Ask your parents when they are in a good mood. When it comes to asking your parents for something you want, timing is everything. Your mom or dad are much more likely to say yes in the middle of a relaxing Sunday afternoon on the porch than when they come home from a stressful day at work or have spent all day cleaning the kitchen. Look for a time when your parents are relaxed, when they don't have a million things on their to-do list, and when they're generally happy with you. Though it may be impossible to know exactly what's going on in their minds, you can watch them for a little while to get a sense of whether or not they would really listen to your proposition.
Though you may not know exactly what your parents are worrying about, you should avoid asking them right before your grandparents visit, when they're doing work at the kitchen table, or when they just generally seem too tired to really listen. Though you can't wait forever to ask them, it's better to wait until the time is right unless you're really in a rush.
Ask to have the sleepover at a convenient time. Another thing to think about is when you actually want to have your sleepover. Don't ask to have the sleepover the night before your grandma comes to visit, and don't ask to do it when you know your parents will be doing some spring cleaning. Pick a time when they won't have much to do around the house or too much on their minds. The more convenient the time, the more likely they'll be to say yes. You should also pick a time when you are relatively free so they'll be less likely to make an excuse like, “You have a math test/soccer game/spelling bee competition that day.”
You may really, really want to have a sleepover as soon as you ask for it, but it's important to think at least a few weeks ahead to improve your chances.
Be polite instead of demanding. When you approach your parents to ask for something, whether it's for them to buy you a new video game or to get a ride to the movies, tone is everything. If you come in there acting like, “I'm going to have this sleepover and you're nuts if you think you can stop me,” then they will say no faster than you can walk through the door. Instead, be kind, understanding, and let them know that they have the power. Instead of rude statements, use a polite statement like “(parent name here), I want to have a sleepover with my friend (friend name here). May you allow it please?”. This will make them much more inclined to say yes.
Though it can be hard to remember to respect your parents when you really want them to give you what you want, this is something you should do at all times. After all, they make the rules around your home, and provided that they are fairly reasonable, you should avoid complaining or being mean if you don't get what you want because it'll only make things worse.
Keep the first sleepover simple. If you've never had a sleepover before, it's probably not a good idea to invite every girl in your fifth grade class to spend the night at a Twilight themed party. Instead, just invite two or three friends, at most, and don't have any special theme or complicated food requests. If your parents let you have a basic fun and simple sleepover, then they may be willing to let you do more in the future, but you should avoid overwhelming them with complicated requests because they'll be more likely to say no.
Offer to do something kind in exchange. You may just expect your parents to say yes and give you exactly what you want. However, you should think more about it and realize that they would appreciate, and that they would even deserve, to have something in exchange. You can offer to help do the dishes more, to do more of the chores that your parents do, or to find another way to help out either around the house or in some other way. If you're old enough, maybe you can help with the grocery shopping, walk the dog, or do something else to give your parents a bit more free time.
You shouldn't even wait for them to say no. When you finish asking your question, you can finish by saying, “And in exchange, I'd be happy to clean out the fridge/take out the trash all month/clean the kitty's litter box from now on.”
Think about it: is there something your parents really dread doing that they would love for you to do? Maybe they always complain about picking up the mail, answering the phone when they know a telemarketer is calling, or having to weed the garden. See if there's something that you can offer to do that they would love so much that they'd have to let you have a sleepover in exchange.
Show them that it will be a good opportunity for you to socialize. Though you don't want to make your parents feel guilty about making you look like you have no friends or not letting you hang out with people, you can make a casual point about how it's pretty normal for kids your age to have sleepovers and that you don't want to miss out. Tell them that you'd like to hang out with your friends in a nighttime setting and that you think it'll be a fun way to get to know them better. Make your parents feel like they'd be making you miss out on a fun opportunity.
If the basics aren't working, try a more drastic approach. Okay, so if you've tried being nice, pointing to times when you were responsible, or just saying “pretty pretty please?” and it's a no-go, you can try some tactics that are a bit more drastic. Here are some options:
Tell your parents that your friend really wants you to sleep over her house. After they say no, you can say, “Well then, can she sleep over here?” Most parents are really afraid of having their kids go sleep in some other parents’ home and are much more comfortable letting kids sleep over their place. If this is the case with your parents, then they'll be more likely to say yes after you pose the first question because they'll see having the sleepover at your home as the lesser of two evils.
Ask them if you can do something more extreme first. You can also ask your parents if you can do something a little more extreme, like going on vacation with a friend and her family, getting a dog, or taking horseback riding lessons, and then wait for them to say no. After they've said no, be really upset and give it a day or two so they think you really mean it. Then, casually ask them if you can have a sleepover. If they're not on to your tricks, then they'll be more likely to say yes.
If you have a pesky younger sibling or two, you can say that they can also join the sleepover. That way, your parents get a babysitter for free and can take the night off.
Give them a game plan so they know what to expect. Parents aren't so different from their kids all the time. Sometimes, the biggest thing that they don't like is the unknown. They may say no to a sleepover because they don't know what to expect, and picture ten kids having a crazy pillow fight and ruining all of their antique furniture. If you want to ease their worries that nothing horrible will go wrong, then the best thing you can do is to tell them exactly what the night would look like. Here's what they'll need to know:
How many people are invited (example statement: “4 friends are coming over tonight.”)
What you'll be eating (example statement: “We will be eating popcorn, chicken, and burgers.”
What movies, if any, you'll watch (example statement: “We are gonna be watching Inside Out.”)
Where your friends will be sleeping (example statement: “My friends will be sleeping in the bedroom 2 doors away from the kitchen.”)
What time they'll arrive and when they'll leave (example statement: “My friends will enter at 4:30PM today and leave 2:15PM tomorrow.”)
Tell them that you'll do all (or most) of the work. Another reason your parents may not want you to have a sleepover is because they can already picture themselves making a big dinner and having to clean up a big huge mess in the morning. They may also be worried about cleaning the house so it's presentable to your friends and their parents. Tell them that you'll do all of the cleaning before and after and that you'll make sure your friends won't make a big mess. Also, say that you'll do something simple and cheap like ordering pizza so they won't feel like they have to do a million things to keep your friends happy.
Once you make it clear that your parents won't have to do a ton of the work, they'll be more likely to let the sleepover happen. They'll also be impressed that you're taking so much initiative and showing responsibility.
Have them meet your friends before they sleep over. If your parents haven't met the friends that you want to sleep over yet, then you should invite them by so that your parents see that they're nice, normal people who can be trusted to stay the night. Invite your friends to a baseball game with your family, or to have dinner or watch a movie at your home, so your parents see that there's nothing to be afraid of. If your parents are worried about letting your friends sleep over, then letting them see that they're good people can go a long way in making them change their minds.
Your parents may also feel more comfortable if they meet your friends’ parents when they pick them up.
Tell them that they can check in on you and your friends at any time. The best part about having a sleepover, for your parents, may be that they can theoretically check up on you almost any time, unlike when you're out at another friend's house. Tell your parents that they're welcome to check in on you when you're eating, watching a movie, or just hanging out with your friends. They can bring you milk and cookies or even make you breakfast in the morning, if they want to do that; chances are, they'll mostly leave you alone, but they'll feel comforted by the fact that they'll be able to easily see what you're up to.
Say you'll leave your door open a crack or that you'll come say hi to your parents every few hours. Though this may be a bit much for you, it's better than not having a sleepover at all!
Point to other times when you've behaved well with friends. If you really want to get your parents to say yes, then after you ask them if you can have a sleepover, you can remind them of what a responsible, awesome person you've been in the past when you've hung out with your friends. Maybe the same friends who you want to sleep over had hung out at your house the last week. You can say something like, “Remember when Maggie came over to watch TV and eat pizza? Nothing bad happened, right?” Show them that it's not a big deal that your friends, who you're good at hanging out with already, just spend a few extra nighttime hours in your home.
Your parents need to see that you can behave well instead of just being promised. Make a list of times when you've played well with others in the past so you can bring it up to put them at ease.
Show that friends won't distract you from being a good student. If you want your parents to let you have a sleepover, then it's not a bad week to bring home some As. Show your parents that you're a good student, that you're focused on your work, and that you won't be distracted by a few friends. Having friendships is healthy and important to your development, and you should show your folks that you have the whole balance between work and play under control.
If your grades aren't so hot, your parents can use that as an excuse to keep you from having a sleepover. Work to be a good student and improve your grades to show them that you have things under control and they'll be more likely to say yes to you. Not everyone is meant to be at the head of the class, but doing your best is important.
Help out around the house. Another way to persuade your parents to let you have a sleepover is to be extra helpful around the house. You should not only do your chores, but go above and beyond to make sure that everything is spic and span. Do the laundry, make your parents’ beds, and even offer to cook dinner or to pick it up, if you can. You can even vacuum, dust, or do some of those other less than pleasant tasks that your parents are always doing. Your parents will see that you're really responsible and will be impressed.
Of course, you shouldn't help out only so that your parents let you have a sleepover. Demonstrating responsibility can help you grow as a person.
Follow your parents’ rules. This may sound obvious, but many kids are surprised when their parents say no to them even after they've had a string of bad behavior. If your parents tell you to come home at a certain time, don't overstep your boundaries. If they tell you to help your little sister, don't ignore them. If they ask you to get up for school, don't complain in bed for an extra ten minutes. The more you listen to what they say, the more they'll be likely to listen to you when you ask then if you can have a sleepover.
If you disobey your parents, then they'll have something to point to when they explain why you can't have a sleepover. It's better to obey them so you can point to positive behavior to support your case.
Be a good host when your family has guests. If your family has guests, whether it's your cousins or your parents’ childhood friends, act like a good host by taking their coats, bringing them food, and showing them where everything is. Let your parents see that you'll be a great host when the time comes for your friends to sleep over!
Be kind to your siblings. Another way to show your parents that you're responsible enough to have a sleepover is to treat your siblings fairly and kindly when you have the chance. Whether you have a pesky younger sister or a jokester for an older brother, you should do your best to be nice to them as much as you can. Help them out when they need it, don't tattle on them if they haven't really done anything, and work on being a good sport and a good sibling.
If you're respectful to your siblings, then your parents may see that you've earned the responsibility of having a sleepover.