Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sleepovers Already?

Well, this is going to have to be a short note - we've got a few things going on this morning. But a new request came to me yesterday evening, as I cut the grass. A family has moved in next door to us, including a 6 year old girl (my daughter Beatrice is almost 5). The family is not new to the neighborhood - they just moved a few houses down, closer to us.

We've been in this house almost a year now, and some of the neighborhood kids have, about a month ago, started coming over to "help" me in the garden. Planting spring bulbs, marigolds; pulling weeds - all afternoon garden activities have become a community event. It's fun getting to know these kids.

So, back to yesterday. The girl next door asked Bea if she could spend the night. Have a sleepover. Bea came to me to ask me, and I said "no." So the little girl came over and told me she had cleared it with her mom, and could Bea please spend the night? Again, I kindly but matter of factly, no. We don't know this family. We're lucky if we get a hello or goodbye as the dad goes to work.

We went inside soon afterwards, for storytime and bedtime. Later that night, I discussed the issue of sleepovers with my husband. I mean, it's bound to happen, but at almost 5, it seems too soon. Why was my reaction to say instantly, "no"?

I went online, looking for some tips - some sort of guidelines to follow. Nothing. One site mentioned that it's a good idea to know where the family lives, and to have a phone number, so that if you're out of town, you can still reach your child. Please.

So, I have to come up with my own. Help!

1. Know the parents. Well.
2. My child must be 6 years old before a sleepover happens.
3. Smoke alarms in the house where they're staying? Firearms secure? (How do you ask that?)
4. Background check??

The idea of childhood sleepovers stresses me out. My mom was so overprotective of me, growing up. Am I just following in her footsteps? I hope not.


Jayne Martin Dressing said...

Sleepovers are a huge deal. This is a topic that comes up regularly in my house with my 6-year old daughter. One gage that I am using is that she still on many if not most nights ends up making her way to our bed at some ungodly hour-an indication to me that she is not ready (and probably most other 6 year olds are not ready) to have a sleepover. We have talked about waiting for a big event like a birthday or special day off school to have a sleepover. My parents too were cautious, and I'm glad they were. As a rule, we had sleepovers at our house. Maybe that's something you could try for a few years: all sleepovers must take place at your house. Don't feel bad about saying no; five is very young to sleep away from one's parents (except for maybe a sleepover at grandma's house). I say trust your gut on this'll know when you both are ready.

StuntMom said...

What- you should NEVER feel bad about protecting your kids as long as possible. I don't think you are being extreme by saying "no" to the sleep over. A neigbor of ours says that in Chile, they have never even heard of such a thing. Everyone should sleep in their own bed at night. I think college is a perfect time for their first sleep over. So maybe we will be known as the freaky family that doesn't let thier kids sleep over, but I could care less. But really, who knows, maybe when my girls turn 10, I will think otherwise, but until then, they can wait.

StuntBec said...

Well, no, I don't feel badly about protecting my children - it's more a matter of moderation. I was raised by a very overprotective mother and father, and was sheltered from just about everything. As an adult, I understand why they were so cautious with me (I had very active epilepsy at the time). But I WAS allowed to go on sleepovers as early as 5th grade.

When I said no to the little girl next door re: the sleepover, I was just surprised at my quick, no nonsense response. In most areas of my life, this is not me, so I wanted to be sure that I wasn't following in the footsteps of my parents. Don't get me wrong - I like a good number of the footsteps of my parents. I just think I was way too sheltered. This doesn't mean I'll do the opposite; I'm just looking for the medium ground to stand on.

Anonymous said...

Don't you find it odd that the parents didn't come over and let you know it was fine, and that she was coming into a safe home? Good instinct, I would have to agree.

StuntBec said...

Yes, you're right. The same girl asked again if Bea could spend the night. This time I told her no, not until Bea's at least in the 5th grade. I was met with silence. She then turned and went home, probably to tell her parents how uptight I am. Well, I AM uptight!