The Sleepover: From a dad, a doctor, and child abuse advocate

One of my daughter’s had her first sleepover. She was invited to a play date and as the day went on the play date turned into a sleepover. The decision to let her spend the night at someone’s house was easy for me. I have wonderful memories from those days and wanted her to have the same. Besides she was super excited at the idea.

Many parents are on the fence about the need for a sleepover. Will my child be better off for going? Will they be deprived if they don’t go? Obviously, I am in favor of them. Maybe naively so but I trust people.

I trust people because I see the worse of what happens to children as the medical director of the Collier County Child Abuse Team. The overwhelming majority of people are trustworthy. Given the number of sleepovers that happen every weekend night and the number of abuse-related cases that end up in my clinic, sleepovers are hardly a concern. Of course, every parent should do their due diligence before allowing their child to sleep away from home.

Here are several good reasons to say yes to sleepovers:

  1. Your kids will get a chance to practice the manners you teach and you will glow when you hear how well they behaved.
  2. Your kids will get to do and try different things – food, games, travel, etc. they may not otherwise, which is all part of making it a treat.
  3. Your kids will make new friends, and so will you.
  4. Your kids will get to learn social boundaries and custom – how to behave in someone else’s house, car, etc. is different than behaving at home.
  5. You and your kids will have a chance to unwind and relax, away from the constant attention of each other.
  6. You and your kids will be on the path of mutual trust.
  7. Your kids will have meaningful connections and happy experiences to look back on and this is what it is all about.


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