Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Question of Sleepovers

As a teenager, I can remember begging my parents to let me go on sleepovers. This was in high school and my friends were constantly over at each others houses. I rarely got to join in the fun and was often resentful of my parents about this. The strange thing was that on the rare occasions that they did allow me to spend the night at a friend's place, I didn't really enjoy it. I was uncomfortable being in another family's home. Maybe this was all because my parents didn't let me have enough practice at sleepovers.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm starting to think of sleepovers again. More specifically, how I'm probably not going to be allowing Aaron or Adrian to go to too many of them. Aaron is barely six years old and already the kids are talking about it at school. Even the teachers are touting it as an essential part of growing up. I can't agree with it - especially not for children as young as Aaron.

I'm ok with the idea of an occasional playdate and I think that maybe in the future, if there are groups of children that are having sleepovers, I might suggest that my children will stay to 8pm (depending on how old they are) and then come home to sleep in their own homes.

With the constant headlines of  the many types of horrible and crazy people out there, many of whom appear 'normal', how can I let my children spend the night in the home of somebody that I don't know? Even if I have a chat with them each day during school pick up, I don't know anything about these people. And then, even if they were 'good parents', how do I know that they don't have other people who visit their homes? I'm also very strict about the types of movies or tv shows that my children watch - other people may not be. There are so many of these questions that I don't have comfortable answers to. And, I don't think I need to go out of my way to become comfortable with this idea.

While I'm on this topic, I remember reading an article some years ago about teaching children how to speak up if they feel uncomfortable about a situation. The situation could be something a person says or does or even a tv program that they do not feel comfortable watching. I need to start talking to Aaron about these things....

So what do you think? How comfortable are you with your children sleeping over at a friend's place? And grandparents, do you have the same views on sleepovers for your grandchildren as you did when your children were little?

Now, don't anybody mention 'Tiger Moms' because firstly, I've always thought that was a ridiculous term, and secondly, I'm not one and don't aspire to be one either. 


NomadicExpat said...

I guess I was one of the lucky ones where your parents allowed you to sleep over at my place. I dont know about you, but I had SO MUCH FUN whenever you slept over. I also vaguely remember this pic we took one morning, after we woke up where we sat in my wardrobe -- remember that?

Well, the kind of sleepovers my parents allowed when we were slightly older than Aaron's age was at my aunt's. But then, when I was 6, my parents had to leave me at relatives for a week or so when my grandma was ill; they had no choice. Does that count as a sleepover? I think I had more friends sleeping over at our place than me sleeping over at theirs. By then, I was already going to church camps etc and they were ok with friends sleeping over. So much fun!

Perhaps, the answer is to have your kids only sleepover at a friend whom you trust well enough to do so and stick with that.

Lauri said...

I went to many sleepovers as a child and did fine/had fun.. it's a rite of passage.

I just sent my 7 year old on her 1st sleepover and I should have trusted my gut and picked her up at 9 ish to come home & sleep. She was so overstimulated in a room full of 15 girls ( big B-day party) that she stayed up all night long and never slept at all. I picked up a cranky child the next day and it took days to catch up on that missed sleep. She sucks her fingers to fall asleep and was embarrassed to do this.

we may try again... 1 on 1 with one close friend.. but I don't think she is ready.