray for wisdom.
James 1:5 tells us that when we are struggling to figure out what to do in a situation, God will generously give us wisdom if we simply ask Him!
One place God gives us wisdom for raising kids is in the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”
Two verses I’ve found helpful in raising children and making wise decisions for them include:
- Proverbs 29:17 - “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”
- Proverbs 22:6 - “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
2. Don’t be afraid to call the parents.
Never feel ashamed for asking direct questions such as:
- Are there older kids in the house? If so, will any of their friends be sleeping over as well?
- Are the kids allowed unsupervised time on the internet or television?
- What are the sleeping arrangements?
The answers you receive will help you make an informed decision. If you don’t feel comfortable asking these questions, then it’s probably a good indication that you don’t feel comfortable with the sleepover.
3. Have (multiple) honest conversations with your children.
Relationships built on trust provide space for open communication from everyone involved. As you stay in tune with your children, you are the best judge of their maturity and character. You will know if they are ready to handle the responsibility of sleeping over at a friend’s house. It’s helpful to talk with your kids about body safety and make sure they feel comfortable speaking up for themselves.
Sleepovers can be lots of fun, but the truth is, they are not necessary to have a happy childhood. If you’re not feeling great about allowing sleepovers, half sleepovers are a good compromise.
You can have all the fun — food, playtime and a movie — but everyone goes home and sleeps in their own beds! Our family does half sleepovers. This decision doesn’t always make us the most popular parents, but it’s one we feel good about.