My 7-year-old daughter was invited to a sleepover that lasts from 3PM Saturday until 11AM Sunday morning. I don't want to upset her by skipping the sleepover part, but I don't know this other girls' family or who lives in the house any better than I would a random person at the grocery store. I think the mom is only 26 years old, too. I'm torn between wanting my daughter to have fun and being worried that this whole thing is too much for such young girls or that there might be a creep in the house. Should I meet the parents? What do I do?
No Sketchy Sleepovers.
Ahhh, the sleepover party. It seems to start early now, doesn't it? Personally, I would rather poke my eyes out than let my daughter have a sleepover. I have her parties last 2 hours with a craft of some kind to keep them busy and about halfway through, I'm looking longingly at my wineglass. But that's just me.
3PM until 11AM the following morning/afternoon does seem like a long time, especially for little girls. Kids this age can still get over-stimulated and worn-out easily. Perhaps this mom has no clue what she's doing. Or, perhaps she has a circus of activities planned with help and supervision from her sisters and mother. Who knows? One way to find out would be to open an email or old-fashioned telephone dialog with her. Start off by saying, "We have plans the following morning and aren't sure if RubySue* can spend the night. Can we pick her up earlier if we need to?" Casually add something like, "That's a long party. What do you have planned so the girls don't go bananas? You're a real trooper." Add an "LOL" or smiley emoticon to be unassuming. Her response will give you a better clue as to what will be going on and how well-equipped she is for this mayhem.
As for the creepy family member fear, I would think you have little to worry about at a large sleepover. Pedophiles and molesters usually have to groom their victims and gradually build up to funny touching. Statistically speaking, kids are sexually abused most often by a family member or trusted friend. Someone who can be sure your daughter won't blab and has gained everyone's trust. Be more worried if a teacher, coach, or friend's older sibling/parent takes a shine to your daughter or wants to take her out alone than someone reaching into her sleeping bag at a big party.
All of that said, however, trust your gut at the end of the week. If this mom sounds like a flake, and you are still not comfortable about letting RubySue* spend the night, skip it. Pick her up at 9 or 10 PM. She'll be upset for ten minutes, but at this age they all forget about it and no one will tease her for leaving early. It's not like Junior High where your self-worth depends on socializing to the fullest extent. Not yet, anyway.
That will be 3rd grade.