Is My Child Ready for a Sleepover?

Jillian Berndtson

| 3 min read

Two girls reading at night on a bed
First sleepovers can be exciting for kids but trigger anxiety for their parents. It’s hard to know when your child is ready for a sleepover and if you would like them to participate.
There is no solid rule on what age is appropriate for kids to start going to sleepovers. Some may be ready at age five, while others may wait until they’re older or never partake in sleepovers. The decision to allow a child to go to a sleepover rests solely on the parents and how ready they feel their child is. Some questions to consider might be:
  • How well do I know the family?
  • How well do I know the other boys or girls that will be there?
  • How far away is their house?
  • Where will the kids be sleeping?
  • Has my child had sleepovers at my house?
  • Has my child been to sleepovers at other family members’ houses?
  • Does my child have difficulty sleeping?
  • Is my child able to ask for help when he/she needs it?
If you don’t know the family that well and would like to, you can consider meeting for a cup of coffee or playdate beforehand to get to know them. After evaluating the circumstances, you can decide what the right decision may be.
If you decide that your child is ready, it may be beneficial to encourage them to call you if they are worried or uncomfortable. Having that safety net will help ease the worries of both you and your children. You may also consider giving your child details about the sleepover so they can understand what to expect.
After their first sleepover, the child will likely want to talk about how it went. Allow for an open conversation, which will give you insight into their feelings and thoughts about the night. It may also show you what part they didn’t like, which can help you in the future.
If you decide that your child is not ready, there are other steps you can take if you plan to allow sleepovers in the future. Rather than having a sleepover, you can have a “sleep-under” where the kids play, have dinner, and do sleepover activities. Instead of spending the night, the kids go home before bedtime in their pajamas. It may be helpful to only invite one friend first and work up to having multiple kids over.
Parents know their children best. If the parents don’t believe their child is ready or don’t like the idea of the sleepover, they have the power to say no.
Do you let your kids take part in overnight sleepovers? How did you determine they were ready? Share your tips in the comments.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Photo credit: People Images

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.