How Old Is Old Enough To Let Your Little One Go On A Sleepover?

Old Enough For A Sleepover
28 May 2016

Riddle me this, pennywise parents. How old is old enough to let your little one go on a sleepover at a friend's house?

I ask because sleepovers for kids is a topic of hot debate among my mum-friends and I.

And with three kids ranging in age from two years old to almost 12 years old, it's a topic I seem to keep re-visiting every few years.

I'm not talking about staying with relatives overnight for the first time or even sleeping over at the house of a family friend who is practically family. Nope, I mean the first proper sleepover where your kid gets invited to a party of a classmate, and the invite clearly states that the plan is for the kids to overdose on sugar and then stay up all night nattering in the name of 'sleeping over'.

Perhaps it's obvious from my tone that I'm not a huge fan of sleepovers and have yet to allow my eldest child to have one, despite the fact that he's high-school bound and most of his mates crossed this milestone yonks ago.

I didn't go on a sleepover until I was well into double figures and even then, I don't exactly look back on the experience fondly. So I'm in no rush to allow any of my kids to go on a sleepover and I can totally live with the fact that this means they think I'm over-protective and pretty lame.

So I want to hear your views. How old is old enough to be allowed to go on a sleepover at a classmate's house? And if, like me, you're less than in love with the whole notion of sleepovers, what is it about them that bothers you?

You can leave a comment below or join the debate over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parents

66 comments

  • Emmi W.

    If its a family friend who I trust with my life yes and would let my son and daughter stay at theirs. But anyone else no. Not till their in high school.

  • Emily-Jane E.

    Not a fan unless it's family or really close friends! Avoid them like the plague.

  • Toni B.

    My eldest is 2 and a half and my youngest is 12 months and none of them have spent the night with out us yet. Not in any rush for them to start either.

  • Anna M.

    I have allowed my baby to "sleep over" at both his nans houses, my grandparents houses, his auntys house and his godparents place. He's 22 months old and very good for them all. Anyone else? Not until he's at least 8.

    • Katy C.

      Mine have both done the same!

  • Lucy F.

    I'm undecided on this. Mainly because my daughter isn't even 2 yet. I had sleepovers as a child. And had friends spend the night at mine. No big deal really. I think I was probably around 7 or 8 at my first sleepover. It was pretty common in my school

  • Emma R.

    Depends how mature the child is! Back when i was a child i had sleepovers from around 9yrs old. My 3yr old sleeps over at families houses x

  • Linzi A.

    Never. Unless its my sisters, brother or her nanas and her aunties on dads side. She will never have sleepovers at friends and friends will never sleep here. Her cousins are fine though. Too many bad things happen and you just never know so i just wouldnt risk it. X

  • Sian H.

    My 7yr old had his first sleepover at a friends last month and I worried about him constantly X he was fine though X

  • Charlie W.

    My little girl has been staying at grandparent since she was newborn but I wouldn't count that as a sleepover? Last summer she had 2 friends stay the night with a Disney film, party bag and popcorn at 3 years, they were all good as gold and in bed by 8:30 pm

  • Hayley C.

    Our beaver scouts have sleep overs from 6years as an organised event and my own son has slept out at non family houses from about that age also ...however I'd have to know the parent and what they were like first ....I had sleepovers nearly every weekend as a kid ...can't keep them wrapped in cotton wool forever

  • Helen M.

    My son has just turned 5 and wants his best friend to sleep over. Might happen next week. But his best friend does live 2 doors away :grin:

  • Hazel W.

    I had a ball at the age of 8+ (30 years ago.... now I'm depressed). Let's be honest, you'd probably be alright if the other parents were 'like us"can you knew they were decent caring folks taking on the responsibility of your kid but you can't be sure. I would dread having them as sleep seldom seems to happen until the dawn chorus starts but in all circumstances you have stop helicoptering and let them experience that too! We all survived in an era where mobiles and social media didn't exist! :wink:

  • Mollie W.

    My 6 year old went away with rainbows recently and she had a great time, but don't think she'll have a sleepover at friends till she's quite a bit older.

  • Cazza H.

    I don't think I would unless they're close friends and I know the parent(s) well. Family yes no Problem X

  • Carrie H.

    I have 3 boys aged 3,5 & 8 yrs old. My 5yr old has stayed at his best friends house several times, however we are close and more like family than friends. My eldest has never slept at anyones house other than immediate family. I'm not sure I'm comfortable letting the little two stay at friends houses at the moment, but maybe the eldest as hea getting to an age where he has to be given a bit of freedom. If asked as apprehensive as I'd be I trust his friends parents so would probably say yes. X

    • Jo H.

      I've 3 boys as well. 8,5,2 my eldest has had 2 sleepovers in the last month. They were his first at friend's houses. He's only ever slept at grandparents before. He came home exhausted from both but thoroughly enjoyed himself. They were both with parents we know well so had no problem saying yes. He's got a beaver sleepover next (middle of June) and I'm more nervous for this one as they off for a day trip following the sleepover but he's so excited couldn't say no. X

    • Hayley C.

      From experience he'll love the beaver sleep over and you won't be the only parent to worry .....I update our parents throughout the evening and as soon as kids wake to put their minds at rest ....our last sleepover was Friday the 13th of all days and we had 13 children sleeping over hahaha

    • Jo G.

      My son did beaver sleep over first. He will love it. X

  • Laura W.

    Apart from grandparents houses since little he's went for a sleepover at his cousins since age 3.5. Just the other week our old neighbour moved house and we were all out one night and arranged to go visit them the next day but a while later a sleepover was suggested, he decided he wanted to go so we let him. (He'll be 6 in sept) bag packed and off he went, chuffed to bits! He was delighted he could and was as good as gold x

  • Lisa-jayne L.

    18 years old :p

  • Donna L.

    I'd only let them go if I knew the parents of their friend very well.

  • Emma M.

    .ill let my girly have people to sleepover here and she's 6, but I won't let her go over anyone's for a sleepover, just daddies every fortnight for the weekend. Overprotective parent! And I've got 3girks, 6,4 and 19 months x

  • Naomi M.

    .....when they are 35?? Or is that too soon???

  • Melissa C.

    I don't think I feel comfortable with sleep overs. I've got two children, my eldest is nearly 8. I've never let any of my children have a sleep over yet. Maybe when they are teenagers they can lol! X

  • NL84

    One of my eldest friends keeps mentioning it, I never know what to say so scoot round the subject. He's 7 now but don't want him stopping anywhere apart from family really. 

  • Claire F.

    My son is having his first sleepover tomorrow and he is 8 and so are his 2 friends that r staying over xx

  • Amanda W.

    My boy is almost 4 and has never slept over anywhere and he is definitely no where near ready for a sleepover party. He would quite happily sleepover at nannys but is not even ready to go to a play date on his own at a friends house yet.

  • Sarah B.

    I think it all depends on how well you know the family that are hosting the sleepover.

  • Sarah B.

    Oh dear I let my son he is six... He stayed with a school friend I knew the mum

  • Claire F.

    Well I'm clearly a crap mum then as my eldest has been staying over at a friends house since he was 2 and vice versa!

  • Melanie T.

    my 5 year old had a sleepover at rainbows, she sleeps over at grandparents and at her aunts house.

  • Jenna L.

    My friend and i have boys the same age born 3 weeks a part. They had their first sleep over at my house when they had just turned 4. It was brilliant fun such an adventure with a torch walk, games and cinema night. Every child is different though my son loved his friend staying but I'm not sure he is confident enough to sleep out himself!

  • Dianne S.

    My son is 5 and slept over at his friends from school twice, I know the parents well tho and wouldn't let him otherwise x

  • Lisa K.

    Highly depends on who it is with and how well I know them

  • Stacey T.

    18

  • Carol B.

    Currently my 2 neices, 8 and 11 are here along with an ex foster childs daughter, 3, they have all been sleeping over at my house from being about 6 months old ... but this is the first night they have all been here together .... pass the wine!!!

  • Lynsey S.

    My oldest just had her first sleep over at age 7 with her best friend. I know the family very well and was comfortable to let her go. She had a ball. My 5 year old wants to go next time too!

  • Emma W.

    I think it all depends on who they have the sleepover with and if you trust that other parent/s to look after your child as you would... And if you feel your child is confident enough. Kids are all so different that I don't think there is a one age that suits all for when to sleepover.

  • Rebecca K.

    My little one is nearly 3.5 years. She sleeps over family's houses. And her biological dad's side which is a town over. But she's never slept at friends houses. But I've never thought about her sleeping at a friends house. Maybe 6 or 7.

  • Sammie I.

    My 5 year old has only stayed over at his aunties and grandparents. I'm not ready for him to go to a friends house just for dinner yet, never mind sleep overs lol. Maybe about age 8?

  • Tina R.

    What age would I let my girls have a sleepover at someone's house? 36?!

  • Sophia W.

    6 plus

  • Rachel D.

    My son had his first sleepover party at 2 weeks old... Or is a sleepover at Nanny's not counted as a party? She thought it was the best party ever! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I'm not a fan but I used to go to them so I can't very well say no x

  • Hayley W.

    Reading the Question then all the comments....is everyone not just jumping on the band Waggon here? I had sleep overs when I was a child & it never done me any harm! I remember it being fun & exciting! Surely this isn't going to be taken away from the new generations??! Both my kids ( 7 & 3 ) have had " sleep overs " at friends & families houses & they will continue to do so....this is all part of being young & having friends! #keepitreal

  • Umitastic85

    I guess for everyone saying staying with family and friends almost family-like that's another issue, the case of staying over with school (or similar) friends, is a bit frightening for me as a mother. I see the parents at pick up and drop off and I interact with them, identify they are good people. But, the ever there but, is that enough ever in this day and age with all the crazy things that you hear and read in the news...I know we can't keep them wrapped in cotton wool forever but can't we just keep them as safe as possible within our power? Or is that stopping them from developing as their own person? 

    My daughter's about to start high school and the fact that there's already so much in her life that I have no control over I guess this is something I'd like to hold her back from just for that bit longer until she's truly ready knowing good from bad...

  • Nic H.

    We had a sleepover for my daughters 6th birthday. There were 4 of her friends but I'm close friends with all their mums and they all live about 5 mins walk from us. They were all fine although the not much sleep was had for the nattering!!

  • Jacqueline H.

    Mine from birth...had friends little ones over from 6weeks or so...take Rainbows on one night sleepovers at aged 5...take Brownies, guides and schools away too. Children are absolutely fine...Tis the parents who need consoling. Each to their own...

  • Kerry P.

    My Son started having sleepovers at his best friends house ( also our next door but one neighbour ) when he was 6..my daughter was a bit older as not ready..depends on the child AND the situation I think.xx

  • Liane B.

    I have 5 kids aged between 12 and 10 months X the oldest has stayed out a few times at my mums and at one of his friends houses X only because we know his parents well X the others haven't stayed over anywhere X my 7 year old came home a few months ago asking to go to a sleepover X I had to ring her friends mum and explain nothing against her but my kids just don't stay out X I am not comfortable with it x

  • Jo G.

    My eldest was invited at 5 and I really wasn't comfortable. (He stays at grandparents and that's fine.) At 6 he started beaver sleep overs and camps and loves those and I'm happy for that. He's 8 now and if he got an invite and if we knew the parents I might say yes. My daughter was invited to rainbow sleep over last year - she was 5 - and wasn't ready. This year she jumped at the chance. I think it's down to parents and kids to decide. I only stayed with cousins and family friends when I was little.

  • Gemma D.

    My LG loves sleepovers she's nearly two stays at her nannys on her own and with her cousin. We both stay with friends and I'm sure she would be fine on her own. I glad she is settled and I'm not going to have to cancel plans/or get up and go pick her up in the night :)

  • Jmcgoldrick

    I am in two minds about it all my 5 year old has already asked when can she go to one, if they are younger at least they might get some sleep?! Wouldn't really want to host one myself unless it was a child I really knew. I went to them and hosted them myself from about 11 ultimately they were good fun! 

  • Anna M.

    Depends on the child. Mine have both slept over at nannies and once at their uncles but for friends I think my son was about 8. My daughter who is 7 hasn't yet. Basically old enough that you know they won't be worried.

  • Justyna L.

    Funny this came up on my news feed. My son is going for his first ever sleep over tonight. He's so excited and I am absolutely terrified! He's 6 but has ASD. His friend came to our house for a sleep over about a month ago and they had a blast. I wish they'd stop growing :weary:

  • Caroline S.

    As separation anxiety can be a big problem for lots of children (and parents), I would say the sooner rather than later. I guess it's a case of doing your homework, maybe have a coffee or 2 with the mum offering the sleepover, are her kids alive and looked after well, then it's pretty safe to say your kids will be fine and have a great experience x

  • Sarah K.

    My daughter has only ever slept at my mums. I won't let her stay anywhere until she can confidently tell me everything and if she has any concerns. Everyone is different I know but I know when my child is at my mums there won't be any guests going there or people I don't know. X

  • Nicola C.

    Oh iv always said 6 now he's nearly 6 I'm putting it upto 8 lmao I'm dreading it :/ don't mind having kids over but don't like the idea of him sleeping over in someone else's house, think u really really have to know and trust the parent of the friend before u allow them x

  • Gillian C.

    My son is nearly 6 and has had sleepovers with a few of his friends who's parents I know well and we've had their kids over to stay too. They have had a great time and behaved well. I'm not really understanding people's issues with sleepovers.

    • Marion

      Totally agree with you. We do it often, kids love it! 

  • Helen A.

    When they can ask. Neither of mine slept at nan's til they could ask to and neither will sleep at friends til they can ask to. Easy rule of thumb :blush:

  • Cheryl N.

    not a fan of them....iv let my eldest sleep over just one persons house where iv known the mother for 16 years and she's a social worker. anyone else no. I don't know the parents anything could happen!

  • Sarah B.

    I don't think it's so much about the age of the child it is more about what your child is like, could they deal with it, do you know the adult well enough to where your child is staying and how far away Is it.

  • Elizabeth H.

    When you can trust the parents to care as much as you do !!!especially about safety! And that maybe never:flushed:From a 60 year old who KNOWS.

  • Wendy M.

    Id say about age 6 would be a good age x

  • Leah H.

    Apart from family my 3 year old hasnt yet though he is possibly staying at his god parents this summer (lives 1 min walk from me) x

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