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Why I'm Breaking My No Boys Rule

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My 6-year-old has become interested in having sleepovers with her friends. For a number of reasons, we have not yet attempted it.

First of all, she is not a night child. At all. She can't stay up no matter how hard she tries. And any change to her nighttime routine in the past has not gone well. As we all know, sleepovers mean no routine and little sleep.

She has asked a few times so far, and I've always said no. Initially, I explained we would wait until she was a little older.

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I mean, 6 seems young to me for sleepovers. I realized I had one or two when I was the same age. But now, as a parent, I'm not sure my child is ready.

When she asked if one of her best friends, who happens to be a boy, could sleep over when she is old enough, I told her we would not be having boys spend the night in our home.

This confused her. Because, of course, her 6-year-old brain is not capable of thinking up the kind of things my adult one is conjuring when it comes to boy-girl sleepovers. Yes, I know they are just kids now and quite innocent.

But do I want to set that precedent? And if I did, what would we do in the future?

Because, of course, her 6-year-old brain is not capable of thinking up the kind of things my adult one is conjuring when it comes to boy-girl sleepovers.

I had been mulling all this over and had not come to a conclusion—until recently. The friend-in-question's mother is about to have a baby. They have no family in town and just moved into a new house. They don't know their neighbors well.

So I offered to have him stay with us when the baby comes. Why the turnaround?

It all comes down to friends helping friends. That's all the reason I needed. We have become good friends with the family over the past year, and they need our support right now.

Our home is a place he knows. We are a family he is very comfortable with. Our parenting style is similar to his parents'. He and my daughter truly are great friends. Of all the kids she has had over to play, he is the one she gets along with best.

They attend the same school, so with the proper arrangements having been made, I can easily take him and pick him up. It just makes sense for us to be the ones to host him while his parents are at the hospital following his sibling's arrival.

We've had him over several afternoons after school in the past few weeks, as his parents have needed to go for special tests and doctors' appointments. There are complications. Scary ones. They have a difficult road ahead. This is just one small thing we can do to help, and I'm so glad we are.

Our home is a place he knows. We are a family he is very comfortable with.

It is easy to have him in our home and made me far more comfortable with the idea of letting him stay overnight. The kids have the same bedtime, so we won't be changing anything for either of them. I'll supervise bathing time to ensure privacy for both the kids. They will sleep in separate bedrooms.

We have a monitor in my daughter's room, because we sleep downstairs and she is upstairs (and for her epilepsy). I set it up so I would be able to hear them both should anything arise in the middle of the night.

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I write this the day before the baby is set to be delivered. We are ready. My daughter and her friend are very excited. His parents are grateful to know their son will be well taken care of so they can focus on the newborn and the special medical care he will require.

Am I worried about the precedent this is setting? Not at all. We are showing our daughter the importance of loving and supporting others when they are in need. The value of being flexible and open-minded. And, most importantly, how to be a friend.

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