I’ve always found the word ‘sleepover‘ to be misleading. When you put several hyped-up kids in a bedroom together and turn off the light, it’s wildly optimistic to expect they’ll actually settle down and go to sleep.
From what I remember of sleepovers, there was always way too much pressing business to be attended to before the fatigue settled in. There were lollies to eat. Secrets to whisper. Pillows to be thrown. Rounds of Truth or Dare to partake in.
Sleep? Waaaaay down the end of the priorities list – just like the sleep and sanity of the host’s mum and dad.
This lack of rest explains why those same hyperactive kids that take over your house morph into grumpy, listless zombies by the time their parents arrive for the pickup the next day. Cranky kids, exhausted parents… It makes you wonder who exactly benefits from the sleepover arrangement.
However, it seems some parents have gone and struck a sleepover compromise. It’s called the sleepunder – also known as the un-slumber party. Curious as to how it works? As The Inquirer‘s Lini S. Kabada reports:
The idea is simple enough: Children do everything they might at a sleepover, down to changing into PJs. But instead of staying the night, they return home to sleep snug in their own beds, and wake up the following day, presumably rested and un-cranky.
“It’s much easier on the parents,” allows Megan Gorman, whose daughter, Evie, 11, has favored half sleepovers, as the family calls them, in recent years. “It allows them to get a little more sleep.” And that, Gorman adds, makes life so much more pleasant the next day, when schedules are often jammed with activities.
I can see why sleepunders seem like a good idea. Everyone gets what they came for, and everyone (including mum and dad) gets their eight hours. Many parents also see it as a better option for younger children who aren’t quite ready to spend a night away from home, which is understandable.
Plus, if kids don’t actually sleep at sleepovers anyway, isn’t this just a logical way of fast-forwarding the process?
However, leaving before bedtime eliminates all the really fun parts of a sleepover. One parent quoted by The Inquirer half-joked that “Nothing good happens after 11 p.m” – but really, that’s when all the good stuff begins. The thrill of being up past your bedtime, with your closest mates, your comfiest jammies and the secrecy afforded by a closed door creates priceless friendship-strengthening moments. There are conversations you have by torchlight at 3am as a 10-year-old that just can’t be replicated at a more civil hour. Plus, it’s fun waking up in another person’s house and seeing how their family goes about their mornings.
So parents, please – don’t put the sleepover to bed.
Do you let your kids have sleepovers?