Mum asks what age is appropriate for children to start having sleepovers?

“My 7 year old daughter has been invited to a sleepover party. I only know the mum of the birthday girl from school pick-up. My first instinct is to say “NO WAY!”

“I’ve got a vivid imagination but all I think about is what happens if one of them is a paedo (I know it’s inappropriate to think that)

“She doesn’t have a way of contacting me if she’s not comfortable and I just feel she’s too young.

“Am I overthinking? How old was you child when they went to a sleepover?”

Mums responses are quite surprising

While many parents agreed that 7 is too young for a sleepover and maybe she could just pick her up at a certain time, other mums argued that we seriously need to stop sheltering our kids and just let them go and enjoy their childhood! (Can’t say I agree with that argument, you?)

One mum said, “When did everyone become so paranoid?
If your daughter wants to go then talk to the parents and arrange to have coffee/play date before had an get to know them.
Why project your issues on to your child? Kids are so protected these days that when they are finally adults they won’t be able to function because they are never left alone and never allowed to make their own decisions!”

Another said, “I so agree! My adult kids are very confident now partly because I allowed certain freedoms when they were younger. At 16/17 each kid went on a foreign exchange for 8 weeks so they needed to be prepared!!”

Another comment continued, “Oh wow a sensible parent. My kids went to play at friends houses, they had sleep overs and went to school camp. They are now well functioning teens. They also ate dirt and non organic food!!”

– “It’s so sad that this is the trend now….. my kids have had friends sleepover but it took forever for the kids to convince the parents… it’s so wrong that our kids miss out on all the things we parents enjoyed. We are living in a cotton wool society.”

– “I started sleeping over at friends houses in grade 2. Granted all my friends lived in the same neighborhood but still. Meet the parents first. Don’t deny your child’s rights to have friends and have fun just because you’re afraid of “pedos”. This is ridiculous. Not everyone has an interest in children. And 7 is old enough to say “hey I want to call my mum”.”

– “I’m sick of parents coddling their children and then their children can’t handle the real world. “I wrap my kid in bubble wrap” well that’s no kind of life if you ask me!”

– “Ask the mum if you can call her before bed or she can call you. Give her a code word like peanut butter. If she says something like “hey mum did you get my peanut butter?” You know she wants to come home or she’s feeling uncomfortable and you go get her with an excuse.
We can’t keep sheltering our kids. Sometimes there isn’t a pedo waiting around the corner.
Sometimes it’s just a sleepover where she will have fun with a couple friends and come home the next morning.”

– “We have become such helicopter parents we don’t allow children to experience new things in life we always find the negative don’t allow children to take risks and climb trees playing in the dirt and you’ll find most dangers come from with in the family.”

Join our Facebook discussion below:

  • I’m not looking forward to my little ones doing sleep overs. I think I’ll be encouraging them to be at our house for the night. I’ll worry too much if they are away!


  • I have mixed feelings on this. I think it lately depends on knowing your child.
    Some kids are bedwetters longer than others.
    Some kids are scared of the dark etc. and some kids struggle to speak up to adults they aren’t fully comfortable with. Yet others are fine with all the above.
    I am 34 and still remember my first friend sleepover (I’d had heaps with relatives). And I only remember the terror I felt as the friends dad was really grumpy and aggressive and there were no night lights and I was so scared. I cried and cried until they called my mum to come get me.
    I think it’s so important to ensure your child is ready or it can scare them off sleepover for a long time, like it did me.


  • I’ve never heard of the term before.
    I was never allowed to sleep over unless it was at my cousin’s!
    My mum’s friends daughter slept over her friends house and the daughters brother ended up sexually assaulting her so I’m with the mum and would be cautious as well.
    Plus, I don’t think my husband would be too keen on the idea either.


  • Never heard of this term before, but it doesn’t hurt to be worried


  • Each to their own. My son is 7 and has only ever been to one sleepover


  • All of the post’s comments are relevant to each family. Only this Mum can decide what she’s comfortable with for her child, and only she knows what her child will be comfortable with. I’d suggest getting to know the child/family more before sending her own child there at such a young age. Go with your gut, I say.


  • Ahh hell no. 7 is wayyy too young.


  • I never did sleep overs when I was a child, and funnily my son never wanted to go for a sleep over, likes his own bed too much I think. If your child really wants to then it would be appropriate to get to know the family first by going to visit the home not just meeting for a coffee, you need to get a feel for the family vibe and house and spend some time with your child there and see how they feel. I think people are not realizing that a young child cannot make decisions for themselves and that is why we need to parent correctly, it is not helicopter parenting at all, it is being sensible.


  • Each child is different so it depends I wouldn’t do it till around 10


  • my older kids started sleep overs with people we knew, my younger ones are still a bit too young, my 5 year old is asking for sleep overs all the time


  • The first time I let my 8 year old sleep over at her friends 3 doors down was all it took to turn our lives into a living hell. If you knew the nightmare we are going through, you’d keep your kids home, safe

    • You never know who is going to be sleeping over and what people are really like. This comment is terrifying because something did happen. Children are vulnerable at sleepovers because unless they live very close by, they have no way to leave if something bad happens.


  • As parents why must we always judge others on the parenting views??
    My children have only ever stayed with family, but they are getting older, we are starting to have sleepovers at friends/our place.


  • I don’t think you can be guided by guilt here. If you’re not comfortable then don’t allow your child to sleep over. I was only allowed to sleep over at 3 kid’s houses growing up – the default answer was no whenever I asked to sleep over at someone elses house. I didn’t grow up damaged – it was just our rules. Everyone will have different house rules.


  • Each to their own, I think you have to do what you feel comfortable with


  • I don’t let my 11yo have a sleepover. It’s up to a parent to decide what’s right for them and what’s not. It’s no one else’s business.


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