Thursday, February 9, 2017

What's An Appropriate Slumber Party Age for Kids?

This morning during our car-ride to school, Lil Pumpkin asked, "Mummy, can I go to Nat's slumber party?".

I was kind of taken aback as Lil Pumpkin is just 7 years old... do kids this young have slumber parties with friends already??? I mean, Lil Pumpkin has stayed overnight at her grandma's and aunt's homes, and even had an overnight graduation camp for K2 before, but at a friend's home... already??

Instinctively, I replied, "No." and Lil Pumpkin's bright and expectant face immediately frowned. "But everybody is going...." she tried to reason.

Oh dear... #FOMO {fear of missing out} is starting for her already.

To give some context, Nat's is her classmate since P1. Although Lil Pumpkin has been her friend for the past 2 years & been to her birthday party and all, we barely know her parents or family situation. I'm not implying that her friend's home is dangerous, but leaving Lil Pumpkin alone at a drop-off birthday party is one thing, and sending her off for the night to stay-over alone at someone's house is another.

Growing up, I attended a few sleepovers myself and enjoyed myself tremendously. There's nothing like playing games, watching movies, eating junk food and talking with your good friends deep into the night... then waking up to do it all over again in the morning. So. Much. Fun.

But I think I was as teen when my mum first let me attend my first slumber party though.

As much as I would love a child-free night of peace {& extra room on our bed!!} and a chance for Lil Pumpkin to enhance her social skills / independence, I feel she is still too young for slumber parties with her friends and explained as such to her.

As a 7 year old, I think we've instilled in her some pretty solid values and she's able to tell right from wrong most of the time for simple matters. However, there are obviously grey areas and complicated matters where she will not be able to make the correct decision for herself. Also, as paranoid as it may sound, we do not know her friend's family well and what if there's an older sibling or adult in the family or even neighbour that wants to "try something funny"? Even if not, maybe the group of young friends themselves want to play pranks and do something dangerous while the parents aren't looking, and will Lil Pumpkin be able to stand up for herself in that situation and dare to say "no" to her friends?

I don't want to put her in such a dilemma or risky situation at such a tend age and as much as I know how much she wants to have fun and spend more time with her friends, I'm afraid I have to be the strict parent and say no to her.

I did reassure her though that when she was more mature / older and if it was to a family that we were on closer terms & more comfortable with, she would most likely be able to attend a slumber party on her own. But until then, I reckon play dates and day parties are good enough opportunities for her to socialise with her young friends outside of school. 

I'm glad that although Lil Pumpkin was sad about not being able to go, she listened, agreed with what I was saying and didn't think I was a "bad mummy".

Sigh... I tend to feel like one though whenever I have to say "no" to her as I wonder if I am being too harsh or paranoid. Parenting sure is tough!!! (。•́︿•̀。)

When do you think kids are ready to go to slumber parties or sleepovers?
What's your criteria for letting them attend one?


Susan said...

I think it really depends on whose place she's going to. If they are family friends that we know I may allow sleepovers else I think I'll be worried the whole night.

An Apel a Day said...

Isaak is almost 9. He had 1 boy sleep over. Mica had 1 boy sleep over at the same time, and he's 11. I know people participate in sleep overs a lot, but I just feel strange about it if I don't know the parents well. You are right 7 is pretty young. Even 9 is pretty young to me. I do know the kid that's 9 - grandparents that are raising him. Since it was at our house on New Years Eve, I was ok with it.

Now my boys have for much of their lives had overnights with their cousins that are the same ages as them. I trust my sister and brother-in-law. They've watched my kids, since they were babies, and we've done the same for them.

Unknown said...

For our family, it's no sleepovers unless it's at grandma's. We cannot be too cautious these days as horrors abound. And even if it's a close family friend I wouldn't allow it because it's really better safe than sorry and most cases of abuse are by those known to the child, even relatives.

Stacy said...

Agree with you on this. Try not to worry about being a bad mum on this... the worry when you DO agree to a sleepover will come only too soon!

Phoebe said...

Hmmm.. I think its harder for me to allow my kids for sleep over.. so far my children didnt experience! Even for my boy who is now 14 yo! I think its better to be more cautious than something to happen later. I think I will get more cautious for my daughter!

Young Smarties said...

Oh yeah, parenting is tough! We always want to be nice but occasionally we have to be the "bad guys" in order to do something right. If I were you, I will feel so insecure too...

Theresa Mahoney said...

There's no right or wrong age limit, it's how YOU feel as the parent. You have to go with your gut, and your gut says 7 is too young. My girls started sleepovers at about 10, though Allison did stay the night across the street when she was 7 or 8, but big sister was there with her too and we knew the neighbors quite well so no worries. If we didn't know the parents, it would have been a no go. Heck, even though Allison is 13 and can stand up for herself, I still have a hard time letting her do sleepovers but I know it's part of the growing process so I give in and let her go. Thankfully, we haven't had any issues so far!

KarMie's blog said...

I don't think I feel safe letting my kids sleepover especially at that young age. Not sure when the right age is though...but better be safe than sorry! U made the right decision. Tough love.

Jamie Chaw

--andy-- said...

The only sleep-over kids have done is in school hall :p
If we know the host's parents, we would not mind.

cheers, Andy

The Hooting Post said...

Wow, they sure start young with just about most things! I'll probably feel the same way when Vera comes to us with the same request. Did her friends share their adventure after that? Hope she didn't feel too left out...

Have a great day!

Shub said...

Even I would have said no. Kids have their own minds now a days but it's always heartening to say that they ask for permission and listen to parents.

Unknown said...

For us, the company she would be with would be pivotal to our decision. Though she had not asked for a Sleepover, her 'official' sleepover was at a 3D2N church camp...yes 3D2N...we were game as we knew she's safe and will be in good hands. 2nd would be what will she learn / experience? If its good bonding, yes but if its stuck to an iPad where there's virtually no control ....then she's better at home.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't be keen on a sleepover at 7 years old, either, unless it's at the grandparent's place. For a family whose kids or parents I don't know? No way. That's much too young.

Adrine said...

My girls had their 2 friends (from the same neighbourhood) for a sleepover recently and they were soooo proud of it! I didn't realise it would be such a big thing.

I would probably say no if its not in our house tho :)

Masshole Mommy said...

I had my first one at age 8, but my youngest son just had his first one this past summer for his 9th birthday.