Gro Clock Sleep Trainer
The Gro Clock is a clever gadget which will help toddlers and preschoolers know when it's time to get out of bed. It's pricey and does require parental reinforcement, but it's easy for small children to understand and if you have early rising issues it has the potential to make a big difference.
The pursuit of sleep is always a popular topic among parents of young children. Sleep deprivation is a cruel master, and one that my husband and I are definitely still firmly in the grips of with our three-month-old. No wonder that it’s a big business — anything for a solid 8 hour kip!
The gro clock is a popular device to help toddlers stay in bed until an acceptable hour of the day. It’s a plug-in clock with a display that, when activated at night, shows stars which gradually vanish until morning. At the time you’ve set for wake up, the last star fades out and a sun appears to show that it’s now morning and that your small person is allowed to get up.
Full disclosure: our toddler is actually a pretty awesome sleeper. He has, up until recently, been very content to stay put in his room until we come to get him. Please don’t hate me! But he’s now sharing a room with a baby, and if she wakes when it’s not-quite morning it’s enough to rouse him, and explaining that it’s not time to get up just because the first number on the clock is a 5 hasn’t been working so well for us. So we forked out for a gro clock.
It is a pretty cool device. You can programme in both a morning wake-up time and a nap time, and though the button sequences to set it up are complicated (due to it only having three buttons), following the instructions is fairly straightforward. It even has a demo mode that you can run a few times to show your little person how it works.
Our Little Monkey cottoned on pretty quickly; he likes to point out whether it’s the sun or stars, and accepts that it’s still sleeping time if he does get disturbed in the early hours. It looks pretty tidy (if a little childish in shape, but then it is for kids) and the light it emits is appropriately dim and in the sleep-enhancing blue spectrum.
It has a child lock so that once you’ve set it they can’t turn it off, but the sequence to lock and unlock is fairly simple and that’s a cause for complaint for some people. The instructions recommend not letting the kids see you set the lock, but we avoided any potential problem by putting it on an out-of-reach shelf.
The little story book that comes with it is pretty daft, but that’s inconsequential; it’s not hard to explain that sun means day and stars mean night, even to small children. Daft or not, our Little Monkey seems to like it — but I don’t think he gets that the sleep habits of the animals in the book might hold any relevance to him.
My other quibble is the alternate display. at they really could have made it a bit more useful by making it an analog clock instead of a digital one, to help commence the learning on actual time-telling. But again, that’s pretty minor.
The main reason I’m being picky is that it is fairly pricey – it retails at $79.95, so definitely worth waiting for a sale if you can.
Whether or not it’s worth it to you will depend on your situation – if our son still had a room to himself he probably wouldn’t need it, but then the $65 we paid is much cheaper than alternative accommodation would be.
Like any gimmick, it is a tool and reinforcement and consistency are also essential to ensure it’s effective. It is a pretty cool tool, though, and is both appealing and effective in the right conditions.
Awesome or Average: Awesome