Parenting Class

This Month’s Parenting Class: Family Rules for Sleepovers

One day your child runs into the house just off the school bus and is so excited about meeting a new friend at school. They hit it off so well and had a blast and they immediately ask if they can go over and spend the night! They are thrilled and we are terrified internally. Who is this new kid? Who are their parents? What should you say in the moment?

We have all been there. I remember the first moments of figuring out how to handle this request and realizing that this is not something I had really ever thought of before. Somehow sleepover rules never were a priority until the request finally came and they suddenly mattered immensely. This month we want to help you think about creating your own family rules for sleepovers.

When you think through sleepover you are really protecting your kids. You should never say yes to a sleepover situation that you don’t trust. This goes for a camp, retreat, or night away with one of their friends. You need to know where they are going and who will be there and what the rules are of the place your child is heading. When you allow your child to spend the night away you are trusting another adult to make sure your child is safe. You want to make sure your child has a good experience and it not exposed to an awkward or dangerous situation. I’m not trying to blow this out of proportion but when kids are away overnight they can encounter all kinds of situations that you would not approve of.

Let’s think through a few family rules you might want to consider…

• Don’t allow kids to spend the night anywhere you don’t know the other parents or adult leaders. // Before you allow kids to go away make sure you know who they are going with. This rules gives you time to check out folks on social media, set up a coffee meeting, or invite the family over for dinner. This gives you time to sense if you trust where they will be going.
• Make sure your kids know your boundaries. // Let your child know that your rules at home apply when they area away. This is important for what movies they watch or where they go. Be clear with what you expect.
• Make sure kids know rules about where to sleep. // Make sure your child knows to never sleep alone in another home that’s new. They should always be in the room with their friend. You never know what other kids might be at the other home or event.
• Ensure your child knows how to reach you. // If your child is away they have to know how to reach you. They need to know how to grab a phone and text or call you when they are away.
• Say no to any sleepover you don’t feel good about. // Leverage no in order to protect your child. You can have the other child over the play if you don’t feel good about an overnight. You can agree to pick them up before bedtime if they go to another house. Stand your ground when you sense something is off.

Avoid the panic of the next request for a sleepover and go ahead and create your own family sleepover rules!

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