Sleeping and meal time are the two things we’ve decided to be pretty strict on. Our kids have never slept in our room. I know that makes us sound cruel but we have our reasons. The main one being that I am such a light sleeper that I cannot sleep at all with baby/kid noises or extra motion in the bed. We’ve always used monitors so we can hear if we are needed. If the kids were ever sick or I thought I needed to be near to them at night for any reason, I would sleep in their rooms so they have never expected to sleep in ours.
But, like all kids, they did try to get up in the middle of the night and really early in the morning. Thankfully, I found a fabulous product to help us keep them in their rooms at night and until an appropriate time in the morning so the entire house gets a good night’s sleep.
This is a product recommendation that probably every house with kids can use! If you have children you would love to stay in bed longer in the morning or be better about staying in their rooms all night now, this one is for you: The OK to Wake Clock.
We love this thing! It turns green at a set time so if your kids wake up and see it green, they know they can come out of their room. If it isn’t green, they need to stay in their room until it turns on. You set a time for it to turn on in the morning and then you can set a duration for it turn on in during nap time. It runs on batteries or can be plugged in and comes with a green face and pink or purple face.
While the product is fabulous, you do have to train your kids to follow it. We started using these clocks when Bear and Ladybug were transitioning from their cribs to their toddler beds. You certainly could start later than that as well but setting up the “rules” before moving to a toddler bed or right when you do move to the toddler bed probably help.
Explain the night before you use the clock the first time that the clock will turn green when it is okay for them to get up and come out of their room. If they wake up before it turns green, they need to go back to sleep or read/play quietly in their bed. We have books and stuffed animals in our kids’ rooms for that purpose.
Also explain that if they stay in their room and are quiet until their light turns green, they will get a reward. We used M&Ms and then a sticker chart for a reward like a new toy or special date. I like this because they get an immediate reward from the M&M but then something bigger to work towards.
Set the time in the morning for when they are normally waking and then gradually move it later by 15 minute increments every few days of them successfully staying in their room. Example, if your kids are getting up at 6 am and you’d love that to be 7 am or later, set the clock to turn green at 6 am the first morning. Once your kids have stayed in their rooms for a few days at that time, move it to 6:15 am. Then 6:30. Etc.
Same set up for nap time. If they are napping for an hour and you would like to make that 2 hours, start with 1 hour for the time set and then gradually move it to 2 hours.
The most important thing: consistency. Each and every time they get up before the light turns green, walk them back to their room and put them back to bed saying “you can get up when your light turns green.” Say that and nothing more. This means whether it is 5 minutes until the clock turns green or the middle of the night, you still walk them back to their room. No stories, no extra hugs and kisses or cuddle time. Just a quick walk back to their room. Yes, in the early days they protested or were upset. That ended quickly though when they understood that getting up in the middle of the night or early in the morning didn’t get them what they wanted.
Of note, our kids have a jack-and-jill bath between their rooms so they can use the restroom on their own without going out of their room. If your kids need to go out of their rooms to use the restroom, you may need to adjust the rules slightly (can only go out before green to use the restroom BUT must go right back to room). We also have video monitors in their rooms so if they are sick or need something, they can call to us and we can come help them. If you don’t use monitors, you may need to say it is okay for them to come out if they are sick or need something.
Our kids now stay in their rooms until 7:30 am (or later if we have a later night and set the clock back a bit) and have 2-3 hour nap times depending on the day. We also very rarely like I don’t remember when the last time was have them getting up in the middle of the night.
I hope this clock helps you get better sleep! If you have any other products or tips for sleeping through the night, please use the comment feature above to share your thoughts!
*This post is not sponsored. I have owned three of these clocks (one got dropped pretty badly on a trip so we quickly replaced it with another) and there is currently one in Bear’s room and one in Ladybug’s room. As I write this, they are on hour 2 of their naps. 🙂