My five year old was recently invited to his first "sleep under" party. No, a sleep under is not a cool new co-sleeping device for babies, it's a pajama party for kids not quite old enough to handle a sleep OVER. Kids get to feel "big" and parents can take advantage of the timing to actually go out for a grown up dinner! Wondering how to pull off this cute theme? Encourage kids to come to the party in their pajamas and bring a favorite stuffed animal or blankie to keep them company. Pretend it's a real sleepover, serve dinner, plan a craft or entertainment and watch a movie (with popcorn of course) on the floor. Have the kids lie around on blankets or sleeping bags. After the movie, serve cake and send the guests home to their own cozy beds by bedtime.
Party favors can play off the night time theme. Mini flashlights, tie-dyed or self-decorated pillow cases, or small stuffed animals all make excellent favors for this theme. Keep in mind that tired, excited kids are a little harder to handle than well-rested, excited kids. When you combine the late hour (well, late for kids) and the excitement of something so different (playing with your friends in your pajamas) the same kids you've seen playing nicely at other birthday parties may be a little over-excited and harder to control. Consider cutting your guest list down from normal numbers and plan extra activities, crafts or entertainment. Because of the unusual hour some kids may also be a little clingier than usual. Make sure to have plenty of food on hand for parents who find that they need to stick around. Entertainment for the party can be a singer to lead a night time sing a long, a storyteller for slightly scary stories, a face painter or balloon artist. If it's an all-girls pajama party consider hiring local teens to do mini manicures and hair styles, just like at a real teenager's slumber party.
What do you think? Have you ever hosted a sleep under? How old do you think is the right age for a real sleepover?