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Instead of a Sleepover, Try a Sleepunder

It was just eight seconds long, but a recent viral video on TikTok and Instagram  sparked a parenting debate over “unpopular parenting decisions.” Social media influencer and mother of two, Tara Huck, opened the flood gates when she proclaimed, “I don’t allow sleepovers.”

As a parent with a “no sleepover rule” myself, I decided to pose the question to the panel of local moms I assemble every week for “Maggie and the Moms,” the parenting segment on WFLA/News Channel 8’s Daytime lifestyle show. While my fellow moms were not exactly gung-ho about their children spending the night away from home, they all agreed that they would allow it—but only when their kids are old enough and only at the home of a family member or close friend.

Panelist Natassja Prose, who blogs about parenting on Prose and Company, piqued our interest with a suggestion none of us had heard before: What about a sleepunder? We all loved the idea and thought every mom should know about it, so we asked Natassja to share all the details.

What is a sleepunder?

A great alternative to the traditional sleepover, but no one actually spends the night. All the fun, from sharing dinner together to playing games in pajamas.

Why is it a good alternative to a sleepover?

It’s great because they can enjoy all the same activities together and there’s an end time. No need to worry about how they’re doing in the middle of the night. Plus, a big bonus, they aren’t staying up until late and coming home super cranky the next day!

What kinds of activities do you suggest?

We’ve made pizzas or a special dessert. Then the kids change into pajamas and either play games or watch a movie together.

What is a typical sleepunder schedule for your family?

  • 6 p.m.: Arrival and play time
  • 7 p.m.: Time to make pizzas or have dinner delivered
  • 8 p.m.: PJ time
  • 8:30 p.m.: Pick a game or a movie
  • 9 p.m.: Dessert or special popcorn mix-ins (think M&Ms with popcorn or special seasonings)
  • 10-11 p.m.: Depending on the age, it’s time to head home after the movie/games

Your #1 tip for a successful sleepunder:

The key is to make it a special night so they don’t even remember there’s no “sleeping over” happening! I’ve been known to even pick up a special new toothbrush for my kiddos or even our guest if it’s at our house!

*Photos by Natassja Prose | Originally Published in January 2022 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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Maggie Rodriguez
Maggie Rodriguez
Maggie Rodriguez co-hosts the nationally-syndicated lifestyle show, Daytime on WFLA, Channel 8. She recently returned to tv after taking a 10-year break to raise her two children. During her career, Maggie reported and anchored the news in Miami, Los Angeles, and at the network level in New York as the host of The Early Show on CBS. She now lives in South Tampa, which she calls the perfect place to raise a family.

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