According to an Online Dictionary:
A sleepover is an occasion of spending the night away from home, or of having a guest or guests spend the night in one’s home, especially as a party for children.
On the question of whether to allow kids to have a sleep over, people have differing opinions.
There are those who will tell you sleepovers can never happen for them. In his Book “Raising Girls”, James Dobson, was very clear on this. No Sleepovers at all. The reasoning behind this is that times are more dangerous than they were some time ago. He, and others with this same opinion, believe that kids can be exposed to so many things during a sleep over.
On another side are those who will say sleepovers need to happen. They advocate sleep overs because according to them, kids need to learn to be independent and make decisions for themselves in the absence of their parents. They also believe that kids should be allowed to explore.
In our Striving Nigerian Mom Facebook Group, we had this discussion and the recurrent factors from there, I will highlight some of the points raised below:
“It is a fun and exciting concept for children. However, the world as we know it, has changed. I never allowed my children sleepover when they were younger except at my sisters’ and close family friends. Friends from school are No, No. You have to exceptionally careful about who you allow to have access to your priceless inheritance. If the family is good, do you know about the weird cousin who visits them. We as parents should set the tone as well as boundaries for our children’s fun. Make sure you are comfortable with where you leave your children.”
“Sleep overs are a no, no- as regards school friends. The world is far crazier than we want to believe. Let everyone stay in his father’s house. May we not have regrets over our children, all in d name of modernism in Jesus name. What do they want to discuss/what games do they want to play at night that cannot be played during day time? As for relations & family friends, I’ll take that in my stride! It all depends….. May God give us discerning spirit & the boldness to say ‘no’ & not sacrifice God’s precious heritage, all in the name of sentiments.”
“It’s a no for me….except at my mummy’s place.”
I’ll like to see issues like this as one of those disputable issues [issues that are based on personal opinions and on which the Bible is not clear cut]. These are issues that we, as children of God, should never allow to cause division among us.
So, the issue of sleepovers is just like the issue of whether kids should be allowed TV time. There’s no right or wrong, it depends on several factors. And permit me to say that no matter the decision your family takes concerning this, it’s your family’s choice and as long as it suits your particular situation, you’re fine with it.
Remember that sleep overs go both ways too. Will you allow other kids to come sleep over at your home?
In my opinion, the issue of whether the kids can be allowed sleep overs should be determined by certain factors:
- The People Involved: This refers to a mix of the children who will be going for the sleep over, those in the host home, and the parents [or other adults] involved. Kids are different and they have different temperaments, strengths and weaknesses. There are some kids who will get easily influenced by external factors and there are some who have a strong will and know what they want out of life. These kids are assertive and they know how to say ‘No’ to things they do not agree with. If these type of kids go for a sleep over, one can be more comfortable with their decisions as compared with that of a child who gets easily influenced. So, before a decision like this can be taken, one has to take this mix into consideration. You will know whether your child can handle it, the children in whose home the sleep over will happen and the parents involved.
You also want to be sure that if they are coming into your home, these factors are considered also.
- Safety and Security: There certain things to look out for in this regard. You want to be sure of the safety measures that exist in that home. Such issues raised here will also look at who has access to the home. Sometimes, other people who may not be a regular part of that home may just be visiting also. Spending time in another home leaves your kids vulnerable, and that’s why you cannot be too careful in looking out in that regard.
- Family Values: For me, allowing sleep overs is not about whether someone is family or a close friend. It’s more about their Family values. Do we share the same values? Can I predict their reactions about certain situations? Can I trust this person with my child? This is the fundamental thing. It covers a whole lot of possible scenarios.
- How Equipped Your Kids Are: I believe in empowering your children for certain levels of social interaction with others. You must be sure that your kids have already bought into your family values, and so, they will choose to exhibit those values whether or not you are there. Kids need to be taught about doing the right thing no matter who is or is not watching. And in protection against any from of molestation or child sexual abuse or undue exposure to sexually explicit materials [TV shows, games, magazines, movies], kids need to know their boundaries and stay within those boundaries. They must be taught how to say NO to things that they are not comfortable with in an assertive way.
Whatever decision you arrive at, don’t forget, your kids are your treasures. Never cast your pearl before swine. Before you leap, make sure you look well. You don’t need to sacrifice your kids on the altar of friendship, they are too precious to be toyed with.
What’s your experience like? Do your kids have sleep overs?
I always love to read from you.