Product Type: The Gro Company furniture
Newest Review: ... the display turns blue with a large star in the middle and little stars around the edge. Each hour, until the time you have set the clock t... more
The light at the end of the tunnel for shattered parents!
Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer
Member Name: deedee610
Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer
Advantages: It does work (for many); doubles as a night light; teaches children about passing time
Disadvantages: Has to be plugged into the mains (no battery); not self-explanatory to use;doesn't work for everyone
WHAT IT DOES? In a nutshell, it provides a visual aid to toddlers, letting them know whether it's still sleep-time or whether it's okay to start acting like a loon and wake up everyone else in the house.
FUNCTIONS: Glowing screen shows images of stars and sun to communicate sleep and wake up time
Stars go out one by one during the night to show the passing of time
Key lock option
Adjustable screen brightness
Option to set two different wake-up times - night time and day time nap modes
MY EXPERIENCE: Everyone knows babies give you sleepless nights - what nobody tells you before you have a kid (and, oh, how I wish that they had!) is that whilst they will, eventually, sleep through, they can still randomly wake up at 4am and decide it's time to play. Worse still, some parents suffer the indignity of being woken up at 5.30 am with the sort of timely reliability First Capital Connect has yet to establish. Personally, I don't actually have it bad - my 2 year old tends to wake any time between 7.30 and 8am - but you become greedy. You want more time in bed before you have to start building Lego blocks, peeling Playdoh off the walls and pretending to find Peppa Pig scintillating. So, with this in mind, I thought I'd try out the Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer. After all, I reasoned, toddlers are, basically, a bit like puppies - and if you can train dogs to fetch your slippers and a paper, surely you can train a 2 year old to keep it down until the sun comes up.
So, does it work? Well, yes - it did work for us. My daughter now loves saying goodnight to 'Mr. Sun' and knows 'Mr. Star' is looking over her when she's asleep - and when Mr. Sun reappears, it's up-time. She now tends to play quietly in her cot until the sun comes up, and then calls to us to let us know he's there. It's bought us a little more time of a morning and, for that, we're thankful. I did use it for afternoon naps a few times but just found it wasn't worth it for then.
HOW TO USE IT: Whether you're using it for a child who wakes up regularly at 5am, or just to have 15 more minutes of a morning, I would advise starting off slowly and building up. The clock comes with a lovely little story book that helps introduce the concept to your child. After one read, my little girl understood what the sun and star symbols meant. When it comes to implementing it in practise, don't be too ambitious. I would advise setting the sun to come up 5 mins after your child normally wakes - so, if that is 5am, they will wake and not have too long to wait before the sun comes up. Then, when they call you, lots of praise. Alternatively, if they wake earlier and are getting fractious, sit in the room with them and remind them they have to wait for the sun. If it seems to be dragging on and you can stand no more, you can press a button to make the sun come up. It won't take long before they get the idea. Don't get them up before the sun appears though.
Once your toddler has caught onto what the star and sun represent, you can then start setting the wake-up time a little later each day until you achieve your desired wake-up time. Hopefully, if your child just hasn't learned to self-settle (and this is why they wake early), this will soon help them. Some parents who already have decent sleepers may simply want to add an extra 10-15 mins just of a weekend. Another tip is lots of toys in the cot. Sometimes I hear my little girl wake up a good half hour before the sun comes up, but she plays happily by herself. It's really helped me when I'm getting ready for work, as it buys me that bit more time to have a shower etc before I go in and get her.
I have friends whose lives have been changed (for the better) by this clock. Other people haven't had such a great result - but maybe they didn't persevere enough.
FUNCTIONALITY OF THE CLOCK: It's not the sort of thing you could work out how to use without instructions. You use one button to scroll through modes and it can be a bit faffy at times. You can also adjust the brightness of the display - and the clock also doubles as a nice little night light. It also has a child lock for those people who need to keep it within reach of little hands! My main gripe with the clock is that it has to be plugged in (there is no battery option). It will save its settings for 3 hours if unplugged - however, I feel they're missing a trick here by not allowing it to work on batteries too.
CONCLUSION: I've realised that toddlers are always going to wake up early and we can't expect them to wait around for hours - however, this device is certainly useful for re-setting an errant body clock (after all 5am is never acceptable) or buying a bit more time beyond their normal waking.
Summary: Worth a go if you have an early riser - after all, you have nothing to lose
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