Sleepovers for Grade-Schoolers

What is your opinion about overnight group activities for elementary grade children? We want our kids to have fun and participate with their friends, but we're concerned about exposing them to inappropriate influences. Are we overreacting?

In this day and age it’s almost impossible to be too careful. Parents need to be especially mindful of what their kids are exposed to when they’re in someone else’s care. The sad fact is that we live in a world that is increasingly dangerous and unhealthy for kids.

On the other side of the coin, it’s important to realize that we can’t keep our children in a safe cocoon forever. Eventually they are going to have to face some of the threats and temptations that exist outside the four walls of our homes, and as parents we are responsible to start equipping and preparing them for that challenge as early as possible. In addition to protecting our children, we need to be teaching them what it means to make good choices. We need to help them understand that the decisions they make have consequences, and that there are times when it’s crucial to know how to say “no.” You can begin moving in that direction by allowing your kids to step out from under your immediate oversight a little bit at a time.

How do we balance these two aspects of the parent’s task? In this case, you might consider meeting with the adults who are responsible for supervising the overnight event you have in mind. Find out where it will be held, what sort of activities are planned, and who will be in charge. If you are well acquainted with the parent, teacher, or youth leader responsible for this gathering, you probably have little to worry about. On the other hand, if this sleepover is being held in someone’s private home and you are unfamiliar with the parents, we’d suggest that you meet with them beforehand to make sure that their values and perspectives are in line with your own. If this is a school- or church-sponsored event, you may discover that the teacher or leader would love to have you volunteer as a chaperone.

If you have additional questions or would like to discuss this situation at greater length with a member of our staff, we’d like to invite you to call our Counseling department. They’d be pleased to assist you in any way they can.


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