Toddler Sleep Training Clock – The Gro Company Gro-Clock Review
Anybody who has ever had sleep problems with their baby or toddler is always on the look out for that must have gadget which will solve everything. An overtired parent becomes a grumpy parent, and so it’s vitally important for both yourself and those who are around you every day – be it family, friends, or colleagues – that you get the most sleep possible. A toddler sleep training clock is the kind of thing that you’re never really convinced it will work for you. It seems to be a “faddy” idea right? And generations of parents before us all managed perfectly well without toddler sleep training clocks, so surely they’re not a necessity?
- Manufactured by reputable brand “The Gro Company”
- Easy for young children to understand – can be used through the years from toddler onwards
- Easy for parents to set-up and use on a daily basis
- Two programmable wake-up times
- Adjustable screen brightness also serves as a nightlight
- Cannot be battery operated
The Gro Company Brand
The Gro-Clock is made by the Gro Company, made famous by their baby and toddler sleeping bags, who have since branched out into all kinds of baby and toddler sleep related products. As always, the quality of the product and the packaging is excellent. One additional extra that I love about the Gro-Clock toddler sleep training clock is that it comes with a bedtime story book. The story book explains to the child that the stars on the clock mean that it’s nighttime, and that the sunshine means it’s time to get up for the day. It’s just a nice little touch that other brands wouldn’t think of. I’ve never had any issues with Gro Company products, and I’m happy to pay a little extra for what I know will be a long lasting, quality product.
Easy for toddlers to understand
The whole point of using a toddler sleep training clock is to help your child to understand when they should go back to sleep, and when it’s ok for them to wake up. You therefore need to use a clock which is simple for a young child to understand.
We began using the Gro-Clock when our son was around 18 months of age, knowing that he was probably still too young to understand it, but wanting him to get used to the idea of the clock being in his bedroom ready for when he was a little older. I’m pleased to report that within around two months of starting to use the Gro-Clock, he already seemed to grasp the meaning of it. We would say goodnight to Mr Sunshine at bedtime when I was turning the clock to sleep mode, and in the morning I would make a big deal of going in to get him out of bed if he had made it past the programmed wake up time. If he woke too early, I would leave him in his cot for as long as possible before he cried, and then show him that it’s still sleep time by pointing to the clock and saying that Mr Sunshine hadn’t come up yet.
Now that he’s 2 years old, we know that he understands this. He very rarely wakes before his programmed 7am wake-up time, and if he does, he lies in his cot chattering away to himself. Once Mr Sunshine appears, we hear him squeal in delight, say “eyo” to the clock and shout for Momma to come and get him.
Easy for parents to use
Not that I ever really struggle with instruction manuals and new gadgets (otherwise I wouldn’t be running a website about how much I love baby and toddler gadgets!), but this sleep training clock is so simple to use that even my mum and mother-in-law don’t struggle with it. When I first set up-the clock, I followed everything through on the instruction booklet, and from then I’ve never had to refer back to it, even managing to change the screen brightness, clock time and wake-up times from the simple to use menus.
Once the clock is set-up, to switch it on for use at naptime and bedtime, you simply click one of the buttons, click down to either bedtime or naptime setting and then hit enter. The sunshine will then wink and turn into the blue stars which countdown to your programmed wake-up time. No need to press any other buttons when wake up time arrives, since 1 hour after the wake-up time arrived, the clock will go back into standby mode until you next use it.
Two programmable wake-up times
Most children continue to require a nap until they are around 4 years old, so there is use in having the naptime option set up. However I have also noticed a second group of parents who try to use the clock settings as:
I’m not sure how successful they are in this approach, as we’ve always maintained a consistent wake-up time for our son even at weekends. If he sleeps later than 7am (and recently he has been going through as later as 7.45am, what joy!), then we take it as a bonus and don’t wake him up. But I feel like a 7am wake-up is suitable for all of us and we can’t be too greedy with these things since it’s only a year ago that I was battling the 5am wake ups with him!
I’ve always been keen to maintain a long enough awake time for our little boy to be tired enough for his naps and bedtime, so the way that the clock works is perfect for me. No matter what time he goes for his nap, I’ve scheduled his nap wake-up time to be 2pm, and I physically wake him myself if he is still asleep at 2.30pm. This means that at his approximate 7.30pm bedtime, he is tired enough to go back to sleep. In the mornings, I usually let him sleep as late as he wants, but wake him by 8am at the latest, so his clock is currently set for 7.15am wake up.
Screen brightness and nightlight
The screen brightness on the Gro-Clock can be adjusted, and we currently use it on the dimmest setting. However, our son seems to be hitting the age where he’s developing a bit of a fear of the dark, so I’m going to turn it up a couple of notches. The great thing about this being that the backlight of the display is bright enough that it can also serve as a nightlight.
The Gro-Clock comes with a mains power adapter included in the box. One slight flaw I can spot is that the clock cannot be battery operated. That means you have to think about your placement of the clock near to a power socket, and the biggest bug for me is that should you have a power cut, your Gro-Clock will not work as there’s not even a battery back-up. The clock does seem to retain it’s stored settings such as the programmed wake up times when without power, but doesn’t maintain the time.
It’s just one small annoyance on what is otherwise a great little product though!
Value for money: 4/5
Price: RRP £29.99
Buy from: Amazon.com (currently £19.99 at time of writing)
I’ll admit it, I wasn’t really a believer of toddler sleep training clocks, but when our son started waking up at 5am every morning, I was ready to give anything a try. I’m pleased to report that we, like hundreds of others according to the Amazon reviews, have found this our new essential item! We now take it with us when we go on holiday or to stay with family, as it really does make a difference to how long we get to sleep in the morning.
Please comment below if you’re having sleep troubles with your toddler and give this a try. Pass on my recommendation to your friends with your children too, and take a look at the rest of the site for some other “essential” parenting gadgets.