Thursday, 26 January 2017

How to use a sleep training clock for an early rising child

A sleep training clock is a very simple invention, but remarkably effective. It is a way of helping a toddler understand the difference between night and day, and helping them to stay in their bed until morning. There are various sleep training clocks on the market, but they all feature some kind of device which tells the child when it is time to get up. This might be a picture on the front that changes, or some kind of coloured light signal.

You can achieve the same effect more cheaply with a lamp or some fairy lights on a timer switch, but buying a clock especially for the child makes it seem much more special. Some of the clocks also come with a bedtime story book which can help a child to understand the concept behind it.

If you have an early riser, it's very tempting to set the clock for your preferred wake up time one morning (perhaps 7am or so) and assume that they will just stay in their bed until that time. Unfortunately you need to put in a bit more work than that. We had a lot of success with our sleep training clock, so here are some tips to help it work for you.

  • Your child needs to be old enough to understand the concept. Certainly at least 2 years old, and probably a little older.

  • Use the clock in conjunction with a bedtime routine that is already in place, for example bath, milk, teeth, story and bed.

  • The clock may have a demo mode. Use this to role play with your child during the day - let them pretend to go to sleep, then get them up when the clock signals that it's morning, then back to sleep again when it's 'night time'.

  • Begin by setting the clock for a time before your child usually wakes. Then you may like to reward your child, perhaps with a sticker, because they have stayed in bed until morning.

  • Move the time forward on the clock very slowly, perhaps by just a minute or two each day or five minutes each week.

  • If your child wakes or gets out of bed before morning, return them to bed and keep re-inforcing with them that they should stay in their bed until the sun comes up.

After buying a sleep training clock, our early mornings went from 5.10am until 6.30am, sometimes later. If you are struggling with an early riser I would really recommend one, and good luck!

We used a Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer , which we liked because it came with a bedtime story book. You can read the story to your child, and when you reach the appropriate moment your child can press a button to put the sun to sleep. There are also lots of different sleep training clocks which work in a similar way and you might want to consider to match the interests of your child - here are a couple of different ones:


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