Remember the 80s classic Gremlins? How that adorable little puffball spawned snarling little monsters after eating chicken after midnight? That’s pretty much what I became after every sleepover I attended.
I was not one (and still am not one) who can be functional in a nice way after getting a horrible night of sleep or not enough sleep. I remember needing an entire day or more to recover after sleeping over at a friend’s house or having friends sleep over at mine. I remember on more than one occasion my parents threatening, “You aren’t going to be able to go to any more sleepovers if you can’t come home and not be a grouchy, horrible human.”
I also remember the old adage that “nothing good happens after midnight” and never was that more true than at a sleepover. Granted, I was a bit older when all the debauchery started but there was sneaking out, late night walks after parents had gone to sleep, stupid decisions and bad choices; all because there were more brains in one location dreaming up ridiculous things to do in the dead of night. Again, we were relatively good kids and didn’t do anything super horrible or dangerous but looking back on it now, many of our choices were just plain stupid.
And now, my 8-year-old has started to ask the question about when she can have her first sleepover that isn’t at her grandparents’ house or a friend’s house where either I or the whole family stay over too. I don’t think my husband and I were really thinking about or prepared to issue a verdict about the idea of sleepovers when she first started asking and, luckily, she hasn’t actually been invited to any sleepovers yet so we’ve had time to really think about how we would answer and why (which is a blessing in the realm of parenting for sure).
Recently, we’ve decided that we are not going to do sleepovers, at least for the foreseeable future.
Trust me, I know this is a thing. I am not judging those of you out there who do sleepovers. We have just decided that we aren’t going to do the sleepover thing unless it is with family (she sleeps over at her grandparents’ house nearly weekly now and that won’t change) or with friends where we ourselves would also feel comfortable sleeping over (which we do sometimes and sometimes not).
Our reasons vary and I’m sure will change as she gets older and it actually becomes something that happens. Right now, she needs sleep and when she doesn’t get it, we have to handle a grouchy Gremlin character and I’d prefer not to as much as possible. I also am not comfortable having my 3rd grader sleeping over at someone’s house where I just kind of know the family. If I wouldn’t pack my jammies and go along, having a Mommy sleepover while the girls have a Girls’ sleepover, then the answer will be no. She can go to the party, she can stay until 8:30 or 9 but then I will pick her up and bring her home to her own bed.
Do I see this being a forever rule? Maybe. We aren’t sure yet and I’m sure our reasons and our decisions may change as she and the twins get older but we have to make decisions that we are comfortable with and keep our kids as healthy and safe as we can. This is that kind of decision for us. That may make us party poopers but it isn’t our job to be fun parents (although I think we are plenty of fun), it is our job to keep our kids as safe and healthy as we can and sleepovers call into question both of those things for me.
How did you make the decision about sleepovers? I would love to talk about this topic with all of you!