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Sleepovers

Sleepovers are a rite of passage for the youth of our culture.  But are sleepovers really a good idea in this day and age?  And, if so, what is the best age for parents to begin allowing their children to have or attend sleepovers?

Pros of sleepovers:

  • peer bonding
  • social skills development
  • fun
  • longer chats than a typical daytime-only social encounter can accommodate
  • practice for independence

Cons of sleepovers:

  • exhausted, sleep-deprived parents
  • houses potentially trashed by children not well supervised by exhausted parents;
  • potential for embarrassment (i.e., bedwetting);
  • potential for fright and nightmares from scary stories told after dark

So, are sleepovers really a good idea in this day and age?  The answer is subjective: each set of parents needs to weigh the pros and cons of sleepovers and make the choice that is right for their children.

If parents choose to allow their children to have or attend sleepovers, at what age should sleepovers first be permitted?  Certainly, the maturity of each child (and his/her circle of friends) needs to be considered over any specific age.  That said, the average age at which children become mature enough to want to have or attend sleepovers, and be able to handle the sleepovers reasonably well, is 7 or 8 years.

In sum, there is no clear-cut right or wrong answer on whether parents should allow their children to have or attend sleepovers and, if permitted, at what age sleepovers should begin.  Parents must weigh the pros and cons of sleepovers, assess the maturity of their children and their children’s circle of friends, and make the best choices for their children.

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