Have you considered a sleep training clock?

Have you considered a sleep training clock?

Have you ever considered a sleep training clock for your toddler? They’re great to help address early morning wakes and I do recommend them for toddlers who wake early. Because, lets face it, waking early often means less sleep. And less sleep means less tolerance (for you and your child). Along with more tantrums and a tired, grumpy toddler by nap time. And that’s just not conducive to a happy day.

But to start with, you may like to know why you should consider a sleep training clock in the first place. If you’re looking for a way to solve those early morning wakes – this could be the key. But if you’re on the fence (I mean toddlers can’t read the time surely, isn’t a clock just a waste of money?) then you might just like a little more information. And then you can make your own decision.

Why use a sleep training clock?

Why use a sleep training clock? Well, let’s consider mornings. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that we all have naturally occurring wakes throughout the night. No-one really “sleeps through” the night. But what you may not know is that we tend to have more REM sleep in the early hours of the morning.

REM sleep is light sleep and this means there’s more chance of environmental factors waking your toddler up at this time of day. Environmental factors can really be anything, but the most common are sunlight (light stimulates us to wake) and noise, like birds, heavy footsteps, flushing toilets or the cat wanting to be fed.

It’s also a harder time to get back to sleep, because your child has already had enough sleep to take the edge off, and they’re more likely to wake fully at this point.

But that doesn’t mean they’ve had enough sleep. And, in my books at least, 5am is NOT a suitable time to start the day (am I right?).

Toddlers don’t have a good concept of time, and they typically can’t read a traditional clock. So, they’ll get up when they wake fully, on the off-chance that it is time to see their favourite people, eat breakfast or watch their favourite cartoon show (or play with their toys, find the crayons and draw on the walls, get into the pantry, check out the cutlery draw, locate the knives… etc).

By using a sleep training clock, you’re giving your toddler a way to distinguish when it’s REALLY time to get up (at a suitable time for the family), vs when it’s time to go back to sleep. It really helps!

When they know it’s not time to get up, they know to go back to sleep. Giving them a better chance to get enough of those precious zzzz’s and then wake refreshed in the morning. It also helps you enjoy being parent more when you’ve had enough sleep yourself!

Your role is key

As is the case whenever you’re working to improve sleep, your role as the parent is key.

While a sleep training clock can be an excellent tool, it doesn’t work like magic. You can’t just set it and expect your child to instantly know what to do and then automatically sleep later in the morning.

You need to explain the clock to your child at bedtime, possibly remind them about it during the night, and even repeatedly put them back to bed until the clock says its time to get up. Then you can ALL get up and celebrate morning time, when the clock says so. At a decent time.

Be warned, you might need to do this for more than a few days. It might even take a week or more.

But don’t panic, your role in this is not forever. While the appropriate response from you is necessary to start with, if you remain consistent with your message, it will pay off and your child will learn to wait for the clock.  Typically, the older the child, the quicker they’ll grasp the concept. So just expect younger toddlers (those under 2.5 years) to need more reminding and repetition before it clicks in.

Finding the right clock

Finding the right clock can be a bit of a minefield, as they’re not all made equal. And you need to consider the colour too (stay away from green and blue light at night). Unfortunately, some of the more popular sleep training clocks aren’t highly conducive to sleep. Which is also why I’ve put together a list of my favourite sleep training clocks here. Due to the pandemic some are easier to find than others, so another popular one is Sam the Sheep.

It’s definitely worth weighing up the different types of sleep training clocks when you’re considering the use (and purchase) of one.

But once you’ve got a sleep training clock, and your child is confident in understanding what it means (and how important it is to you that they wait for the clock). It can make mornings oh so much easier! You can finally get back to some decent-timed starts, and all wake refreshed and ready to get on with your day. All the more happier for the extra sleep.

And if sleep is missing from your life (either with or without the clock), please realise it doesn’t have to be that way. Calling in a sleep professional can be a lifesaver, and most people wait far too long before seeking help. Don’t make the same mistake. I’d love the opportunity to help you with your family’s sleep. All you need to do is take the first step and book a free initial call.

If you’d like to know a bit more about me, that’s all good too. Check out my website and sign up to my newsletter. And I’d love you to follow along on Facebook and Instagram too. Because everyone needs a good night’s sleep!