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
Perseverence is the key!
Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer
Member Name: WoozleWife
Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer
Date: 25/01/12, updated on 25/01/12 (40 review reads)
Advantages: Once your child has mastered it - you have some peace for a few more hours a night!
Disadvantages: Mains powered - so you have to faff to set it up each time if you take it away with you.
I am a non wicked stepmother, my stepson is four and has had a Gro-Clock for about a year now, however I was only aware of it's existence several months ago. I wish I had known of it sooner!
The premise of the Gro-Clock is thus:
Young children often wake up at stupid o'clock and wish to play, watch TV, annex Poland etc while all you want to do is sleep till at least 7am (at least on the weekends). Young children cannot tell the time until they are about 4 or 5, meaning you are destined to be sleep deprived for a hefty chunk of your life, especially if you have more than one child..... but are you????
The Gro-Clock (made by the same people who make Gro-Bags) offers a simple way to get children to understand the concept of night time and morning time. It comes with a story book to help explain the concept to children (although that book resides at the home of my stepson and I've never seen it so cannot comment on it's usefulness). It is mains powered, has two brightness settings (and a no light setting), and has the ability to store two 'morning' times - so for instance if you want to have one time for week days and one time for weekends or if your children are young enough to be having regular naps in the daytime, a time for wake up from nap time. It has a yellow sun for morning and a blue star (or moon depending on what model you have) with stars around the edge for night time. As time passes the stars gradually go out one by one, which allows the child to see if they have woken in the middle of the night or fairly close to morning. It also has the option to show a digital clock time, so when they get older and start telling time, this option can be used too.
It has three buttons on the front of the unit, if you know the secret combination to work it (if you are like me and only get to use it every so often without the instructions!) then you can set the time and when it's time for bed, you turn it to night time. There is supposed to be a child lock on the buttons - but not having seen the instructions I am not sure if this is more a case of just pressing certain buttons several times in order to get into the settings to change things, but a word to the wise - if you have a cheeky child who REALLY doesn't like getting up at 7am and would rather divebomb you in bed at 5:30am yelling 'Morningtime!' - put this clock out of their reach as our cheeky chappie knows that he only has to press a button several times to make the sun come up far too early, and then copiously denies having this secret knowledge when questioned.
As the title says - Perseverence is key! At home our stepson's Mum said she thought it was easier to just let him get up whenever he wanted (not entirely sure I understand why a single working mother would be OK with having a 3 year old waking her up to play at 4:30am every morning but there you go). So for a long time the clock wasn't really being used for it's full potential, he was pressing buttons on it, making it morning at whatever time he liked and not being encouraged to stay in bed until it was actually morning.
However things were about to change...
We have him over to stay every other weekend and often take him away for a few days to see his grandparents on my side and on his Dad's side who live at opposite ends of Wales. Before the Gro-Clock came on the scene we would have such a job trying to persuade him to stay in bed at all hours of the night while trying not to wake up everyone in the house. Then last year we had the Gro-Clock with us and we used it. My husband often frets thinking that if his son wakes up at stupid o'clock that we are somehow infringing on his human rights to make him wait till 6:30am/7am to get up, so it took some time to actually get my husband to use the clock properly too. However on the second night I heard him wake up, get up, look at the clock and then go back to bed.... the third night was the same. The fourth night we were back at our house and he fiddled with the clock and proceeded to yell at the bedroom door at 5am until we came out all puzzled and wondering why the clock wasn't working. It was, but idle hands were at work!
Since then, whenever he stays here we put the clock out of his reach and he waits for the sun to come up before quietly (and I have to say this is amazing that the yelling and shouting has also stopped) coming to our bedroom door to let us know it is morning time. He has also started to do this at home with Mummy - who is most surprised.
Now to convince my husband to set the clock a little later on weekends, best done gradually, say by 5mins over a period of time.
Some people have given up with the Gro-Clock after only using it for a short time, but I think that if you value sleep you should keep at it. It does work. We coupled using this with giving him stickers for his reward chart while he was learning to use it so that if he stayed in bed till morning time he would get a sticker with lots of praise.
The unit itself costs around £40 if bought directly from the company, but can be bought for about £25 or less from Amazon. I would recommend any parent to buy one of these - but don't leave it too late, I've heard of parents using them with children as young as 18 months. The sooner you can encourage them to understand about night time and morning time the better for everyone involved. And even if they dont grasp it fully at 18 months, you've still got plenty of time to try it out and use it until they do get it.
1. If you buy it - hunt out the best price as it can be a bit dear.
2. Put it out of reach of tinkering fingers!
3. Adjust the brightness of the display to suit your child.
4. Start off slowly, if your child usually wakes up at 5am, initially set morning time for 5am, then gradually set the clock later and later until you reach the time you feel you want your child to be getting up.
5. When your child is learning to use it properly, make a big song and dance out of them getting it right, positive reinforcement really helps!
6. Keep using it, once they can tell the time, use it on the clock setting and make the most of the clock.
I would say the only downside to this is that it is mains powered and doesn't have a battery back up. As we share the Gro-Clock with Mummy, it is being unplugged each time and each time we have to set it up all over again which is a pain. This has prompted us to buy our own.
But all in all this is a brilliant teaching aid to encourage children to learn about time in the early stages leading up to being able to tell the time properly. Helps to encourage early risers to stay in bed (or at least in their rooms) until a suitable hour.
Summary: An excellent product which benefits the whole family and can be used for years!
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