So I just came from picking up my 3 year old son from my brother’s house from which he was planning to sleep at.
After just a few minutes from returning home, I get a text that he wants mommy and daddy.
So how old should your child be before they are able to sleep at anyone else’s house?
Well, there are several things you need to put into consideration before you make the final decision on whether or not you should allow them to spread their wings a little and I have some pointers for you below.
For most kids, they will kick and scream to sleep over at someone’s house but once they get there, they will soft cry until you come and rescue them.
Prepare to let them go but also prepare to retrieve them as anything can happen.
So is there an actual age in which you should allow your child to sleep over at a place that isn’t home?
How Mature Are They?
Kids are different and some are just a little more advanced than others.
Then there are those that are a little more independent while others are completely attached at the hip.
As a parent, you can tell if your’e child is going to be a clinger or if they’ll be perfectly fine on their own.
For me, I have four and they are all completely different.
Let’s start with my oldest, who is 9.
This guy is at that age where he doesn’t even care.
He will beg to do certain things but for the most part he’s cool with any outcome.
My next child will stay anywhere as long as he is occupied.
My most independent and adventurous, so there is no real issue when it comes to staying the night at his cousin’s.
Next is the same three year old that got me to writing this post in the first place.
Boy was he beyond excited to stay the night but didn’t even give me time to settle in at home before missing mommy and daddy.
My last child is my princess who is definitely not ready for any independent type activities that involve leaving the mother hen.
So three years old is not old enough in my book, unless they are mature enough and can be accompanied by another sibling.
Only then will they be ready to take the big step of “spending the night”.
Do You/They Trust the Person(s) They Will Be Going With?
If you don’t trust the person they are going with then I hope you know that sleeping over is completely out of the question.
In this case, we are focused more on your child and their trust level of the temporary care giver.
Are they comfortable enough to stay with the family they will be going with?
Are they even familiar with them or just the person they want to spend the night with?
This is a big factor as different emotions can take place once mommy and/or daddy leave them.
They will look at their temporary parents and that’s when everything will really sink in.
Where did mommy and daddy go?
Trust is a big deal with kids and if they don’t have that then you can forget about them staying the night.
Are They Still Breast Feeding or on a Bottle?
I mention this simply because my son is actually still being breast fed, even if he is three!
Although I knew that it was only a matter of time before he realized he needs mommy, I had to give in to his whining.
If they didn’t realize that mommy and daddy weren’t around, you can count on that comfort of the breast to make them realize that they didn’t really want to sleep anywhere else but home.
Even if they are still drinking from a bottle you can tell that they are still needing comfort.
Again, be prepared to let them go but be more prepared to pick them up.
So How Old Should They Be?
You as the parent should know.
If they are an only child, then they will most likely not even want to leave you at such a young age but I had a very unique situation being that my son had siblings that were dying to sleep at their cousin’s house.
I can’t say that there is an exact age but usually around 5-7 will they will be in that fun mode of wanting to sleep over at their buddy’s house.
Even at that age they will still be attached to mommy and daddy, so just give it a few tests to feel things out a bit.
There is nothing wrong with letting them play with their friends for a while and then all parting ways to sleep in the comfort of their home.
Then again, a nice little break from the kids would be nice.
If you are completely attached to your kids, these sleepovers will be a once in a blue moon thing as they are usually just as attached.
Once in a while is great but don’t start handing off responsibility to others by having them sleep over every single week.
Take responsibility and let them have fun but don’t let it become a habit.