By Dannah Gresh, founder of True Girl
Some of my best memories with my mom happened at sleepovers she hosted in our home. I can still see her perched on the shag carpet stairwell to our basement as she watched over giggling girls. Never can I remember falling asleep without my mother's watchful presence perched right where she belonged. Of course, I never knew she was supervising. I just thought she was having fun with us, and spending time with her daughter. She giggled more than any of the rest of us.
In recent years, slumber parties have come under the scrutiny of discerning moms. And for good reason: many times these parties are not well supervised, leaving the girls vulnerable to unfiltered Internet access and Netflix selections that you hope your daughter will never watch! (I write about this in more detail in my book Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl.)
Christian bloggers Tim Challies and Faith Tibbets McDonald saw first-hand the increasingly controversial nature of sleepovers in their summer blogs, 6 Reflections on Sleepovers and Losing Sleep Over Sleepovers?. Both asked the same question, and both received a tremendous conglomeration of responses. Should I allow my tween to sleep over? Is it safe? Frankly, it seemed that some had responses that were rather black and white. I'm not sure that's fair. Our communities are different. Our own personal stamina as moms is different. And, most importantly, our children are different. (Keeping my very verbal and extroverted daughter from sleepovers when she was ten would have been like asking her not to breath!) I think there is more than one answer to the sleepover question!
Here are three reasonable responses.
- 1.) NO Sleepover Policy. I’ve had friends adopt this, and their daughters survive quite well despite what everyone around them says. My dear friend Kim adopted this for her girls, much to Lexi's lament since she adored her daughter. One reason for the decision was her daughters' commitment to ballet. The rigorous schedule of their lives didn't permit for sleepover hangovers the next day! It was the right decision for her and her daughters.
- 2.) Limited Sleepovers Only At Familiar Homes. The second is to let your daughter go to sleepovers only at homes where you know the family well and have confidence that what the girls will be doing is safe and morally appropriate. This policy is something I suggest you ease into when your daughter is 10, 11, or 12. Bob and I adopted this one and felt comfortable with our choice. Our daughters were always and only allowed to stay where we felt they were safe and the parents shared our moral values. It was never uncomfortable for me to ask the moms to speak into any movies or television programs that were planned. (And, I always made it clear that I'd happily pick my daughter up if everyone else was allowed to see a movie that she was not. Guess what? I did that once! She lives to tell about it.)
- 3.) Be The Host! But I think the best option is to be the host home. Like my mom! Frankly, I don't recall sleeping over at other houses at all. Maybe one. And then, I always wished I was at home. Being the host puts you in the driver's seat of media content, bedtimes, snack foods, and conversation. Yes, even conversation can be planned and productive! Our Pajama Party Book makes that easy and sets you up to do just that, but even if you’re a “no sleepover” mom, you can host a “pajama party.” (Yep, I selected that title carefully.) And your younger daughters will love the thrill of having friends over in their jammies even if the party ends before the sunset. From a Christian perspective, I think it's fair to say that it is our job as parents to create peace and safety for our children when they lay their heads down to rest—whether it's alone in their comfy bed on a school night or with a gaggle of girls in sleeping bags on your living room floor!
"In peace I will both lie down and sleep: for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety." Psalm 4:8
"To sleep over or not to sleepover?" is one of The 20 Hardest Questions Every Mom Faces: Praying Your Way To Realistic, Biblical Answers by Dannah Gresh. Find the peace you're looking for as you pray your way to the right answer for each individual child.
Dannah Gresh’s True Girl Tour is a faith-based mother-daughter connecting experience. This 2 1/2 hour event was inspired by questions like “How can I start helping my daughter grow closer to Jesus” and “How can I be better at connecting with my daughter". It features a mother-daughter fashion show that demonstrates modesty and true beauty, deep Bible teaching, live worship, and stories that help girls aged 7-12 embrace the message that they are a masterpiece created by God!