Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

When is a sleepover over?

I know a lot of very smart, caring, and talented parents read this blog. I need some advice.

What is a normal sleepover these days? My ten-year old son has had many sleepovers over the past few years. More recently, they've started to cause some complications.

A sleepover at our house usually starts around 6:00 with one or two friends. There is a lot playing, usually some pizza or Sonic, possibly a movie, then more playing and lights out by midnight. The boys inevitably wake up early, play some more, have some breakfast, and then leave by 10am.

At other houses, though, there is a different approach, primarily concerning bedtime. The parents go to sleep before 11:00 and the rest is up to the kids. In other words, there is never a lights out/stop playing moment. We've picked up Ben from these sleepovers and found out that he went to sleep after 1am and as late as 3am. This morning, for the first time in his life, we found out that he never went sleep!

When I was young, I always remember a moment when the parents would come in the room and tell us it was time to go to sleep. Of course, we would lay in the dark and talk for awhile, but we were usually asleep within a half hour. The other idea is that at sleepovers you stay up to crazy hours and come home tired - that's what a sleepover is for.

So, I'm asking for some advice. What is a normal sleepover bedtime? When your children have (or had) sleepovers, do you stay awake until lights out or do you let them play themselves to sleep. Do you send your child to other houses with his or her own bedtime or defer to house rules? What's the latest your son or daughter has stayed up during a sleepover?

What are sleepovers like in your world?