I know there's lots of parents that have banned the sleepovers. They are too nervous about what might or could happen to their kids while they are gone. I get this, I have to admit I try to be pretty cautious about who my kids are with and where they are.
When I was growing up sleepovers were a key element to weekends, but even more so our summers. We had sleepovers planned every week, and as we got older we slept a lot less and toilet papered a lot more. After having children I decided that I didn't want to completely take away my kids opportunity for this one. Sleep overs are fun, they help kids develop better social skills, teaches them to live without mom and dad for a few hours without panicking and just provides me with a much needed night off once in a while. Having said all that though I have to now step into the down side of it all.
In my time sleepovers were just fun. Now, as parents we have to be so much more cautious. We have to not only meet the parents, but know them somewhat, be in their home and know who the child's siblings are. Are there teenage boys in the house? Does an uncle live with them? Is their home in a safe part of town? Then there's when kids sleep here. Do they have special allergies? Is it a child we know well? And of course Jon can't be here alone with the kids sleeping over, I have to make sure I am here as well. After all of that has been established and ok'ed, then we move on to the actual sleepover.
With nine kids I always hear "Abby is having Nana over? Can I have Amelia over too?" I mean, when you have that many kids if each child had a friend over once a week it would take six months before the first kid got a turn again. So I often have more than one kid sleeping over at a time. That then turns to the debate about who is sleeping where. We don't have a large home per say, and we really only have one family room downstairs that's conducive for sleepovers. Most my kids share rooms with siblings, so sleeping in their bedrooms doesn't really work either. Its really tricky. So after assessing who is coming over, if it's safe, where to sleep then we begin with the activities of the night. Outside play, inside play, night games, wii, tons of popcorn all over the house, soda cans left in weird places, hide and seek in my laundry room (which I HATE), little kids upset because big kids get to stay up late and so on. It's like hosting a birthday party every week. It's exhausting, truly.
After a long nights activities and all the food in my home having been devoured, we move on to the sleeping part. Usually this works out just fine. Sometimes it doesn't. We have hurt feelings, kids sick and then there's the "failed" sleepover. A poor kiddo that thought he/she was ready to be away from mom and dad overnight, but it turns out their not. I have also had to wander the valley in the middle of the night picking my kids up from the failed sleepover. This part is particularly irritating, but I feel bad for the poor kid at the same time. Traipsing around at 2am with a frightened child isn't my definition of a good nights sleep.
By the next morning the kids are all awake at 7am (I am sure from residual sugar still in their systems from the night before), they finish off whats left to eat in the house and proceed to play till their parents come to get them. At that point we begin with the fighting matches over the bedding, food, dishes and toys that were left from the event that my children have to help pick up. This is not a pretty sight.
"Hey, Lacie, you need to go clean up the family room from your sleepover"
"Moooom, I don't want to"
"Umm, Lacie? I don't recall asking if you wanted to...just do it"
"Well mom, Amelia made this mess over here"
"Lacie? Do you see Amelia here? I don't, get on it please!"
It usually escalates from there. By the end of the discussion Lacie is yelling at me while I am threatening her and this is the fun we had with the sleepover. I have to admit that it's not any better with any of the other kids.
The sleepover. I know it's fun in the moment for my kids but I won't miss it a bit after they are grown and gone.
"Bye bye sleepovers, don't let the door hit ya on the way out!"