Children waking too early in the morning is a problem for the whole family. When children don’t get enough sleep overnight, they will be grumpy during the day. And when parents get woken up too early....it is harder to cope with grizzly children! Unless you take action to teach your children to sleep in later in the morning, this vicious cycle can become a very firm habit.
Reasons for early waking & what to do about it
They have been asleep for long enough - for example their bedtime is 5-6pm, so they are ready to get up by 5-6am - Move their bedtime later, 7pm is perfect.
They are cold - Use a winter weight sleeping bag, add merino clothing or use a sleepsuit.
They are disturbed by inside or outside noises such as birds, dogs, traffic, parent getting up for work - Use white noise on repeat all night.
ALL children wake at around 5-5.30am as they move into the last sleep cycle of the night. They ‘sleep through’ till 7am when they have learned to go back to sleep at this time. Parental behaviour is usually what tells a child if it is morning or not (e.g. letting child in your bed) - Be consistent with your behaviour and use a sleep trainer clock!
How does a sleep trainer clock help?
Children don't know that time it is...they can’t tell the time from a regular clock and their body clock could be telling them it's morning at 5am!
A sleep trainer clock uses a simple visual change to show when it is ‘morning’ and therefore when your child is allowed out of bed.
Before this change happens, the clock shows it is still night time and therefore your child should be in bed asleep (or at least quiet and not disturbing the rest of the family)
The clock is objective and can’t be argued with...it is either 'morning' or it is not.
Using a sleep trainer clock becomes an essential part of your bedtime routine – putting the clock ‘to sleep’ and saying you will see it wake up in the morning reinforces the message about staying in bed both at night time and in the morning.
How can the child tell it is morning?
It depends on the clock. With the Gro Clock the stars display on the screen countdown and change the moon face on a blue coloured screen to a smiling sun on a yellow background.
Choosing which sleep trainer to buy
As with most things electrical, there is a strong element of ‘you get what you pay for’ and budget is always a factor. A sleep trainer clock is something you want to get a lot of worry free use out of. Only the sleep trainer clocks that meet our quality standards feature in our range.
When considering which clock to get think about which clock you like and your child likes the look of as well as if you'll use it away from home. Sleep trainer clocks with a battery back-up are good options for when there's a power outage or when you're away from home as you don't need to worry about remembering the plug.
Gro Clock by Gro Company
Made by the gro company, makers of grobags, the gro clock is the top of the range. It is fantastic quality, with a great range of features. The backlit display shows stars which gradually go out over the duration of the sleep time, making it easy to judge 'how long till morning'. When it's time to wake the display colour changes and the moon changes to a picture of a sun.
Can have digital clock on or off
Can be used as a nightlight since it runs on power and it has 10 levels of brightness from no light to a bright blue glow.
Optional audio alarm
- Can stand on a chest of draws
Can set different time for morning and naptime (or weekend) wake up.
Comes with a small story book to reinforce the 'stay in bed till the sun comes up' message.
A simple, smart-looking clock that your child could continue to use as a regular alarm clock as they get older.
Introducing a Sleep Trainer Clock
For the most effective introduction, we recommend you change the time gradually over the first week or so.
So if your child currently wakes for the day at 5.30am, we recommend setting your sleep trainer for say 5.40am on the first day. So after a short wait, they will see it is morning time. Congratulate them for waiting until the clock says it is time to get up. Get up and start the day! Then set the clock for the next morning to wake up at 5.50am, and the next day at 6am.
And as with any sleep training, parental consistency is always the key! So while the clock will be an excellent tool, you can’t set the time for 7am tomorrow morning and expect that your child will instantly start to sleep in! You may need to go in and remind them to stay in bed until the clock says it’s morning. Or repeatedly put them back to bed or sit with them and wait until the clock changes. This initial assistance will pay dividends quickly.
What age can I introduce a Sleep Trainer clock?
It depends a lot on the child but generally from about 2 years old. The key is when your child is able to understand what the clock means - for example, if the moon is out or the stars are showing on the clock's display, that means stay in bed. Or when your child can tell the clock being green or the sun coming up means the day has started. These clocks can be used as a nightlight from newborn so you'll have a trainer clock ready for when your little one is old enough to understand it.
Gro Company - watch this video on the Gro Clock
Adjusting to and from daylight savings
Newborn babies are usually not affected by the start or finish of Daylight Saving. However, older babies and children can be affected for a week or two and you may have an overtired little one on your hands as a result. It's the combination of a change to their body clock and also that they find it harder to fall asleep when it's still light outside!Read More