Sleepovers - how old should children be?

Published by Jo Middleton
Published on 12 October 2010

Belle wants a sleepover.

*groans*

She’s never had a friend from school sleep over before, or been invited come to that. I don’t know if it’s just that at eight, she is a bit young, or if all the other kids are doing it but just not inviting her. I hope it’s the former, otherwise that would be a bit sad.

She’s never really been a ‘sleeper’. She relegated her dad to a mattress on the bedroom floor for several months when she was a toddler, sleeping in bed with me, waking every hour or so, and it wasn’t until she started school that she began to properly sleep through the night.

Although now she will normally sleep through, unless she has a dream about lions and has to crawl into bed with me, she still struggles with getting to sleep in the first place. I’ll often find her at 9.30pm, sat up in bed, doing sums or building homes out of Lego for her Ocean In My Pocket baby crabs.

A sleepover then is a rather daunting prospect, as I’m led to believe that normal children her age actually quite like to go to sleep. We did recently have some friends spend the night, not from school, but friends she has known since she was a baby, and by 9pm, when Belle was still wide awake, they were on the verge of collapse, sobbing with exhaustion.

It’s not the effort on my part that I really mind - I’d happily take advantage of my local pizza delivery service and stick them in front of a selection of age inappropriate Friends DVDs - I’m more worried about what they might go home and tell their parents, or what might happen if, heaven forbid, Belle got invited back.

I can picture it now, the phone ringing at 11pm - “I’m really sorry, Belle won’t go to sleep, she is babbling something about lions, can you come and get her?” The problem would be of course that I would have taken advantage of being child free for the night and would be in the midst of some kind of drunken debauchery.

So what do you think? Is eight too young for sleepovers or should I just brace myself for a late night and go for it?

__________________________
By Jo Middleton

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