Are you saying...
"I Only let my kids stay the night with families I trust!” - Sexual assault is most likely to happen with someone you know not someone you do not know, whether you trust them or not. Yes, I am going to be the one to say it, we do not want to admit it because we think that would mean that we do not trust someone we care about. I’m not suggesting that you go around not trusting people, I’m only suggesting that the sleepover has a high chance of sexual abuse and trusting someone does not take that away. There is just no way to protect your kids from sexual abuse completely but we can take out any risk we can. So take out the high chance item of sleep overs.
“My kids love sleep overs and they are a blast!” - Kids get uncomfortable sleeping over at a friends house. Yes there is fun and games but the truth is that once the giggling and fun is over it is uncomfortable to stay the night at a friends house. I remember begging my mother to allow me to stay the night over at a friends house. Even though I asked and I wanted to a part of my was nervous about “sleeping” over. It is much better for mom or dad to say no so that your kids do not have to. It is really hard to sleep at a friends, I remember calling my mom in the middle of the night on several occasions to pick me up at 1:00 in the morning.
“We will just have sleep overs at our house or with people we trust!” - Making the choice before hand leaves out disappointment and hurt feelings. Kids can be convincing and if you’ve met the family and they seem legit it is easy to allow your kids to stay the night over somewhere that you do not know the family well enough. Also, if you say no and especially if it has to be repeatedly then the family might be offended. If you only have people stay over at your house then others will be offended when you do not want your kids to stay at their house especially if it is a close friend. Then your back to making the choice one sleep over at a time. If you have a blanket rule then no one takes it personally.
“My kids miss out.” - What are they missing out on. Having fun with their friends, movies, popcorn, late night giggling, and talking into the late night.
Here is what to do: Have a STAY LATE OVER
We invite friends over to have a pajama party and stay late watching a movie, eat popcorn, and then I take the kids home late but before bed. The kids still get the fun and they get to enjoy their friends and do nails etc. Make it fun for the kids you could make some fun snacks and have some fun board games. Get creative and do something your kids like and make it fun and worth missing the sleeping part. Then you don’t have to deal with the awkward middle of the night phone calls or if the kid gets sick or dealing with having to tell them to “go to bed” all night.
If my kids get invited to a sleep over or a friends to stay the night or a birthday party sleep over then they just say I’d love to but I can not stay the night but I can stay until 10 o’clock (or whatever you decide) and then I let them of have fun at a friends and then I just plan on going to pick them up.
Another thing you can do is have a Pajama breakfast party at your house. Invite friends over for breakfast one Saturday morning and do a breakfast of Waffles and Ice cream. That is what I remember eating at one of my friends house. It was a great food memory. It’s not something that kids get to eat for breakfast so getting to have friends over to have some Ice cream on your waffle is a great way to make a memory!
Best of all you can rest assured that your kids have less chance of being abused, you do not have to worry about them all night, you do not have to wake up in the middle of the night and go pick them up, your kids can still get the benefits of a sleep over by planning other events or picking them up before bedtime at a friends. Start the trend in your community and maybe it will catch on. It is easier if the group of friends your kids hang out with all have similar types of parties. Be the start of change!