Friday, November 13, 2009

My Tot Clock

It is been almost a year now since Anna stopped napping. There were a variety of factors involved including a move to a big girl bed from the crib and taking away the pacifier which Anna used heavily to lull herself to sleep. The other factor was my doing - when Anna napped, she wasn't able to fall asleep until 10ish. The rule in our house has always been that during naptime, Anna has to go into her room and play. Anna's time in her room usually lasted about 20-40 minutes depending on how interested she was in a particular toy that day. Inevitably though she would get bored and start fussing or call out that she had to go potty and naptime was over for fear of her waking Maddie. A month and a half ago Anna was down to 20 minutes in her room and Maddie was sleeping 45 minutes a day and our naptime "schedule" was starting to take a toll on me. Enter My Tot Clock...

This clock has many features, but the appeal to me was that I could set a nap duration time and in theory Anna had to stay in her room that entire duration. The clock uses colors to cue her whether it is time for "sleep" or to be awake. It took a few days, but Anna will now stay in her room and play until her clock turns yellow (I have even extending the duration a little :-/). It really helps me to know how long Anna will be in her room.

I bought the clock for naptime, so I was surprised when the first night that we had the clock and the clock turned blue to signal sleep time, Anna ushered us out of her room because she was ready to go to bed. She understood the colors and what they meant and did her best to comply. Anna also enjoys the stories and music that play to help her fall asleep (there is also white noise as well). We have stopped listening to the story before bed - it was a little to fairyish for us but there are other stories that can be ordered.

I also feel like Anna is sleeping in a little later since when she wakes up, she knows if she should go back to sleep or stay awake. Anna doesn't always wait until her clock is yellow to call out to us but if the clock is still blue she will usually play for awhile until the clock turns yellow. It is a little like brainwashing - Anna says things in normal conversation like "daddy's clock is yellow?" but the clock has helped our family. The clock traveled with us on vacation and was even a comfort to a little friend of ours who was having trouble going to sleep in a strange room; she liked the bedtime music and seeing the blue light on the clock.

A few other features of the clock that we have not used yet is a discipline duration (programmable time for timeouts) and a positive duration (which you might said to have them read books for a period of time, etc).

I have been asked by several friends if I would recommend them purchasing it. If the price was lower, I was say definitely but when you are talking about a $50 + S&H clock that may or may not work for your child, it is a gamble. I am also a little hesitant to recommend it to Anna's friends who are 3+ because they aren't as enchanted by it. For example this morning Anna woke up before her clock turned blue and when I told her she needed to stay in her room until it turned yellow she said "mommy push it to turn it yellow". I'm guessing some friends would even turn it yellow themselves, though Anna hasn't quite caught on to that yet. So, in summary, this clock is a great tool but I think the biggest key to extending kid's sleep times is parent consistency.

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