What’s the proper protocol for a sleepover?

I think I’m doing well here, but I wanted to check with the blogging world at large: my 11yo A- has one of her best pals over for a sleepover tonight and I think all is going well, but ya never know. Truth be told, this is the first sleepover I’ve “hosted” for my girl at my new place too.
Which leads to an interesting concern: I made sure it was very clear to the other girl’s Mom that the sleepover was at my place, not Linda’s, because I thought that there was a non-zero, albeit small, chance that she’d say that my place wouldn’t work out after all. I might be paranoid about that, but I can envision some parents thinking “uh, my daughter, your daughter, and Dad, solo? No thanks.”
Anyway, back to the sleepover…


We picked up the other girl from her house around 5pm and went out for a quick dinner (Noodle & Company), then popped over to the market so they could get a special dessert (Ben & Jerry’s comes through again, Phish Food and Vanilla) and then to Blockbuster to let them get a movie (Dinotopia).
Once we got home I actually did the dishes and folded laundry while they were watching their movie (gadzooks, have I really become this domestic?!) then around 9pm turned off the four hour long! film and encouraged them to play a game.
So they did, Cranium’s terrific Zooreka. At 9:30 it was time to get into pajamas, 9:45 was lights out. 10pm was really lights out, and at 10:45 I went in and told them that it really was time to sleep or I’d have to separate ’em for the night.
As far as I can tell, they then actually went to sleep. 🙂
I don’t know when the other girl usually goes to bed, but I can say that A- goes to bed at 8:30pm on school nights and anywhere between 8:30 and 9:00pm on weekends.
Anyway, now you know the entire evening sequence of events. What’s your take, dear blog reader? Is this the right way to host a sleepover, or do you just lock the door, stuff a towel under it, and walk away, assuming that they’ll be zombies, the living dead, the next morning, but that it’s just part of girls and sleepovers?

4 comments on “What’s the proper protocol for a sleepover?

  1. Sounds good.. I’d say it’s ok for a kid to be sneaky and stay awake once or twice to see what it does to them… but it isn’t any sort of right that the kid has.
    If there is a way to have them make the decision to turn off the light.. all the better..
    I think it’s good you set a precident that her room is still in your house.
    good job.

  2. It just depends on the child and what’s going on the next day. I’ve done the “stuffed towel” and ignore, but then my daughter S is too blotto and unpleasant when she’s been up till 1AM with a night owl friend. She tends to self regulate now anway. It sounds like a fine and fun sleepover for the girls with enough bending of the rules to be fun and enough boundaries for functioning children the next day.

  3. Way to go Dave! I think you handled this like a very responsible parent. I too have an 11 yr old daughter who has had many sleepovers with her girlfriends. They think it would be cool to stay up all night, in fact, they proclaim it to be their goal whenever they get together. However, they never make it!:P I believe the key is interacting with them by playing physical and mental games that will tire them out, as well as feeding them charb filled foods instead of sugar. For example, we have taken the girls for a long bike ride or played soccer games with the neighborhood kids. We have played “night games” like tag, hide and seek, etc. Some mind challenging games like Monopoly, Clue, andCranium games or arts and crafts also wear them down. It is always good to have some kid friendly games ready; however, they probably won’t make it through the whole thing. They will either fall asleep, or get up to do something else.
    I think that your daughters sleep over went like most do. You need to be prepared as a parent to start the “settle down and go to sleep time” with the expectation that it won’t be for another few hours before it really happens. Part of the sleepover fun is when the parents have gone to bed and there is some night time fun and “girl talk.” As the parent, getting out of bed a few times should be expected. I don’t think that there is an 11 year old who can stay up all night. Their physical bodies won’t allow it. My daughter and her friend have even set the alarm incase they fall asleep to wake them up a few hours later, but that didn’t even work. They were too tired to wake up.
    Dave, you handled this very well. I also think that as a single father you will meet challenges, but you just need to prove to the skeptics that you are capable and responsible. And, I think from what you have posted, you have proven that you can handle this! Good job and God Bless!

  4. I’ve ‘hosted’ sleep over’s for my niece and they have done the same thing. Trying to stay up late is normal. Get them tired during the day and they will sleep really good that night.

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