Co-sleeping, sleep training, naps, no naps, good sleeper, bad sleeper... we talk about it all the time as parents, it's a hot topic!
Sleep is one of the most important things for your little ones, but more selfishly how important it is for us! Some are lucky and it's a breeze whilst for others it can be a rollercoaster of emotions and an ongoing battle. Finn has always been a relatively good sleeper (following some control crying/ sleep training at 5 months old to get him to sleep through the night, I can recommend the 3 Day Nanny Book). However, he has always been a relatively early riser - I'm talking an unpredictable rise time of anywhere between 5am and 6.00am or 6.30am if we are very very lucky. With baby 2 on the way we wanted to try and crack the early morning rising and a lot of people have mentioned or recommended the Gro Clock. He's at a good age now to understand it so we thought we would test it out. Here is our review...
What is it?
The grow clock is a sleep trainer clock designed to get your child to sleep in and stay in bed longer if they are an early riser. It helps children who are too young to read an ordinary clock, develop their understanding of day, night and when it's time to get up, basically giving parents some extra time in bed! Bonus!
What age can you use it from?
They say it's suitable from 2 years old but I know some people have used it earlier with success. We started using it about 6 weeks ago when Finn was just over 2.5 years old and it seemed to be a good age as he seems to understand things a bit more.
How does it work?
It uses the moon and sun images on the display screen to let your child know when they are supposed to be in bed and when they are allowed to get up. During the night the display glows as a blue screen (that also acts as a nightlight) with stars disappearing one by one to show the passing of time. When it's time to get up, (depending on when you have set it to) a smiling sun appears and the screen turns yellow.
The best thing to do is to build up the time they wake up to gradually. So for example if your child normally wakes at 5.30am set it to 5.45am for a couple of days, then 6am for a couple of days then 6.15am etc
The clock we ordered comes with a book that tells a story about some farm animals sleep patterns and the end of the book is all about waiting for the sun to appear before getting up. This is good for getting them to understand it and what the clock is there for.
When your little one gets into bed and you turn off the light remind them 'wait for the sun to appear' before you can make noise and get out of bed. Keep re-iterating 'Stay in bed until you see the sun'. Finn now knows this part off by heart.
Did it work?
When we first got the clock Finn was so excited about having his own clock and seemed really on board with 'waiting for the sun'. The first day we used it he woke at 7am miraculously (even though we set it for 6.30am), the second day he woke at 6.30am (we had set it to 6.45am) and he started shouting 'mummy', I went in and told him he had to be quiet until the sun appeared. 5 minutes later more shouting and more telling him he has to wait to be quiet again. Then a couple of weeks of illness meaning his wake time was very erratic and if he wasn't well we had to go in there to check his temperature.
I had been told to be persistent and consistent and that it can take time and I have to say 6 weeks on it has been good and in general he is waking up most days at 6.45am and staying quiet until 7am. Giving a reward for days where he has slept or stayed quiet until the sun appears has also been a good technique. Eventually I will do a chart as he is getting a small chocolate every day which is not great for his teeth along with advent calendar chocolates on top!
In general I would say that it has helped him understand night and day and that he has started sleeping longer more consistently. I feel it has worked and helped, it's just when he is ill that his sleep goes back to being quite bad.
If it works you get more sleep! Woo hoo!
I personally found it a bit fiddly, having to refer to the instructions quite a bit. It takes a while to get used to setting it and you have to remember to set it in the room every night and lock the screen so they can't change it.
It does act as a night light - fine for us but I know some kids love a pitch black room
It's not the most attractive looking thing and needs to be plugged in so you need to have a plug in the right place for the child to see it. If it gets unplugged you need to re-set the whole thing which can be annoying.
Would we recommend?
Yes I would definitely recommend you try this clock if you suffer with an early riser! It may not work straight away but I do think its a good technique to develop your childs understanding of day and night and if it does work wow that extra half hour or hour in bed makes all the difference doesn't it!
I would love to hear how you have found the clock if you have used it and what success you've had or any techniques or tips for getting your child to sleep longer. zzzzzzzz