Thursday, November 15, 2012

Creating Family Policy

I knew this day would come, but I didn't expect it so soon. Katy has been invited to her first slumber party. We know the family (but not well) from Girl Scouts, and they are nice, I don't have hesitations about the family specifically. But she's six. There are SO many things to consider. She's had a lot of anxiety at night lately, doesn't like to go to bed without me (even Daddy isn't good enough), ends up sleeping in her brother's bed quite often, etc. Not to mention occasional night terrors, especially when she's overtired (like she would be if she stayed up late at a party).

And I love all those little Daisy girls, but let me tell you - a group of 6 years old girls with hours and hours of unstructured leisure time? Can create quite a bit of drama. I know these girls well and I just...would rather she didn't spend the night.

Katy herself is hesitant, because she knows how she is at night. But she wants to go, wants to try, because she SOOO desperately wants to be a big girl. And nothing hurts her heart more than feeling like she's not big enough to do something that others are doing. She told me, "But mom, if I don't spend the night and the other girls do, I'll be a baby and they'll be big girls." Ugh. I'm feeling annoyed that I have to be the bad mom and pick her up early. Especially if she's saying to the hosts that she wants to stay, it makes me look like the overprotective parent who won't let go.

I think I would feel differently if it were a sleepover with one or two friends that I knew the family well. But a slumber party full of 10 girls? And I've never set foot in their house before? We're not ready for that.

So as of right now Brian and I are we make a family policy of no slumber parties until she's older? The invitations will keep coming, and rather than go through this drama every time, it might be easier to just set that expectation now. But I'm not sure that we're ready to say what age will be ok? So is it an indefinite policy?

Any thoughts out there? I'm really curious...asking for advice two days in a row!!


Pam said...

A few months ago we took Jack to a sleep-over at his friends house who we know really well and trust (Linda's family). He called at 11.30pm so I went and got him. I would feel comfortable trying there anytime in the future as I think of those people as my own family. Then this summer he was invited to a school friend's sleep-over with 3 other boys. I let him go because I know the mom well but she went to bed at 9pm and left her hubby in charge and I'm not ok with that. So we have a strict policy of no sleepovers until he's older. I don't care how much he begs. It depends upon how well you know & trust the parents I guess. My desire to protect my kids from predators far outweighs my fear of offending the parents or having Jack be upset with me. Good luck. It's a tough one!

Jen said...

Jacob and Ellie had sleepover birthday parties this year. They both had friends that came for dinner, cake, presents, and evening fun, but didn't spend the night. The parties started at 6 and the kids that didn't spend the night went home at 10 when we started to settle down for bed. This seems like a good compromise to spending the night. Though, I will say that 6 seems a little young for slumber parties. Jacob turned 10 and Ellie turned 8 and these were their first.

Anonymous said...

You know I don't respond to blogs often, but I'll chime in on this one. I'm a firm believer in the "we don't sleep over at other people's house" policy. It's gotten us out of SO many binds. We haven't told our kids a firm age when the ban on sleepovers will be lifted. My kids know that we have a few friends that are "like family" so they can sleep there. Otherwise, they can enjoy the party, then come home in time to sleep. The possibilities about movies, music, computer websites, and even conversation topics is just too open-ended when kids sleep over. Even if this specific sleepover would be safe, I think you would regret not having a rule in place for the future, because I assure you that one of the kids will eventually get invited to a sleepover that you don't feel good about it, and it will be really hard to invent a rule at that point. When the time is right, you'll be able to "bend the rule" for the appropriate situation and kids will understand, but six is way too young! I don't think Katy would do well in that situation at this age and you should perhaps spare her the anxiety. My guess is that when the party arrives, you will find out that there are other kids that are getting picked up as well. The fact that the host doesn't realize that this is a gray area for many families at age 6 is a bad sign!!!