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05Sep 13

No numbers here! A child’s alarm clock that teaches night and day

It’s no secret that children’s sleep schedules are very different from their parents’. Generally, little ones go to bed and wake up earlier than adults, sleeping anywhere from 10 to 12 hours a night, depending on the child’s age and sleep habits. When our daughter Hannah was a newborn, she sure slept a lot, clocking in 20 hours of shut-eye a day sometimes!

Young children also wake up more often during the night as they transition between REM sleep and non-REM sleep stages. Adults wake up too during these transitions, but we wake up and fall asleep again so fast that we rarely remember doing it. Babies and toddlers are still learning, so many times they have trouble soothing themselves back to sleep like adults can. Unfortunately for us tired adults, when the little one is up, so are the parents.

Child's Alarm Clock

Child’s Alarm Clock

Child’s Alarm Clock

For children who wake early, night and day have little bearing on their decision to get up and be active. The same is true for Hannah, who has lately been waking up around four or five in the morning. She recently switched from a crib to a toddler bed, so when she wakes up, she simply jumps out of the nursery and heads for our bedroom, wanting to play.

We are now trying to teach her the difference between night and day, mainly that playtime doesn’t begin until the sun has risen. One of the best tools we’ve used to do this is a child’s alarm clock called the Gro Clock from the Baby Sleep Shop. The face of the clock hasn’t got any numbers, but an adorable smiling moon, sun, or stars, and they change depending on the time of day and how you set it.

Gro Clock

It’s very important to establish healthy sleep patterns while children are young, as well as teach the importance between playtime and bedtime. The clock does just that. Its face begins the night with a large star surrounded by smaller ones. As the night wears on, the smallers stars disappear one by one, so if your child wakes up in the middle of the night, they can see how much of the night there is left to go. You can even programme the clock for nap time or have a seperate weekend schedule so that parents and children can lie in.

It’s slowly but surely working out for Hannah, who is staying in bed more and more until the appropriate time. For us, we are now able to sleep those few extra hours in the morning that we’ve been missing for years. It feels good!

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