Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sleepover Rules

Laura has a friend here for the night. We've never had her over before and she is kind of annoying.  Her demeanor has a blend of impudence and smart-aleckiness that I find disrespectful.  Also she kept asking me to repeat myself while she stood before me listening to her ipod.  "But it's on really low!" she said, in response to my correction.  It makes me realize how much I enjoy Laura's usual crop of friends, who are polite and well-parented.  I even like the ones I don't know as well, the shy, quiet ones.  Shy silence is greatly, greatly underrated in this world.

Oh well. She'll serve as the example for some teachable moments after she leaves.

So what are your sleepover best practices?  I don't really do a whole lot different in the household.  Laura's at an age where she can be trusted to pretty much run her own show.  I feel obliged to keep Hank from exasperating them, though I expect him to be included in the early-evening movie watching.  Then he goes to bed at his usual hour and the girls can have some big-kid time. 

I am liberal about bedtimes. I know part (all?) of the fun of a sleepover is staying up late. The key for me is that I do not let them remain downstairs until all hours. About 10:30 or so, we tell them they have to be upstairs and relatively quiet.  Then it's adult time downstairs.  I want them to have fun, but I don't want to be in the middle of that fun.

It is rare that the girls outlast me, but the next phase would be telling them they have to be in bed and can read or talk as long as they want. This leads to tranquil snoozing for all.  And Laura knows she can get up as early as she wants, but breakfast will be self-service. 

We have a good record of sleepover customer satisfaction, with only one middle-of-the-night bailout.  Dozens served.  What's the deal at your house?

17 comments:

Michele said...

I'd love to give you some advice about sleepovers from the past but to tell you the truth it has been so long I don't remember the rules. Now, if you want to know about twenty-somethings sleepovers you know I'm all over that. And not in the best way. :)

Common Household Mom said...

i kind of hate sleepovers. Maybe because I never set the rules like you did. My sleepover rule is: No Sleepovers While School is in Session! But if my husband prompts the idea, then he's in charge of it. Which is what happened last month. He was in charge, but my daughter woke ME up at 3 am to ask me to get the other girls to quiet down.

I think I would have crushed the ipod. At our sleepover, one of the girls was texting constantly until I threatened to take away her phone.

The whole thing was kind of traumatic. Thanks for listening.

mbaumbick said...

We're having a sleepover tonight too. Haven't seen much of the girls since dinner...

Casey said...

Gah, sleepovers terrify me. Mainly because of the little smartassed kids that might come over and force me to bite my tongue the entire night.

I think we're a few years out from our first sleepover though. How old was Laura when she started having them?

Christian said...

One of the many reasons I enjoy reading this blog is the little preview of parenting situations I'd never dreamt of. I fantasize about home-schooling my own kids so that I can design a kindergarten curriculum around my dissertation. But rogue room mothers? Snotty friends at sleepovers? I read and learn much.

M said...

Established similar rules which pays off when you can no longer outlast them at bedtime. By then they've absorbed the cultural norms and know your threshold for deviance. Always held boy sleepovers in the basement so I couldn't hear the pinging sounds of video games or goofy contests of bodily function noises.

Actually, monthly Boy Scout campouts somewhat suppressed the demand for boy sleepovers and ensured lovely and relaxing girls-only weekends that were perfect for sleepovers. ;)

KathyS said...

I echo Common Household Mom's sentiment re: the iPod --I realize that this probably comes from not having children, myself, and thus I suspect I'm a bit insensitive, but listening to an iPod while an adult is talking = kid who needs a few more rules, more regularly, in my book.

And that is my intolerance for the day!

Formerly known as Frau said...

We are past the sleepover age thank god nothing erks me more than disrespectful 2 am giggles and running around....but my pay back was always an early morning pan rattles nose athon in the kitchen!!

Elle said...

Tiger Tales: I never slept over as a child, nor did I host one.

Now, we live in a house where my differently-sexed, same-aged kids are besties and people seem real jittery about BOYS and GIRLS when it is AFTER DARK, so I look placidly into the middle distance whenever some mom tries to talk to me about the possibility of sleepovering.

Since I am not a morning person in the least, waking up with extra children in my house sounds like a special form of punishment. It would be cool if they could slip out before dawn, like a grownup sleepover. Ahaha! What are the mornings-after like, pray tell? xo

csmith said...

I loathe sleepovers but I tell myself it's an important childhood ritual. However my cousin has never let her kids have a sleepover and they seem just fine. I have a lot of kids so to avoid having someone over every weekend I let them ALL have a friend over every two or three months. It makes for one loud packed house but after one night it's over. Really my only big rules are no one goes back to the kitchen after it's cleaned up(I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen)and everyone has to stay in the room they are supposed to be in after lights out.

Elizabeth said...

I actually hate sleepovers -- I used to hate playdates when the boys were young -- maybe because I'm just not the "entertaining" kind of mother. My boys have always just done their own thing, played their games, etc. When they have friends over to spend the night, I feel so much obligation. But I did love them as a child, so I do try to oblige.

Amy said...

We are almost there but not quite. I'm getting some good ideas from this post! And the girl who wouldn't take her headphones out? As our mom would say, no home trainin'.

Messy Mom said...

My kids are too young. I have to admit my first thought when I read about Laura's new friend was fear that my kids will be the annoying friend. I try to teach manners and respect, but my son is so rude when we try and get him to talk to new people. He just makes weird animals noises and refuses to say hi or shake hands or anything. Then again I have to remember that he is 3! Hopefully by Laura's age he will have outgrown that stage.

Kate said...

i've never had a problem with sleepovers because i only let my daughter invite pre-approved friends from her church youth group. i realize that might not always be popular. i let the girls make their own pizzas, watch a movie and retire to their room for giggles. everything needs to be shut down by 10 or 11. I learned the hard way last time that the girls should not be allowed to make their own breakfast. Our guest came up with eggs and bacon as a menu and before I could jump out of bed they had the gas stove on and were burning plastic. YIKES. next time, poptarts.

Becky said...

Oh good grief, bacon and eggs! Mental note to self: remind Laura she can't use the stove.

I think Laura was 6 when she had her first sleepover, but that was attending a slumber party at someone's house. She did great but now, gosh, that seems young to me. I think 7 was the real beginning of it all.

I should do another post, that sleepover friend was a total bad influence! Oy.

Michele R said...

OK, dying to know more about this girl who slept over.....and her mother!
We have had one incident of a bad influence over here. Which led to a major grounding and a big lesson in saying to stand up and enforce the house rules, not to follow, come to us as needed, etc. We are so glad the lesson happened in 6th grade and that the other two younger boys reaped the knowledge of that lesson.

These days we have had to ban eldest from sleepovers except for only rare occasions since the boys stay up till 4:00 or so and he comes home worthless and too tired to do homework, etc.

Jen said...

I am so glad to hear someone else has basically the same sleepover rules! Yep, we pretty much just let the kids take care of themselves...I try to get something on the table for breakfast when I get up (read: cut up fruit), but don't go out of my way to get up super early...then again, neither do they!