Spending the Night: When is the Right Time?

Parenting Styles
Spending the Night: When is the Right Time

As a child grows older, many parents wonder when to allow him or her to spend the night at a trusted friend’s house. The answer varies from child to child. Some children are mature enough to spend the night at a friend’s house when they are five while others won’t be ready until they are seven or eight. It’s best for parents to make the decision based on what they know about their child. Here are some of the pros and cons of allowing a young child to spend the night away from home.


  • When a child is allowed to stay overnight with a friend, he or she becomes more independent and confident about being away from mom and dad.
  • An overnight stay allows a child to experience time with other people in an unfamiliar environment.
  • A child gets a chance to practice his or her manners while staying overnight with friends. He or she learns how to act when staying at another person’s home.


  • There’s always a chance that the child will become upset and want to come home. This means parents may be getting up to retrieve their child in the middle of the night.
  • If a child is frightened or has a bad experience while staying overnight with a friend, he or she will likely remember that experience for quite a while.
  • A child who asks to come home early from a friend’s house in the middle of the night is causing a disruption in that household.

Tips for Success

-The experts at sharecare advise parents to allow their child to take along some “security items” to their overnight stay. A special blanket, a pillow or even a flashlight can provide comfort for a child if he or she becomes anxious.

-Parents may want to call their child to see how it is going. This is an opportunity for moms and dads to offer encouragement if their child is feeling uneasy.

-Parents can help by talking with their child about all of the fun he or she will have on their overnight stay!

Finally, parents may feel a little sad when they drop off their child for the overnight, but a positive experience can help the child gain an overall feeling of security and confidence.

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