Truth or dare.
Late night talks.
If you’ve been a parent for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve had big eyes looking up at you begging for a sleepover. Sleepovers were never something that I did a lot of as a child. When asked, why Mommy, I always got this answer:
They just aren’t necessary.
I hated that answer! As a mom of three children now myself, I would have to agree with her! Gasp. The things we agree with our parents now being on this end of the spectrum. But…
I don’t rule them out completely. This weekend we had some friends of the family over for dinner and here’s the note that was slipped to us about the time they were supposed to leave for the evening:
Yes, we all got a good laugh at the toothbrush comment. Yes, we let them have a sleepover. Not because either of us were pressured into saying yes. We talked about it and both agreed we would give it a try. Yes, we were all tired the next day at church.
So, here are some things for parents to consider with regard to sleepovers:
1) Is it a trusted home?
Is this a home where you know the parents well? Do they know what you allow and don’t allow? Do you and the other parents have the same rules and values? Pay attention to red flags and doubts. When in doubt, the answer is usually no or wait.
2) Will they have time to recover from lack of sleep?
No matter what, sleepovers will produce cranky ramifications the next few days. Are you okay with that? With all the hype and excitement, children will usually have a hard time falling asleep, and typically have interrupted sleep patterns.
3) How could this sleepover benefit my child?
Think of the ways your child may learn to share more, entertain guests, and exercise self discipline. Are there other ways they could benefit from one?
4) It is necessary?
Back to the question: is it necessary? Most of the time, the answer will be no. But what about for a birthday party? Extended time with trusted family members? These are all things you need to weigh out in your mind as a parent. Sometimes, the answer is no, it’s not necessary, but you choose to allow your child to go anyways. Consider each decision, case by case.
5) Remember the good and bad experiences you had as a child.
I’m sure we all have them. The good and bad experiences you had as a child at sleepovers. I am guessing some are pretty vivid in your mind. Do you want your child to experience what you did? This is certainly something to take into account.
6) Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Ask yourself if the benefits outweigh the risks. If the answer is no, consider your decision carefully.
7) What is the age of your child?
Are they too young? Do that have repeated times of untrusted behavior and disobedience? Consider if your child is prepared to make wise decisions without you there.
8) Child abuse is rampant, but what about the curiosity factor among children?
Sadly, child abuse is rampant. Usually the child knows their abuser. Sometimes abuse happens right under your nose, with or without a sleepover. No one wants their child to be hurt or mistreated. But what about the normal curiosity factor among children? Darkness tends to be a time where children and young teens feel more relaxed to share and try new things. Make sure, that if you decide to let your child go to a sleepover, you have the talk with them about proper touch and what is okay and not okay according to God’s Word.
Satan wants our children from a young age. Have those hard conversations with them when they are ready, and make them aware of how to protect themselves.
9) Pray over your children daily.
Take the issue of sleepovers itself out of the equation for a moment. Are you praying for your children daily? Prayer is a powerful proactive tool that God has given us while raising children. Remember too, that our children are ultimately the Lord’s! He wants the very best for them even more than we do. Do we entrust them to Him daily?
10) Don’t be pressured and be prepared.
Consider that setting a sleepover up ahead of time might be the best idea. Your children need to know that they shouldn’t ask you on a whim or try to pressure you. Also, don’t be pressured by other parents to say yes. Stick to what you and your spouse agree upon and stand firm. Do what’s best for your family and convictions.
11) Try not to make your decisions based upon fear. Don’t over-think the possibility of the worst.
While it is important to think through our decisions as parents, sometimes we can make blanket statements out of fear. Try to use sound wisdom and discretion but don’t just say no out of fear of the what ifs.
Learning to love our children requires knowing when to hold them close and when to let them go. It’s all kind of scary. Our job is to protect our children but ultimately trust them to an Almighty God- even at a sleepover.
12) Ask the Lord for wisdom and direction. He will show you the answer.
God’s wisdom is always the best answer to any decision. Walk closely as parents with your Heavenly Father and He will give you the daily discernment needed while raising your precious ones.
“Do not forsake her and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”