There are no hard-and-fast rules about when kids are ready for their first sleepover at a friend’s house. Sleepovers require kids to be comfortable staying away from home and to have social skills for getting along with others. Kids with learning and thinking differences might have trouble socially, so it’s especially important to make sure they’re ready.
Some kids might be ready around age 5 or 6. And others might not be comfortable until later. It depends on your child’s emotional maturity and independence. This checklist can help you decide.
Signs your child is ready for a sleepover
- Your child has already stayed overnight somewhere without you (perhaps with other family members) without getting scared or crying.
- Your child knows a potential sleepover friend well, and they get along on playdates.
- Your child can get ready for bed — brushing teeth, putting on pajamas — without adult help.
- Your child can generally get through the night without nightmares or crying.
- Your child can be away from you for several hours at a time without getting anxious.
- Your child does well when socializing with other kids’ families or eating their food.
- Your child can ask other adults, besides you, for help.
- Your child is excited by the prospect of a sleepover or is at least willing to try it.
If your child isn’t quite ready, you might want to build a bit more independence first, such as having your child spend the night with a relative or neighbor a few times.
About the author
About the author
Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.
Elizabeth Harstad, MD, MPH is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital.