We’ve been having trouble with some early wake ups over the last three months (see my earlier post sleep deprivation is a form of torture). Anyone with kids will know they go in phases and once they get into a habit it’s difficult to break it. They were waking up earlier and earlier every day, but with a firm hand and the help of the GroClock, I’m pleased to say I’m now getting a reasonable amount of sleep again!
Over Christmas, as Husband didn’t need to get up at 5am to go to work, we started telling the boys they couldn’t get up because it was still night-time. I was hopeless at sounding serious enough to get them to listen, so Husband took over and I was shocked to see they got straight back in bed (with only a little whimper), and then went back to sleep! They still got up screaming around 5.45am/6am but that was loads better than before Christmas when there would sometimes be a number 4 in the front of their wake up time.
Then they received a GroClock from their grandparents (which I’d asked for after hearing lots about it) for Christmas. If you haven’t heard of it before it’s a clock that aids sleep training. Through the night it glows blue and shows the stars, and as time passes the stars go out until the sun comes out and shows them it’s time to get up.
We started using it immediately. The first day we read the story book together that comes with the clock. The story reinforces the idea that night is for sleeping and daytime is for playing. I also made a big fuss of their ‘special clock’ and got them excited about it.
The first night they were excited to see the stars on the clock. We’d set the wake up for 6.15am. They woke up about 5.50am (which was already a big improvement on their pre-Christmas wake up time) and I went into their room and asked if the sun was out. It wasn’t. I told them they had to wait as it was still night. We sat together and watched it for a few minutes until the sun came out and then I gave them both cuddles and told them how clever they were waiting for the sun.
After a couple of days I moved the clock back to 6.30am. They woke at 6.15am and I told them to get back in bed to wait for the sun. To my surprise they did! At 6.30, when the sun came out, T2 started shouting “mummy, the sun says it’s time to wake up” over and over again.
Then I moved it back to 7am. The first day of this T1 woke up crying at 6.45am and refused to get back into bed. I sat with him watching the clock until it changed. T2 stayed asleep until about 7.05 for the first time in months.
The following morning they both slept until 7.10am and woke me with cries of “mummy, the sun says it’s time to wake up”. I made a big fuss of them and told them how proud I was of them.
Since then it has gone down hill a bit – T1 now wakes around 6.30 and then he wakes up T2 no matter what I do. But they both stay in their room chatting until the sun arrives. Sometimes they’ll shout to me, but I just shout back “has the sun come out to play yet?” to which they say no and then carry on playing for a while longer.
It was really a combined effort of the GroClock, a firm hand (refusing to let them up when they demanded) and reinforcement about how clever they were being by waiting for the sun. I guess with a singleton it might be possible to break this sort of habit by telling them to stay in bed, but with two awake and crying I found that didn’t work for us. For me, the GroClock has been a great investment. They may not be sleeping until 7am every day but I can handle 6.30am wake ups if they’re willing to stay in their room playing (while I enjoy a relatively peaceful coffee).
Anyway, the habit is broken so there is no need to sell them on eBay as I suggested in an earlier post. Now I can wait for the next sleep phase to kick in. I hoping the next one involves them sleeping in until 10am.
This isn’t a sponsored post, it is entirely my own opinion and I didn’t receive anything in return for writing this.