Education.com Reconsiders and Removes “No to Sleepovers” Post

Hi Readers — Here’s a note from Education.com’s marketing director, Kat Eden, regarding the “Reasons to Say No to Sleepovers” post we have been writing about the last two days (that is now gone from the site). – L 

Dear Free-Range Kids: Thanks so much to you and to your community for sharing your thoughts about this article.

We post hundreds of pieces of content each month with the goal of giving parents the information they need to make the best decisions for their families and the ideas and inspiration they want to make learning with their kids more fun.  While we work hard to make sure every bit of that content is helpful for parents, sometimes, like everyone, we just don’t get it right.

We know that sleepovers are a controversial subject these days and many parents have strong feelings about whether they’re a good thing for kids or not.  While hundreds of parents “Liked” this particular article on Facebook, we also heard from parents like you who felt the article missed the mark.  We reviewed the article yesterday and have decided to remove it from our site.

When we publish articles on controversial topics, we try to avoid telling parents what they should or should not do and instead we try to give them expert or evidence based information on both sides of the issue so they can make the best decision for their children and families.  This article clearly crossed that line a bit by encouraging parents not to allow their kids to go on sleepovers. This article is a better example of how we typically present information on a topic like this: First Sleepover Preparation.

So, as I said, we’ve removed the article.  Please let me know if you have any further questions, ideas or input.

Thanks again for sharing your point of view.

Best,  Kat

To which I responded: 

Dear Kat: I DO like the tone and suggestions of the alternative link you just sent, and I appreciate your — I’m not even sure of the word. Your willingness to give a rational re-look at a post you published. That’s exactly what i’m writing a story on for another publication — the power of apology. That takes guts and usually isn’t easy.

I am grateful and impressed. – Lenore

And now, readers, a note to YOU: Our voice helped shed the world of one bit of the fear-mongering, worst-first thinking parental “advice” out there. That’s some real, if small, good. I’m grateful and impressed by you, too. Onward! – L. 

pizza
Pizza for everyone! Popular website decides sleepovers are not a moral peril after all!

 

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48 Responses to Education.com Reconsiders and Removes “No to Sleepovers” Post

  1. SKL August 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I liked her reply. Nothing wrong with opening a discussion with pros and cons (although that article was mostly cons).

  2. Emily August 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    I admire the fact that the administrators on Education.Com took down the “7 Reasons To Say No To Sleepovers” article, but at the same time, I have to wonder, are sleepovers SUCH a big deal that they require seven different tips for “preparation?” In fact, in a follow-up article about sending a child to summer camp (bigger deal, in my book), a sleepover IS one of the “preparation tips” they list. Anyway, my point is, not every facet of childhood is that complicated, barring special needs. If Junior needs to put on a Pull-Up or take an insulin shot at bedtime, or something of that nature, then yeah, you make the expectations clear, to the child AND to the host parent, but if it’s just a run-of-the-mill sleepover, then a seven-point action plan isn’t necessary. You help your child pack (on a sliding scale depending on age and maturity–more help for younger kids, less for older ones), you drop them off, tell them to have fun and be good, and pick them up the next morning.

  3. librarian August 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Yes, nice reply from education.com and a much more helpful link this time.
    I must admit, I’m uneasy about sleepovers myself, since I come from the country where it wasn’t part of the culture – and my (almost) 3rd grader keeps asking me when she gets to have one – and my meek answers “in middle school” are not too well-received. I am not that worried about her: she’s a seasoned fearless traveler, and I like her best friend’s parents. I am worried about her misbehaving in some way, not being attuned to the rules of their house, or otherwise being a burden for her friend’s parents…

  4. marie August 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    We know that sleepovers are a controversial subject these days…

    Is it ungrateful if I frown at that? Who is this WE? I have never heard or understood or gotten hints that sleepovers were controversial at all.

    Otherwise, yeah. Good on them for listening and then taking action.

  5. Warren August 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    I still find it so weird, that this simple little thing needs to be planned, organized, yadadayadada.

    Whatever happened to just do it? My kids would come in from school, playing or wherever. “Dad can I sleep over at so and so’s?” Permission given, shreik of excitement and that’s it.

    Or “Dad can I have a few friends over for a sleepover?” Permission given, shreik of excitement and that’s it.

    Why do people have to make things so difficult.

  6. oncefallendotcom August 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    You still haven’t mentioned who made the roadkill shaped pizza…

  7. Sara August 8, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    My daughter invited six kids to a sleepover for her birthday, only one could actually spend the night :( I think it’s cultural though, many of her friends are first generation immigrants from Asian countries.

  8. Krista August 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    I know the LDS Church has recently discouraged sleepovers, so the “controversy” is out there. I just don’t get it. When I was a pre-teen and teenager I would often spend 3 consecutive weeks of my summer at a friend’s house. Some of the best memories I have.

    Everything wasn’t perfect. I had to deal with a lot of things, like my friend’s older brother peeping on us while we were getting changed for swimming. But, you know, I worked it out and I’m certainly not scarred forever. Sleepovers can give kids the opportunity to deal with real world situations in a relatively safe environment. I think that’s great.

  9. Gina August 8, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    @Librarian–I think it’s perfectly ok to share your concerns regarding your child’s behavior with the other parents. I bet you will find out you’re worrying about nothing! Also, I’m sure you have taught your children to respect certain rules at places other than your home (School, airplane, library, etc) and they will understand when you tell them that they have to respect the rules of the home they are going to. If the other parents were worried that your kids would be a burden, they wouldn’t invite them. Talk to them and to your kids and see if that helps you relax a little about this.

  10. Gina August 8, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Krista- Why has the LDS church discouraged sleepovers? I can’t imagine what religion has to do with it….

  11. Krista August 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/courageous-parenting?lang=eng

    “May I express my personal warning about a practice that is common in many cultures. I am referring to sleepovers, or spending the night at the home of a friend. As a bishop I discovered that too many youth violated the Word of Wisdom or the law of chastity for the first time as part of a sleepover. Too often their first exposure to pornography and even their first encounter with the police occurred when they were spending the night away from home.”

    -Larry R. Lawrence
    Of the Seventy

  12. lollipoplover August 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    “You still haven’t mentioned who made the roadkill shaped pizza.”
    My son says it looks like Patrick from Spongebob.

    My daughter has a sleepover tonight. It wasn’t planned, the mom had to work a night shift at the hospital and needed a favor, and now the girls are playing lego friends and little pet shop pets quietly upstairs.
    Or they could violating the Word of Wisdom and doing lines of coke, pot, and pornography. I’m just debating if it’s too late to break out the Cotton Candy machine…

  13. Emily August 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    I think the roadkill-shaped pizza is supposed to be a star.

  14. Uly August 9, 2013 at 12:58 am #

    Word of Wisdom seems to be LDS dietary laws. No tobacco, alcohol, or… hot caffeinated beverages.

    Well, at any rate, if your LDS kids are sleeping over at the houses of other LDS kids, that’s unlikely to be an issue if you’re all equally observant.

  15. Arianne August 9, 2013 at 1:43 am #

    “I think the roadkill-shaped pizza is supposed to be a star.”

    OH!!! Yeah, ok, that makes a heck of a lot more sense and is way more fun than bear-skin-rug-pizza, which is what I thought I was seeing first, lol!

  16. Bob Davis August 9, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    When my daughters were of “sleepover” age, there weren’t any VCRs and computers still occupied large, air-conditioned data processing centers. There might be a concern nowadays about kids watching “R” rated movies on their friend’s computer. But if the parents of your child’s friends have similar values (and here’s where the Mormon concern comes in) this should not be a problem.

  17. J.T. Wenting August 9, 2013 at 2:38 am #

    “Krista- Why has the LDS church discouraged sleepovers? I can’t imagine what religion has to do with it….”

    probably the risk of the child’s soul being contaminated with heretical ideas.
    That’s the reason a lot of fringe religious groups discourage (or outright ban) any interaction between members and outsiders.

  18. John August 9, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    Since no one here has mentioned it, I certainly will and that is, those 2 pizzas in the picture look pretty damn good! ;-)

  19. Sharon August 9, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    A couple of years ago I hosted a sleepover so that a mom could attempt to pass the Maryland Bar Exam. The kids had a great time and the Mom passed!! What ever happened to friends helping friends?

  20. Jessica August 9, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Sleepovers are such a fond memory of childhood for me. One friend’s mom treated us with chocolate chip pancakes — an exotic delight we never had at home. I suppose that’s the kind of thing that freaks some of these parents out. Heaven forfend the kid tries something not perfectly healthy and pre approved.

    Sadly my kids never ask for sleepovers.

  21. LRothman August 9, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Warren – I agree with you. My kids have been at friends’ houses, called and said “can I just spend the night?” They stayed, borrowed something to sleep in and came home in their clothes from the day before. Amazingly enough, their teeth didn’t fall out because they failed to brush them that night.

    I will admit that I prefer some level of planning if they are going to have more than two kids spend the night – just so I’m sure we have snacks and breakfast stuff enough. But one kid on a weekend night? Not a problem.

    I’ve even *gasp* had a couple kids (8 & 10) spend the night on a school night – one of the parents was out of the country on business when some relative was rushed to the hospital. Yes, they didn’t sleep as much as they should have and were a little tired the next day, but there was no lasting impact – other than “remember when we got to have friends spend the night and walk to school with us?” comments.

  22. Earth.W August 9, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    I missed this one. Good to see some rational arise. :)

  23. QuicoT August 9, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    It’s a battle we’ve won as part of a war we’re still losing. The deeper problem with sites like Education.com is that they’re still in the business of selling ads, which means they’re in the business of chasing page-views, which means that the institutional bias towards the kind of alarmist stories that most parents (inexplicably) want to click on is baked in to the business model.

    There’s just no ad revenue to be had from “Nothing Bad Happened When…” type stories. And you can just imagine a suit upstairs looking at that kind of thing and quickly concluding “if 1,000,000 viewers see that story, 100,000 follow its advice and 1 kid gets in trouble, we’re in for 1 business-ending lawsuit.” The logic of the board-room dictates the paranoia. And yet parents turn to these sites – which see helping them raise sane kids as a distant-second to the bottom-line in their list of priorities – for advice. It’s really sad.

  24. Warren August 9, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    @ LRothman

    Thank you. My daughters both had best friends that lived at our place just as much as their own.

    I don’t know how many Saturday nites I spent sitting on the floor watching hockey, while the girls styled my hair, did my makeup and took wonderfully embarassing pics of their handiwork.

    Wasn’t bad even when I showed up to do a service call at 2am, on the side of the highway with eyeliner and blush still on my face. First thing the trucker asked was how old my girls were.

    Yes, if it was a gaggle of gigglers I wanted some warning for supplies and groceries. Other than that, who cares, they had fun, always had pancakes for breakfast, and always came back for more.

  25. Marian August 9, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Yeah, I don’t get this whole idea of the “first” sleepover. I mean, first time child ever goes to a friend’s house for a traditional sleepover, yeah. But they seem to be equating that with “first time child has ever spent the night away from mom and dad” and I’m like, what? You let your child get to 7 or 8 (or older) without ever getting a night off from them? What?

    I recently invited my 2.5 year old niece to come have a sleepover with my 2.5 year old daughter. Mom refused because the daughter has never spent a night away from her parents, and she doesn’t think she’s ready for that yet. Which is totally legit for a kid that young. But I can’t remember the “first” time my daughter spent a night away from hubby and I, because it didn’t even occur to me to mark it as a milestone. I know at the oldest she was around 8 months, as she spent the night at my best friend’s house for my husband’s and my anniversary. Since then she’s spent nights and even periods of 4-5 DAYS away from home with various relatives or close family friends.

    I just can’t imagine, when the time comes, having it be that big of a deal to have her first sleepover. By that time she’ll be an old pro.

  26. Brian August 9, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    The problem with the wording of “it has become a controversial issue” is that defining something as a controversy gives too much power to the wacko position. A couple kooks who have an absurd position does not make it a legitimate controversy worthy of 2 sided discussion.

    Unfortunately, in an effort to be fair we allow these voices in and suddenly things become “controversial.” Some have no real effect, but others, like Global Warming, cause tremendous harm.

  27. librarian August 9, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    @Gina, thank you

  28. Natalie August 9, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    @Marian
    I was worried that my daughter would sudden get homesick and want to come home at 2 am. I remember that happening at a sleepover I hosted when I was younger.
    And even though she’s normally well-behaved, I was worried that she wouldn’t listen to her friend’s parents.
    But it was fine, she behaved, wasn’t homesick (didn’t even want to come home for soccer the next day). :)

  29. Natalie August 9, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    @Brian
    Agreed. Controversial issue. What is this? A discussion on abortion rights?

  30. Uly August 9, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    You know, Natalie, 66.6% of kids have their first abortion at a sleepover.

  31. Natalie August 9, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Lol.

    I’m surprised it’s not 69%.

    (Rimshot)

  32. JMW August 9, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    And yet, one of the comments in the *new* article is a link to here:
    http://www.safechildtraining.com/

    At this website, one can use an online quiz to make sure their sleepover, home, and environment are SAFE, and for a FEE (well, the sleepover one is apparently free).

  33. EricS August 9, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    @Emily and marie: I agree, I don’t find sleepovers an issue. I just think back when I was a kid and sleeping over friends house on a regular. But this age has conditioned many parents to fear everything. Some people just need that mild coaxing back to reality and common sense thinking. 20 years (since the creation of the internet as we know it today) is enough time to recondition former free-range children turned adults, into fear driven parents. It’s going to take time to ease them back in. I think the new article is more for the parents peace of mind, than the children’s. It is a good example of conveying positive thinking. If it was internet and media that converted people to paranoia, it’s only logical to believe it’s also what can convert them back to common sense, and assertiveness. Baby steps is better than no steps.

  34. Donna August 9, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    While this is great, I have a problem with sleepovers being deemed “controversial” and this idea that everything needs to be a BIG DEAL and everything needs “experts” ringing in on it, even things that kids have been doing for generations without experts and big drama.

  35. Warren August 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    @Donna

    Every once in awhile they run articles on how to help your child deal with daylight savings time. They go on like it is some trauma that will scar your kid, if not handled right.
    With all the experts chiming in.

    I think it is a case of……….kids are safe, they are healthy…..and now they have to do something to justify their existance.

  36. Emily August 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    @Warren–You piqued my curiosity. I went to Education.Com and searched for the “help your kid deal with Daylight Savings Time” article, but I couldn’t find it. Have the done the opposite too, and written articles about how to help your kid deal with returning to Eastern Standard Time? If so, I’ll take another look right around the time we change our clocks.

  37. LTMG August 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    The very best way to publish an article entitled “No to Sleepovers” is to have a wide expanse of empty space after the title. That will resemble the cranial contents of whomever might have such an idea.

  38. Uly August 9, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    JMW, what a link!

    “90% of child victims know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member. Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and up, approximately 80% of the victims know the offender. We have designed products to help you make your home safer for your children and friends they invite to your home.”

    What the hell sort of products are going to help make the home safer if one of the adults in it is a child molestor? A background check? Dude, by the time you have kids, it’s a little late to check up on your spouse, isn’t it?

  39. Tsu Dho Nimh August 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    I remember a friend’s distress on a sleepover … she had cramps. So I told my dad (a pharmacist) who handed her a couple of aspirins and a heating pad.

    She was REALLY DISTRESSED that she wasn’t getting fully coddled and pampered and cosseted during her monthly feminine ordeal. Having things just dealt with with no fuss was not how her family worked.

    We dealt with friends with asthma attacks, diabetes, and one poor Turkish foreign exchange student with strep throat (kept him,cured him, and tossed him onto a plane to catch up to his group. I was willing to keep him :) but the parents wouldn’t let me.)

  40. Bronte August 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    What I find weird is the terminology. When I grew (mid sized town, New Zealand, late 1980s, early 90s) a sleepover needed planning because it referred to having a party ie. 5 or more friends at once. One friend was just having someone stay the night and happened all the time.

    Standard 4 (age 10?) I spent every winter Saturday night at the same friends house. We had netball on Saturday so I’d travel out to her farm afterwards, then come back in to town for church the next day. She didn’t like staying away from home, so we always went to her house.

  41. Tsu Dho Nimh August 9, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    @Warren Wasn’t bad even when I showed up to do a service call at 2am, on the side of the highway with eyeliner and blush still on my face. First thing the trucker asked was how old my girls were.

    My dad answered a fire alarm (volunteer FD) with his hair full of curlers.

    He had naturally curly hair, but after that night, no one believed it.

  42. Mary August 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    Color me impressed. The sleepover itself is not an issue but we did have a problem with a family member over sleepovers. My son and his cousin are love spending time together but I do have concerns about drug use by the older cousin. This is a case specific issue and one that we navigated in our family, but not without difficulty. The controversy, I think, is how to say no to a particular family when they know that you are okay with sleepovers, in general.

  43. Tsu Dho Nimh August 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    Growing up in an area where the rural roads could drift shut … dragging a friend home was common. Everyone had a friend or two “in town” they could stay with and it was understood that if there was a risk the buses couldn’t make it through the drifts, they turned back and the kids stayed with friends. It was always a fun occasion to have the buses come back with the farm kids.

    And not necessarily children, either. I remember coming downstairs and finding most of a train crew sleeping on our living room floor because the tracks were closed by heavy snow. There were passengers and crew being cared for all over town.

  44. Shaylene Haswarey August 10, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    I’ve had many discussions about slumber parties in the past. I am a promoter of slumber parties, especially from my own personal life experiences. Mothers have found me crazy for thinking it is okay for my kids to participate in sleepovers. I’ve given them my reasons, and even though they don’t let their kids go, at least they heard another point of view. I actually wrote a book called “The Hijabi Club”. It’s about a group of teen girls who get together every Friday night. I knew it would stir up come questions amongst moms who think it’s inappropriate, so in my introduction of my book, I explained why slumber parties can benefit teens.

  45. Shaylene Haswarey August 10, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    Sara, you are right, a lot of Asian’s don’t allow
    their kids to sleepover. It’s not part of their
    culture.

    About the LDS Church, I grew up in an
    LDS community, and all my sleepovers
    were with Mormon girls. It actually kept
    me out of trouble. I remember one night
    when my friend and I were talking we
    were talking about the importance of
    waiting until marriage before intimacy.
    I’ll never forget that conversation. It
    stuck with me throughout my teen years!

  46. Donna August 10, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    @Warren – I remember that daylight savings time article. Didn’t Lenore post it or at least reference it here?

    Some people put more angst into the simple things of daily living than I put into moving to a small island in the South Pacific for 2 years. I can’t imagine their stress levels if daylight savings time and sleepovers put them in such a tither.

  47. Gina August 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    OMG Natalie…will you pleeeease be my best friend? I am ROFLMAO…69%

  48. Krog August 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    When I was going to grade school during the 1990’s, there seemed to be an increasing amount of homework and text books that needed to be brought home every night. The backpacks got very heavy! It got so bad that I would see elementary students using a rolling backpack to carry around all their books. I hope things have changed and the load isn’t so bad, but it’s not fun having to walk to school with 20+ lbs on your back.