To Sleepover or not to Sleepover…That is the Question

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Remember when you were a kid and how exciting it was to have a sleep over with your friends?  For me, it was in the late 80’s and early 90’s…In the late 80’s I got to experience the typical elementary school sleepover. Lots of screaming, laughing, crying, and saying up way too late. Then in the early 90’s I would spend my Friday nights staying over at my BFF’s house; sometimes just the two of us, but sometimes with a group of girls. We stayed up late, spent hours giggling non-stop, making prank calls to boys we liked, and playing Girl Talk or Sweet Valley High board games…and also sometimes crying.  We didn’t have a care in the world other than what music we wanted to listen to or which boy we should call.

Now that I am all grown up and am a parent of my own elementary age children, I have much different thoughts about sleepovers than I did back in the 90’s. The times have sure changed and things just don’t seem quite as simple anymore.

Generally speaking, I lean a little more towards the free-range parent side than an over-the-top helicopter parent, but handing over my child to a family I don’t know, freaks me out. Maybe I am being over protective, but people are freaks and are good at disguising that fact. I really can’t even watch the news anymore because I can’t stand hearing about all the terrible things that people do.

Now that my kids are approaching the sleepover age, I worry a lot about what I am going to do when the first request happens. I worry about simple things like my child’s behavior at someone else’s house to real safety issues for them when spending the night with people that I don’t really know. Now don’t get me wrong…I want my kids to know the joy of waking up someone else’s parents at 2 a.m. from laughing too loudly. I want them to feel the stomach ache from eating pizza and then having a dance party and laughing until they nearly puke.  But in today’s world we have to be cautious and aware of who our children are hanging out with.

What I worried about in the 90’s

  • Being the first one to fall asleep.
  • Getting caught making a prank phone call to a boy.
  • Loosing at Girl Talk or Mall Madness board games.
  • Getting in trouble for staying up too late.
  • Playing “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board”. That was a creepy game.

What I worry about now

  • Not knowing much about the kids that my children are hanging out with.
  • Are their parent’s criminals or perverts?
  • Will the parents supervise what they are doing on the computer/iPad?
  • Them playing outside alone when it is dark and not being watched closely.
  • Them wetting the bed and getting made fun of.
  • Their behavior and manners.
  • What will they say? What family secrets will they tell?

So, what is the answer? I really have no clue. What am I going to do when the first sleep over request comes in? Again, I have absolutely no idea. Since it is seemingly unacceptable to be hermits and keep my kids with me 24 hours a day, I guess I will have to take this one, one request at a time. I better sharpen up my internet stalking skills, too.

What do you think about sleep overs? What do you do to ensure your child’s safety?

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