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Parenting

Parents are opting for this sleepover alternative when kids aren't ready for the real thing

There are many reasons why parents might have a "no sleepover rule." But that doesn't mean kids can't create memorable childhood moments with friends.

sleepover, nosleepover rule, sleepunder
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For kids who get separation anxiety, sleepunder might be a great alternative.

Sleepovers are a subject that parents and even experts can’t seem to agree on.

On the one hand, they are seen as opportunities for children to develop independence away from home and create core memories with friends—all the while giving parents some possible quiet time.

On the other hand, the “no sleepover rule” is becoming increasingly popular, as the boundary helps to avoid separation anxiety or thrusting kids into potentially risky, even dangerous environments.

But for parents who want the best of both worlds…the “sleepunder” might be the perfect solution.


So, what exactly is a sleepunder?

sleepunder

Sleepunders are sleepover without actually sleeping over.

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Essentially, a sleepunder, aka “lateover,” is a sleepover, minus actually sleeping over. Kids can still show up in their pajamas, eat snacks, watch movies and play games, all those fun sleepover activities…only when it’s time to go to sleep, parents will pick the kids up so that they can sleep in their own bed at home.

Have to admit—hearing this option immediately puts 10-year-old me, an introverted only child who considered sleeping in a bed that wasn’t my own to be torture, at ease.

According to Erica Komisar, a New York-based psychoanalyst, parenting expert and author, this feeling that I had is certainly not unique.


"Some kids can do sleepovers without any hesitation, while others are less comfortable changing their routine," she told Fox News, saying that sleepunders are a great way of addressing this very real sensitivity that some kids experience in a way that doesn’t compromise having fun or bonding in groups.

kids, parenting

Sleepunders can be a great way to transition into actual sleepovers.

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While interviewing with Good Morning America, parenting expert Erika Souter added that sleepunders could be a “great option for parents who don’t culturally understand or agree with the idea of a sleepover.”

“For a lot of people it’s something that they never did or their parents didn't let them do so this is a really good compromise,” she said.

So, in essence, sleepunders could be a great solution to easing both a kid’s and their parent’s potential anxiety.

So, in essence, sleepunders could be a great solution to easing both a kid’s and their parent’s potential anxiety.

As for how to establish a sleepunder routine, Pattie Fitzgerald, founder of Safely Ever After, Inc., has some tips that she provided to Motherly, and a lot of her advice boils down to being firm and clear in your plan, both to other parents, and your child.

Perhaps most importantly, Fitzgerald encourages parents to create a family “safe word,” just in case their child might feel uncomfortable and want to leave early. This is a way to clearly communicate without potentially causing embarrassment.

Parenting is a constant balancing act between protecting kids and allowing them freedom to explore. Sleepunders might not work for everyone, but it’s a great example of creative solutions to striking that balance.

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