5 Things to Consider About Slumber Parties, by Holly

November 12, 2012 in lessons for moms,mentor moms,slumber parties

What moms should know about slumber parties

It is fun to make a  friend online that you’ve never met in person. That happened with Laura and I through our blogs. We are on the same journey,  just at different points along the way. We both have girls, mine are older teens, hers younger. Even though I’ve already been through the younger stage, it still intrigues me to read about it. Why? Because things have changed so quickly and dramatically that she has issues to deal with that I didn’t have, just 8 years ago!

I’m honored to be sharing today about slumber parties. My girls are now 14, 16 and 19. Through the years, I’ve hosted slumber parties, refused to host them, sent my girls to slumber parties and denied permission to attend others. I am not hard core on either side. It truly depends on the people, place and situation. What I will do is share some real thoughts and experiences for you to consider.

  1. Slumber parties should wait until after middle school (and luckily enough, interest wanes after that!) After hosting a few with my older daughter during middle school, I decided it would be better to wait until latter 8th grade, after the girl drama that is infamous with tweens and middle schoolers, subsides a bit. In a large group of girls, it is almost inevitable that the group splits into two halves, with one stirring up drama and strife, followed by hurt feelings.
  2. Things you don’t want to happen, will happen at slumber parties. Practically an entire sex ed course took place at a 4th grade slumber party. I would rather be the instigator of sex ed with my girls, but at this very young age, a little peer of my daughter beat me to it. Having attended a very- well- done church education course with her mom, the little girl was excited to fill all the other girls in on the news. In middle school, one girl informed everyone of the details and “how- tos” of sex. Another time, a group ran around the neighborhood at night . Girls taking pictures they shouldn’t take has happened at a slumber party. And movies are always an issue. Movies I would never let my kids watch have been shown at slumber parties hosted by church leaders, so I’ve learned to never assume anything. In 90% of these cases, it was church girls from good families taking part.
  3. Cell phones make slumber parties riskier. Phones were not an issue during my earlier tween-parenting years. Now if I had younger kids with phones, I would ask the girls to leave them downstairs with me during the nighttime. Drama and “iffy” things are stirred up by phone calls, boys, cameras and internet access on phones. I have turned computers off at night, disabled internet access and told everyone to stay off of them, but you can’t control kids’ phones. Most girls don’t mind if you are nice and friendly about it and provide other fun activities. Cell phones have helped on the other hand, because my kids have texted me from overnights asking if they can see a certain movie. It saves them embarrassment by asking privately. Then if I say no, they can say to the friend, “Naah, that doesn’t sound good. Let’s watch something else” instead of “My mom won’t let me watch that.” I don’t mind helping them save face, as long as we accomplish the goal. We also have an understanding that if things are “going south” at an overnight, they can say they don’t feel good and call me, and I’ll come get them. We have a phrase they can say so that I know the secret message to me is “I want to come home,” no matter what she’s saying in front of friends. Sometimes slumber parties sound SO FUN, then once they get there, drama begins and they’d like a way out.
  4. Things to consider if it’s at someone else’s house…What adults will be there and do they supervise like you would? Are there older siblings you need to think about? What’s the entertainment, movies being shown? Also, I tell my kids (whether they completely obey it I’ll probably never know) that I want them to stay off computers at other people’s houses, because you never know. I have also let my daughters attend some parties for a portion of time, and picked them up late at night instead of allowing the overnight.
  5. There can be successful slumber parties at any age, so use your judgment. And don’t feel bad if you decide on “No, we’re not going to do them.” We have had successful slumber parties in middle school. In high school, a school club wanted to have a slumber party, so I volunteered to host it. That saved me the drama of denying attendance to my daughter, because I didn’t know anyone else’s family in the club. But girls will survive if you say no. The missed party will soon be forgotten by all. Yet, I have let mine attend an overnight that usually I wouldn’t approve, but truly felt in my spirit it was okay, and it was. Make it a matter of prayer. God cares about all of these details! Follow your gut, your instinct, your spirit.

Holly, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. Holly blogs at 5 Things..Raising Girls in Today’s World. She covers all the issues I need to know about in the future!  Don’t forget to thank the mentor mom today! Come back later this week as I discuss a slumber party alternative and play date decisions.


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Blond Duck November 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I was always the nerd that went to bed at 9 p.m.


pruningprincesses November 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

What I want to know if you went to bed at 9 pm is how many pranks did the other girls play on you? I always wanted to go to bed, but was too afraid they would try to make me pee or put my bra in the freezer or something like that. Thinking back on it, I wonder why I thought slumber parties were fun?


thedoseofreality November 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I totally dread the start of slumber parties! This is a great post, and I will definitely use it as a guide in the probably far too near future! 😉


pruningprincesses November 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

Ashley, I love this post too. Holly is always so practical and helpful.I love reading her blog. And I love knowing that my mama fear of slumber parties and the extra caution that I take is goog, rather than over-the-top.


Holly November 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Hey thanks for having me share Laura! Funny, my high schooler just attended a slumber party. I don’t understand why, when a sketchy movie is playing, and even all the girls think it’s sketchy, no one turns it off, even mom. Most of the girls thought it was iffy, so talked instead and even made a comment to the mom who was there. Someone needs to be brave enough to say something like “Does anyone care if we turn this off and watch something else?” or Mom be brave enough to say “Hey, bad choice. Let’s pick something else”. I know no one likes to be the bad guy, but we have to be. Sometimes it seems once a movie has started, it has to be finished. Not really! 🙂 Better yet moms, check it out first at http://www.pluggedin.com and find out what’s in it. Easy to do and avoid the problems. I love reading your blog Laura, you’re doing a great job!! 😀


Melissa @ Completely Eclipsed November 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I have so many great memories of sleep overs. But they were always hosted at my house because I hated sleeping away from home…I still kind of do.

Stopping by from SITS


pruningprincesses November 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Hi Melissa, your mom must have loved that you only liked sleepovers at your own house! No worries when the kids are under your own roof! If you have kids of your own, you know how hard it can be to decided whether to let kids sleepover at another’s house or not.


hilljean November 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Ah the slumber party conundrum. SO much drama took place at those “parties.” We’re a long way off from dealing with those (my daughter just turned four) but it’s never to early to start thinking about it.

I honestly had not even considered the whole cell phone complication. Sheesh. So much to think about! Thank you for sharing–I’m gonna share this one on Twitter 🙂


pruningprincesses November 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

I am so glad you found Holly’s post helpful. I know I did. The social issues get more and more complicated each year, there is so much to learn about how to parent through things we never dealt with (like Instagram, Facebook, phones, etc.). I am so thankful to know moms who are going before me. And thanks for the tweet!


Kristin November 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm

These are great tips! So far, kiddo has been to small sleepovers, 3 kiddos at most. There’s still hurt feelings and divisiveness, so we’ve been careful to remove that end of things, limiting her time with them. I love love LOVE the idea of a secret phrase that means “I want to come home” without actually saying it. Saving face, especially in the tween/middle school years is so important. I will be discussing this with my kiddo!


pruningprincesses November 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Kristen, Slumber parties and play dates can create surprisingly difficult emotions. I like Holly’s idea of a secret phrase too. I’ve already talked about it with my girls, but my oldest is honest through and through and doesn’t think she should lie and say she doesn’t feel good. We are still brainstorming for an honest secret phrase! Come back tomorrow and Thursday for more ideas regarding these situations.


TN Lizzie November 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Honest secret phrases could be spoken like questions:
Mom, did I leave the CURLING IRON plugged in/ALARM CLOCK turned on/DVR set to tape?
Did I empty the DISHWASHER like I was supposed to? Did I feed and WATER the dog?

The phrase could include a favorite food:
There’s a ton of food, but I wish I’d brought some JUICY FRUIT gum!

I applaud your girl’s honesty! Being vague does not have to include any dishonesty! How creative can you get?


Holly Tumpkin January 23, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I love those ideas!!! Great stuff.


m.e. January 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm

my kid uses the phrase ‘mom can you make tuna salad for lunch tomorrow?’.. especially when she is at her grandmas house and doesnt want to spend the night – her grandmas feelings get hurt.. so she will ask me for tuna salad and we will chat a bit and end the call.. I’ll call back 5-10 minutes later saying i decided to pick her up because of a forgotten early morning appointment or whatever 🙂 i love how my kid always ‘acts’ so disappointed and almost mad that im picking her up! LOL she’s awesome..


pruningprincesses February 2, 2013 at 11:39 am

I love your techinque. It’s brilliant and kind. Great story. Thank you for sharing.


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