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The Gro-Clock - 7 ways to help your toddler sleep later

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
The Gro-Clock - 7 ways to help your toddler sleep later
A Gro Clock is an awesome tool that teaches early-risers to stay in bed a little longer. Here are some tips for using it.

A lot of parents never get a sleep-in as their toddler decides as soon as the sun gets up at 5:30 am so do they! This is a big problem in Australia. I never had the same issues in England as the sun rises ever so slowly. Down Under one second it's night and literally the next...kerching...daylight! And then the birds start at 5:15 am and boy are they noisy!

Toddlers don't know we don't want them to rise so soon. So I think all you parents out there deserve to know about a little piece of magic...The Gro clock.
  1. There are plenty of reasons why toddlers and pre-school children wake up too early. Maybe they’re going to bed too early or they’re ready to shorten or drop their day nap. Maybe they’re just in the habit, or they have FOMO, or they’re slowly but surely trying to suck the life out of you. Or maybe they're cold?

The Gro Clock is so much more than a cute kid’s clock. Using images of the stars and the sun, and colours to represent day and night (yellow and blue, respectively), the clock teaches your child when he’s supposed to be sleeping and when he’s allowed to wake up, using the times you’ve preset. It’s not the only sleep training clock on the market, but the Gro Clock is the most popular in its category and has been for many years.

2. Avoid using it too young before your child is able to understand the concept.

Some parents report using it successfully with an 18-month-old, but most say two is around the right age to start. I found about the Gro-Clock from one of my mums, the lovely Renae and she's used it with great success with Maggie when she was 15 months old. YAY for the lie in!

3. Before you use the Gro Clock, it's important to teach your child about the sun and the stars

To help your child understand the Gro Clock, they have to understand at night, the sun goes to bed, then the stars come out, and that is when we sleep. In the morning, the sun rises and comes back, and that’s when we’re allowed to wake up. Work this info into conversations each day in the weeks before you buy or begin using the Gro Clock. It comes with an educational book about sleep and day and night for your toddler and it's really important you read this book each night at bedtime to imprint the learning and improve the effectiveness of the Gro-Clock.

Once you set it to daytime which can be of your choosing, anytime after 6 am tends to be OK with most parents, the magic Gro clock displays a lovely yellow sun.

4. Change the time your child is set to wake-up gradually over 2 weeks

If your kid is waking up at some awful ungodly hour (say 4:30 a.m.) and you’ve purchased a Gro Clock to solve this problem, you might be tempted to set the clock’s sun to appear at 6:30 a.m. on the very first morning. Woot, two extra hours of sleep for you! Except this will not happen and it doesn’t set your kid up for success. Expecting your toddler to lie patiently in her bed for two hours more than she’s used to just isn’t reasonable.

On the first night, set the clock’s sun to rise for the time your child usually wakes up—even if it’s crazy early o'clock. “This way, your child will wake up and see the sun come out, and create a positive association with their clock,” then, give lots of labelled praise to imprint the leaning and habit.

Afterwards, increase the set wake up time by five or 15 minutes every morning. If you can be patient, stick with five. The Gro Clock works well for most kids, however, it requires initial patience to give children a chance to adjust to their new wake up times.

5. Consistency is KIng.

You’re teaching your child they have to stay quiet in bed (ideally asleep, but quiet is better than nothing) until Mr. Sun wakes up. But if they don’t and you hear him yelling for you—try not to go into their room! Doing so teaches your child they can ignore the clock if they choose. When my sister's children used to wake up and call for her before the sun appeared on the clock, she’d go to their door and tell them Mr Sun is still sleeping, so everyone else must still sleep, too.

The important thing is to stick to how it’s not up to you—it’s up to Mr Sun.

6. Reward your child using labelled praise when they comply with the rules of the Gro-Clock.

Labelled praise uses effort to reward e.g. well done Mila for putting your toys away awesome work. When you use labelled praise vs empty praise (clever girl, good boy etc.) your child will achieve a third better in life.

7. Don’t expect the Gro Clock to work miracles.  Some children will never pay attention to the Gro Clock no matter what you do. Maybe it works beautifully at first—then, suddenly, it stops working. Like every parenting tool, it probably won’t work miracles, but hopefully, it helps.

At up to $60, the Gro Clock isn’t cheap. And bearing in mind, some parents report the set-up instructions are overly complicated, I'm techy and I find them challenging. If your budget is tight, look for a second-hand Gro Clock. However, my own sister swears by it and if you're determined and consistent you may get the 7-7:30 am sleep-in you've been dreaming of. It worked amazingly for her kids.

Any toddler can be taught they don't get up before the sun rises on the gro clock. I think it's Pure genius.

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