Mum asks what age is appropriate for children to start having sleepovers?

“My 7 year old daughter has been invited to a sleepover party. I only know the mum of the birthday girl from school pick-up. My first instinct is to say “NO WAY!”

“I’ve got a vivid imagination but all I think about is what happens if one of them is a paedo (I know it’s inappropriate to think that)

“She doesn’t have a way of contacting me if she’s not comfortable and I just feel she’s too young.

“Am I overthinking? How old was you child when they went to a sleepover?”

Mums responses are quite surprising

While many parents agreed that 7 is too young for a sleepover and maybe she could just pick her up at a certain time, other mums argued that we seriously need to stop sheltering our kids and just let them go and enjoy their childhood! (Can’t say I agree with that argument, you?)

One mum said, “When did everyone become so paranoid?
If your daughter wants to go then talk to the parents and arrange to have coffee/play date before had an get to know them.
Why project your issues on to your child? Kids are so protected these days that when they are finally adults they won’t be able to function because they are never left alone and never allowed to make their own decisions!”

Another said, “I so agree! My adult kids are very confident now partly because I allowed certain freedoms when they were younger. At 16/17 each kid went on a foreign exchange for 8 weeks so they needed to be prepared!!”

Another comment continued, “Oh wow a sensible parent. My kids went to play at friends houses, they had sleep overs and went to school camp. They are now well functioning teens. They also ate dirt and non organic food!!”

– “It’s so sad that this is the trend now….. my kids have had friends sleepover but it took forever for the kids to convince the parents… it’s so wrong that our kids miss out on all the things we parents enjoyed. We are living in a cotton wool society.”

– “I started sleeping over at friends houses in grade 2. Granted all my friends lived in the same neighborhood but still. Meet the parents first. Don’t deny your child’s rights to have friends and have fun just because you’re afraid of “pedos”. This is ridiculous. Not everyone has an interest in children. And 7 is old enough to say “hey I want to call my mum”.”

– “I’m sick of parents coddling their children and then their children can’t handle the real world. “I wrap my kid in bubble wrap” well that’s no kind of life if you ask me!”

– “Ask the mum if you can call her before bed or she can call you. Give her a code word like peanut butter. If she says something like “hey mum did you get my peanut butter?” You know she wants to come home or she’s feeling uncomfortable and you go get her with an excuse.
We can’t keep sheltering our kids. Sometimes there isn’t a pedo waiting around the corner.
Sometimes it’s just a sleepover where she will have fun with a couple friends and come home the next morning.”

– “We have become such helicopter parents we don’t allow children to experience new things in life we always find the negative don’t allow children to take risks and climb trees playing in the dirt and you’ll find most dangers come from with in the family.”

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  • I don’t think you can be guided by guilt here. If you’re not comfortable then don’t allow your child to sleep over. I was only allowed to sleep over at 3 kid’s houses growing up – the default answer was no whenever I asked to sleep over at someone elses house. I didn’t grow up damaged – it was just our rules. Everyone will have different house rules.

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  • Each to their own, I think you have to do what you feel comfortable with

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  • I don’t let my 11yo have a sleepover. It’s up to a parent to decide what’s right for them and what’s not. It’s no one else’s business.

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  • 7 is a little too young in my mind unless everyone is very close friends.

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  • You need to befriend the parents of your your children’s friends. That will set your mind at ease. And be guided by your child. If they’re comfortable with it, you should try to be too.

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  • You need to meet the parents and that should help put your mind at ease. Also ask if it’s alright for your daughter to ring you if she changes her mind and doesn’t want to stay. It’s good to be wary but you can’t always be there for them.

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  • I don’t blame her, 7 is way too young.

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  • My daughter had a friend over for a sleepover late last year both girls are 6 and had a great time. Let kids be kids.

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  • I personally think 7 years old is a bit too young for a sleepover.

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  • Children all mature and are ready for sleepovers at their own stage. It’s ok to worry as a parent.

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  • I can totally relate to this mums worries. Age 7, my kids had sleepovers with well known family members, I know that’s no protection against pedophiles. But if you don’t know the parents at all,except school pick up, I would not be considering it. Unless I could fit in a few visits before the sleepover. Meet the parents, check out the home etc Even then I would be reticent

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  • I agree with this mum as we think caution in these situations is good, responsible parenting

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  • I think it’s a very valid question to ask. My kids are a bit young still for sleepovers but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with them staying at practically a strangers house. I would organise a grown up catch up with the parents or even a play date were I got to talk to the parents. My girls are under 4 so I don’t have to worry about sleepovers just yet but my son is almost 6 & has already asked to stay over a friends house. I have had to explain to him that mummy needs to meet the parents first.

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  • I met a girl who was sexually assaulted at a sleepover at about this girl’s age by somebody fairly well known to the family. By the time she was in her early teens she was in and out of a pshyiatric hospital constantly. I don’t blame Mums for being concerned, or Dads either for being concerned

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  • My immediate thought would be no as well! My child will not be staying at anyone’s house while until they are alot older!

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