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Sleepovers & Bedtime

Sleepovers: How Late is Too Late?

How late should tweens and young teens stay up during a sleepover? Parents have struggled with this question for years. With a group of kids hopped up on sugar and the excitement that many slumber parties elicit, when should parents insist it's bedtime?

Drawing the Line for Sleepovers

While some parents are up to the challenge of staying up as late as they must to keep an eye on everyone, you have to get some sleep, especially if you have plans for the next day. Sleepovers (aka a slumber party) are great for teens and tweens, but because they will want to keep watching movies, playing games, or simply talking until the wee hours of the morning, you have to set some ground rules. Try these tips:

  • Ask when parents will be coming to pick up their kids. If parents are coming early, then kids need to get to sleep early enough so that they can wake up without a problem. No one wants to pick up a grumpy son or daughter after a sleepover.
  • Consider the age group and activities. If your son has a few friends come over for a video game party, the kids will be playing games all night and will most likely stay out of trouble. If your daughter has a sleepover for girls, and invited 10 of her friends over for a pool party, though, you need to make sure that a time is set for when the girls will be inside, in their pajamas, and ready to settle down. Kids who participate in activities that won't cause any trouble should be able to stay up a bit longer, but those that are rambunctious or loud should be encouraged to settle down once it starts getting late. The more kids you have over, the tougher it's going to be to calm them down for bed.
  • The best rule of thumb is to discuss the bedtime with all the kids before the slumber party gets going. The bedtime itself will depend on what's scheduled for the next day. If there's something important going on early the next morning, having a sleepover probably isn't the best idea to begin with. As much as we'd like to think we have control over the bedtime, kids have a way of tricking their parents and staying up far later than we think.

Watching the Clock at the Slumber Party

All parents know that it's nearly impossible to force a child to sleep. If kids just aren't tired or are too excited to get some shut eye, at least get them settled into their sleeping bags and playing a board game or watching a movie--doing something quiet. Eventually, they will drift off.