Ask a group of fathers with young children what they miss most about life before kids and chances are almost every single one will tell you they miss sleep! Little kids are notorious for waking up early and leaving their parents feeling exhausted. Chances are, if you’ve found this post, you might be a sleep-deprived Dad, too. If your child has been waking you up way too early, the Gro-clock might just be what you need to get a little more sleep. Gro-clock is an easy solution for teaching your child to stay in bed later in the mornings, it’s kind of like a reverse alarm clock for little kids – rather than waking them up, it tells them to go back to sleep.
What you get
Included in the Gro-clock box is the clock itself, an instruction manual and a picture book called Sleepy Farm. The clock is very simple to look at – round and white with a screen that changes from a sunburst to stars and can display a digital clock or not, based on your setting preferences.
The instructions are very important to keep, this clock is not the easiest thing to set the first few times, and even once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to have the instructions around in case the kid unplugs the clock when Grandma is watching them. The book that comes with the Gro-clock is a great addition. It tells the story of a pig who isn’t sleeping enough and is grumpy with all his farm animal friends. The other animals buy him a Gro-clock that teaches him to sleep later and they all live happily ever after.
How to use it
The basic procedure for using the Gro-clock is as follows. First, you set the time you want your child to get up in the morning. Before bed, you read the Sleepy Farm book, then you set the clock to go to sleep. The display changes over from the sunburst and a yellow background to a blue backlight with one large star in the middle and 12 little stars around the edges. As the night wears on, the smaller stars fade away until the set wakeup time when the display turns back to the yellow sunburst with a little dance.
This clock is a great way to get kids to sleep in. It’s simple to use, once you’ve set the times. The backlight’s brightness can be adjusted or you can even turn the backlight off. This is especially handy for kids who are extra sensitive to light while they sleep. If by chance your kid sleeps past the change from stars to sun, the change in light on the brightest setting might just wake them up. The story and the cute faces on the Gro-clock make it fun for kids, it’s a good way to get them excited about sleeping! The stars fading throughout the night gives kids a good visual if they wake up during sleep-time, they can see that there are a lot left and they have a lot of sleeping to do, or that there are only one or two stars left and it’s almost time to get up. There’s a second wakeup time you can set for naptime or a different morning wakeup time on the weekends. But the biggest pro of all is that with your kids sleeping in a bit, you get to sleep in, too!
As mentioned, it’s a little difficult to set the times to begin with, but once you figure out the buttons, it gets easier! One other small complaint is that the clock only runs on the AC power adapter, there is no battery compartment, and depending on your situation, that might not be a problem at all.
Couple of quick tips. Teach your kid to set the clock as part of the bedtime routine, it will give them some ownership of the process and be one less thing you have to do! If your child doesn’t nap anymore, you can still use the nap wakeup time! For kids who don’t nap, it’s a good idea to have a little quiet time each day, this is really easy to do with the Gro-clock. Set the “wakeup” time for however long you want their quiet time to be, give them some books or a quiet toy and they can spend some time in their room, get a break to refresh and give you a break to boot. The best tip is to take get to the new wakeup time gradually. If your child has been waking you up at 5 am every day and you want to extend their sleep to 7, you’ll want to start small. Setting the wakeup time for 5:15 the first morning and then making it 15 minutes later every couple of days will give your child time to adjust to the new systems and feel some success. You can download the reward chart to mark the days that your child stays in bed and start a reward system to encourage them further.