Jacqueline Wilson, B*Witched and sleepovers

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 27th February 2012

A wave of nostalgia sweeps over me every time a gaggle of girls in navy blue polo shirts and matching skirts walks past the house. It seems no time at all since my daughter was a wide-eyed 11-year-old who loved Jacqueline Wilson books, glittery pens and a band called B*Witched (oh dear, she’s going to be furious with me for mentioning that).

But amidst all the wistfulness, the one thing I DON’T miss are sleepovers. The custom of inviting not one best friend, but four or five, to have supper and stay the night didn’t exist in my youth. But these days sleepovers are de rigueur for girls. They involve watching DVDs like The Sleepover Club, playing raucous music till all hours, eating vast quantities of sweets, chatting till 3am and getting up four hours later. And if you reckon your daughter has dark circles round her eyes the next morning, she won’t look half as tired as you feel.

Sleepovers are most parents’ nightmare – and they get worse as children get older. When my daughter was little we’d be lucky if she and her pals went to sleep by 11pm. One friend who stayed was terribly homesick while another felt ill in the middle of the night (probably after all those sweets) and had to be driven home.

Once the girls turn into teenagers, sleepovers involve even less sleep than before. They all bed down on the floor of the sitting room, watch a load of films back to back all night and emerge at dawn for endless rounds of hot buttered toast.

The worst part of it all is that having had practically no sleep the girls are pale, weary and in a filthy temper for the rest of the day. My exasperated husband always declared we should make the Sleepover Girls sleep in different rooms and switch the lights off at ten. The fact that this would have completely defeated the object of the whole exercise didn’t bother him in the least.

11 comments so far

  • I have one daughter who has regularly ‘done’ sleepovers and one who just ‘doesn’t’! Mind you I think the older one is about to stop, after attending one at the weekend and spending half the night looking after friends who had over consumed alcohol. She doesn’t drink due to sports training, so acted mother!

    I am definitely not a fan.

  • Hi Linsey. Oh yes. I’d forgotten the age when alcohol is added to the toxic sleepover mix. Your daughter sounds very kind though, looking after her friends. There is a lot to be said for sports training the next morning and not drinking at all!

  • Boys are slightly different, or so I found. My two sons had a friend at a time, and it was less like a sleepover than is a girls’ sleepover – if that makes sense. It was more a matter of convenience as we lived in the country and their closest friends weren’t on the doorstep.

    I think I got off lightly!

    Liz X

  • Hi Liz. There’s only one thing to say – you definitely got off lightly. But I agree. Boys don’t seem to be bothered about sleepovers. My son certainly wasn’t.

  • Laughed out loud at this very funny blog post & the idea of parents emerging hollow-eyed the next morning. It sounds like sleepovers don’t actually involve much sleep at all. Quite traumatic for parents by the sounds of it.
    K x

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