Sleeping over a friend’s house, where you get to stay up late, eat junk food and watch TV, is usually pretty fun for kids, but while most parents probably enjoyed sleepovers as children, many aren’t letting their own kids partake in the fun.
It seems more and more GenX and Millennial parents are against their kids going to sleepovers, so much so that there’s a growing movement on TikTok of parents sharing their reasons for saying no. One such parent is Jenn Hoskins, a 43-year-old mother based in Orlando, Florida, who has nine children and insists none can go to a sleepover until they are over the age of 16. She’s shared videos on TikTok about the subject, which has attracted 229,900 followers. She is also part of a growing #NoSleepovers movement online that is 12.3 million users strong.
Instead of sleepovers, she lets her kids do what she calls “half-overs,” where her kids can stay at a friends’ until 10 pm to enjoy all the usual slumber party activities before she takes them home to go to bed.
The anti-sleepover trend first gained steam thanks to child and adolescent psychiatrist Larry Mitnaul, who posted TikToks about why such sleepovers are risky, noting they could expose kids to drinking, drugs, sexual indecency and more.
But not all experts are against sleepovers. Yamalis Diaz, a child and adolescent psychologist at NYU Langone Health, says they are more than just a fun time for kids. “They do serve a really nice function,” she says, noting that if a kids’ friends are all enjoying sleepovers and you don’t allow them to, “you are limiting their ability to develop and practice [social] skills, and [hindering their ability] to participate in their world.”
She does note that parents do need to set clear rules ahead of such sleepovers, and also create “exit strategies” if their kids find themselves in “uncomfortable situations” and want to go home.