What Is a Sleep Under? And How to Host Your Own

I grew up under very strict sleepover rules—when my friends threw sleepovers, I often was picked up before bedtime while other kids stayed on for the whole overnight experience. I won’t lie: I hated this as a kid. Leaving before the end of the party made me feel like I was missing out on the best part of the experience.

As a parent, though? I get it: There are so many concerns that arise with sleepovers. With all the information we have access to today, it’s hard not to think about your child being sexually abused, finding a gun, or being bullied. These scenarios can, of course, play out during a regular play date as well, but when you let your child fall asleep in an unfamiliar place, they’re putting themselves in an incredibly vulnerable position.

Knowing what I know now, I don’t think I’ll allow my kids to spend the night anywhere (aside from a small selection of family members’ homes). The good news? It seems like many of my fellow millennial parents feel the same way—my kids presumably won’t be the only ones in their circle who aren’t allowed to spend the night at friends’ houses. And if sleepovers do still end up being a thing when they get a little older, I hope they won’t be the only kids getting picked up before bedtime.

What is a Sleep Under?

Luckily, this practice is gaining popularity, and today, it even has a name. Enter: The sleep under, or lateover, is an alternative to a traditional sleepover. What is a sleep under? It’s essentially a sleepover minus the sleep: You do all the classic sleepover stuff (pajamas, snacks, movies, etc.) until it’s time to actually turn out the lights and turn in for the night—at that point, everyone goes back to their own homes.

This is a much more comfortable arrangement for parents, who may be worried about their kids spending an entire night at someone’s house for a whole host of reasons. It’s also probably way less disruptive to a kid’s sleep cycle: Remember how exhausted and cranky you’d always find yourself the day after a sleepover?

Hosting a Sleep Under for Kids

It can be hard to really capture that spirit of a sleepover without actually allowing kids to spend the night at a friend’s house. But it is doable! If I were throwing a small sleep under or sleep under party for my own kids, here are a few things I’d keep in mind:

Bending the rules is part of the fun

Part of the magic of a sleepover is the lawlessness of it all. It’s thrilling to stay up late, to eat copious amounts of candy, and maybe even have popcorn for dinner. 

In the grand scheme of things, I see a late night and a lot of sugar as relatively benign. I’d rather my kids stay up past their bedtime and eat way too many Sour Patch Kids than allow them to spend the night somewhere. If I were throwing a sleep under or sending my kids to one, I’d probably let them depart from their usual routine (within reason, of course). Sleepovers are memorable as kids because you aren’t cut off in the middle of the fun, so I would probably encourage kids to get picked up as late as their parents are comfortable with (which, of course, is very age-dependent).

Consider making it a family affair

My kids are still little, but I’ll admit: Even the thought of dropping them off for a playdate and leaving makes me nervous. That’s why I would consider turning a sleep under into a chance for parents to socialize as well. I would allow the kids to occupy one room or area, watch their movies, and have their snacks, while the parents could all hang out in another part of the house with their own snacks and drinks. Again, this may only work when you have little kids, but I think it would be a fun way for parents to feel more comfortable allowing their kids to attend while also having a fun night themselves.

Tap into sleepover nostalgia

There’s something about a sleepover that feels so ‘90s. I think if I were to design a sleep-under setup, I’d really lean into the nostalgia factor of it all. I envision getting an old-school Caboodle and stashing it with fun beauty products, popping in a movie from my own childhood, and treating the kids to simple ‘90s-era snacks—we’re talking Doritos, Gushers, Dunkaroos. These snacks are things my kids never eat, but the novelty factor here is so fun. If I’m going to stand firm on my no sleepover stance, I’m going to budge in other areas so they can still feel like they’re doing something special.

Sleep Under Party Theme Ideas

Look, if you want to keep this sleep under super simple, that’s wonderful. But if you want to make it a whole thing? That’s fun, too. Of course, choosing a theme comes down to what your kid and their friends are into. But here are a few sleep under party theme ideas:

Spa Night

Kids give each other facials, do manicures, and put on gel eye patches for a night of pampered fun.

Taylor Swift Sleep Under

A Taylor Swift sleep under, where kids watch The Eras Tour movie, eat chicken fingers with “seemingly ranch,” apply Swiftie tattoos, and make friendship bracelets. (Psst, there’s a lot more Swiftie party inspo right here.)

Camp Out

Bring the outdoors inside by setting up tents, adding twinkle lights to mimic the stars, eating s’mores, and playing campfire games.

A Puppy Pajama Party

Depending on your little one’s puppy preference you could play one of the Paw Patrol movies or have a Bluey marathon. Sleep under guests can munch on Scooby-Doo graham crackers or puppy chow, dress up as their favorite characters, play themed games, etc.

A DIY Pajama Night

Get some fabric markers and some plain pajamas and allow kids to go to town and design their own sleepwear.

A Game Night

Grab a stash of age-appropriate games and let the kids play until pick-up time.

Regardless, pajamas are a must

Theme or no theme, there’s one thing that will really help kids feel like they’re experiencing a true sleepover even if they’re not: Pajamas. Encouraging all kids to come in their PJs provides that intimate feel of a sleepover—and the best part? It’ll make getting kids in bed easier for parents at the end of the night… which is key because they probably won’t be making it home on time for bedtime.

Source link: https://theeverymom.com/what-is-a-sleep-under/ by Kathy Sisson at theeverymom.com