Old Enough for a Sleepover? - FamilyEducation

Expert Advice

Old Enough for a Sleepover?

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q
At what age should children be allowed to go to sleepovers?
A
You have to trust that the "sleepover parents" will be responsible and sensitive caretakers. This should be the governing factor in deciding whether a child is ready and should participate in a sleepover.

Be aware that younger kids may become anxious and scared as bedtime approaches on their first sleepover. Both sets of parents should not be surprised nor should they,in any way,embarrass the anxious child if she decides she wants to go home. This is not an "ordeal" that has to be "passed" once the child commits to the sleepover. Separation anxiety and many childhood fears connected to it under these circumstances should be respected. There's always another night to try again.

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

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