Please STOP waking up at 5am...
So we've had a slight dilemma in our house over the past few weeks - our delightful little energetic 3-year-old has decided to take it upon herself to wake up at about 5:40 am. Now I can think of many things I enjoy doing at 5:40 am, the top three on the list are 'to be asleep' (hint: it's a list of three). What I don't love? The little pitter-patter of feet then a door being shoved open with the force of a mini-rhino.
To be clear, we have had this issue before. It has been an on again/off again phase for around about 6 months now. Over the second half of 2023, we brought in the "it has to have a six in it" rule. With this, when our daughter comes in each morning we check the time on my phone to see if there is a six when we start reading the time. If there is, she can stay up. If there isn't (and in its place is a five...or a four) then it's back to bed we go.
This HAS been working for us, however with this phase continuing to cycle through our lives, it's time to change it up...
Cue, a toddler sleep training clock.
Now I saw the word "sleep training" and cringed a little but in essence, it's a standard digital clock that has a light incorporated in it. You set the time that the light turns from red (where it's not time to get up), to green (where it is time to get up). Anecdotally, I have heard great things about the effectiveness of these clocks in reducing very early wake-ups, as they provide immediate feedback to the child.
I will be updating this blog post with wake-up times in the days and weeks after we start using the clock.
We had a knock on the door and a VERY pleasant surprise, when this landed on our doorstep this morning. Millie immediately asked what it was so I explained how it will help her to know when it was time to get up and she was so damn excited. She sat with me while we read the instructions (very simple and easy to understand...even though it refers to 'buttons' as 'bottons' lol).
The picture does not do justice to how cool the lights are on this clock. I've already explained that some lights are only for daytime when she's playing in her room. She has been super receptive to the whole 'red' means 'bed' and 'green' means 'good to go!'
I've set the clock for 6:15am so fingers crossed it works.
One night in...
Okay so there are two things I learnt last night.
One, don't fiddle with the clock at 11pm and somehow turn off the 'red light' without knowing how to put it back on.
Second, when Lucy (my almost 2yo) daughter wakes up at 5:30am because she has a full nappy, there is nothing that can be done about Millie waking up. The real kicker was when Millie called out "Muuuummmmm! There's no red light on my clock!!"...great.
At 5:36 am I was 0/2 children asleep, my pillow felt a world away and I was very resigned to an early start for us all. In a last-ditch attempt to save my sanity and wrestle back more rest, I explained to Millie that the green light wasn't on yet, so it was still night-time.
To my SHOCK AND DELIGHT her response - "oh, okay mum!".
Into bed she hopped and another 45 minutes of sleep she had. Say WHAT now?! I slowly retreated from her room, reunited with my pillow and lay there wondering if I had cracked the code.
Now, did I go back to sleep? Yeah maybe for 10 minutes (lol). At the end of the day though, I'm counting this as a huge win because without this clock there is no way Millie would've accepted going back to bed. It was also delightfully cute when she came into my room, proclaiming "Mum, the light is green now!".
Now let's hope everyone in this house gets the memo that we don't wake up at 5am tomorrow morning.
Two nights in...
This morning will forever be known as an exercise in 'one step forward, one step back' 3-year-old fun.
I'm both very impressed and very annoyed with Millie this morning (I'm not currently sure which feeling is prevailing right at this second).
My delightful daughter sprung into our room at 6 am (yes, a win because there were no '5's' to be had. She bounced in saying "It's green Mum! The light is green!". Now I was very confused because I knew that I set the alarm at 6:15 am and immediately jumped to the conclusion that much like the night before, I had done something to contribute to this.
Good news! I did not.
Bad news! Millie had taken it upon herself to change the colour from red to green (using a button I wish she knew nothing about). A flaw in my plan? Yes. A sign of great problem solving skills? Absolutely. ALAS! We had a conversation about not touching the light tomorrow (I will also be covering said button), so time will only tell - pun intended - what the morning will bring.
A highlight however, we've discovered that the clock plays a range of white noise/music. One track is particularly delightful so could come in verrryyyy handy for some quiet time in the near future.
Three nights in...
As the old saying goes - "the third time's a charm"
Going to keep it short and very very sweet with this one - Millie bounced into our room at 6:15am - "Mum the light is green now!"
It turns out she woke up just before and "only waited a little bit when it was red", then she got out of bed when it turned green.
*Cue a standing ovation worthy of the Cannes Film Festival*.
I'll still be providing updates, but they will be weekly from now! I'll also be writing a full review of the clock in the next few weeks as there are MANY on the market and it's all a bit confusing.
Two weeks in...
Guys. Guys, guys, guys. I have been as keen as a BEAN to give you and update on how we're going with our sleep clock.
Wow this has to be one of my favourite purchases in our parenting journey so far. We have not had a single day where Millie has left her bed before her light goes green (cue marching band and streamers everywhere!).
Not only that...I have been sneaking in and changing her wake-up time (we started at 6:15 am and are now at 6:35 am).
NOT ONLY THAT but with the cool light and music functions on it, Millie will ask once a day for me to help set her up with 'quiet time' where we make the room dark, she listens to music and the light does its thing.
I'll give one more update in a few weeks time and will also write a review of the actual clock we bought when I get a sec!
Stay tuned for more!
So good. Clever Millie. But cleverer Mum xxx