Author Topic: Gro-Clock / Lights on a timer: What, Why, When and How  (Read 3169 times)

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Offline cath~

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Gro-Clock / Lights on a timer: What, Why, When and How
« on: June 08, 2013, 18:55:35 pm »
What?
Many parents introduce a Gro clock, lights-on-a-timer, or similar, which come on at a set time each morning, and teach their LO that they cannot get up before that time.

Why?
This can help with EWs as it can encourage the LO to go back to sleep.

It can help with clock changes and, if a LO's routine has shifted earlier, it can help in moving it back to a later WU.

It can also encourage a LO to play quietly/doze a bit on their own until their parents are ready to get up!

It provides a consistent start time to their day which can be good for planning and regulating sleep.

When?
Around 18-24 months, or slightly later, is a good time to introduce this as by that age LOs are old enough to 'get' or understand what you are teaching them, and they can also have or learn the self-control to stay in bed until the lights/sun come on.

Some parents wait until later to introduce this idea but if you wait until much later (e.g. 3 yrs+) the LO can be more resistant to it and it can be harder to introduce.

However, once introduced successfully, many parents report that it continues working well even to age 5...

How?
The key really is consistency.  You have to be 100% consistent for the LO to accept that they really do not get up until the lights/sun come on.

Start by explaining the idea the day before, i.e. that LO can't get up until the sun/lights.  It is good to explain it in a positive way, e.g. that it is to help make sure LO gets enough sleep to grow and have lots of energy to enjoy the next day. The Gro Clock also comes with a story book ("Sleepy Farm") which can help to explain and reinforce the idea when you are introducing it.

If you have a Gro Clock, make a big deal of saying 'Good night!' to the sun at BT.

The first night, set the lights/clock to come on at around the LO's usual WU time or 5-10 mins later (don't be too ambitious to start with).  Then, the next morning, do not get your LO up until that time.

If your LO wakes before then and wants to get up, you could call or go in to them and remind them that they stay in bed until the lights/sun.

If your LO continues to protest or gets upset, you should treat it as a NW and use your usual settling technique, for example WIWO, calling to them that it is still sleepy time, or staying with them if that is how you deal with NWs.  Keep doing this as necessary until the lights/sun come on.

When the lights/sun do come on, make a big deal out of this.  E.g. say very cheerily something like "The sun/lights are on! It's morning! We can get up now!"

Repeat this every morning as necessary and keep moving (e.g. every day or every few days) the time the sun/lights come on later until you reach your desired WU time.

At night time the Gro Clock's standard setting is a blue glow but some LOs find this a bit bright so you could set the light at 'zero' with no light at all at night time.

Bear in mind that if your LO was getting enough sleep before you try to move their WU later that you may well have to adjust their routine a bit to compensate and to keep being able to move WU later.  You can always post in Sleeping For Toddlers if you need more specific help with this.

There is also a support thread at the top of the Sleeping For Toddlers board for sharing advice/support about introducing this.

Good luck!
DD1 - 8 years old
DD2 - 5 years old