Updated: Aug 4, 2019
"Happy Summer Mom and Dad! I will now start to wake up at 4:30 am!" - My toddler, first day of summer vacation.
I am beyond lucky to have my husband home for the summer, this I know. What I'm not so blessed with is that my 2 year old tends to wake up extra early when his dad is home...
It really wouldn't be SO bad if my 3mo hadn't also decided to start waking up super congested every couple hours... so what we did is buy an Ok to Wake Clock and planned for the best. (An OK to Wake Clock turns green at your Desired Wakeup Time. It's like a friendly alarm clock for kids) After a week of purchase we had moved up his wakeups to 6:15 am! So here are my tips to best use an OK to Wake Clock:
**( I know 6 am may not sound like that great, but when you have a kid that wakes up early, doesn't need much sleep to be in a good mood and hit his milestones, and has been this way his whole life: 6 am is pretty great)**
1- Go buy it with your kid.
Amazon is pretty great for parents, we are #1 fans, but there is a certain magic of finding a cool new thing with your little one in a store and having them "pick it out themselves." I cannot tell you just how excited 2yo was to show his NEW CLOCK to everyone that came into the house. Having a positive association with the clock will be HUGE.
2-Explain the clock and practice with play. We played 'wakeup' with my 2yo a few times before putting into practice: during the day we set the green light to go off in one minute, turned the lights off in his room, and the three of us lay down on the ground pretending to sleep. Once the clock turned green my husband and I got REALLY excited, turned the light on, and said 'it's green!! we can wake up and PLAY!' You can imagine how excited this made my toddler. 3-Explain the clock and practice, with excitement.
I can't stress how important it is to make this a positive experience that your kiddo TRULY understands. Regardless of their exact age, if your little one can't answer questions like the following ones, it's too early to try to use it. Joe: can we play when the clock is green? 2yo: YES! Joe: can we play when the clock is dark? 2yo: no! Me: When can we wake up and play? 2yo: when it's green! Me: Can we play when the clock is dark? 2yo: no! Me: When can we wake up and play? 2yo: when it's green! 4- Use it in small increments. Since 2yo had been waking up before 5, we set up the clock closer to 5 for the first morning even though our desired wake time was 6 (we set it at 5:10). Slowly, when we had a few positive mornings we moved the green light alarm closer to 6:15. 5- Move patiently.
The first morning my kiddo woke up and started to cry for his dad immediately. My husband went in there, reminded him it wasn't time to play, and it wasn't time to turn the light on yet. He lay down next to my kiddo in the dark and talked as little as possible as they waited for the green light. Once the green light came on my husband jumped up, turned the light on, and announced, 'it's time to play!'
For about 6 mornings my husband did the same thing. 6-Once your kid understands, put it in effect. About 7 days after we bought the clock we told 2yo that his dad was so tired from getting up before it was green. We told him, "even if you cry out and call your dad, he won't come in until the light is green." me: will Papá come in if the light isn't green? 2yo: no me: When will Papá come in? 2yo: when it's green! Wouldn't you know, the next morning he stayed in his crib, without crying, until it turned green! 7- Give your kid alternatives to waking up crying. One morning I heard my kiddo around 5:55 while I was nursing our 3mo. He was calling out "HURRAAH HURRAAAAH!" My husband turned around and explained, "I told him he could sing Ants go Marching By to his Bunny if he woke up before the green light."
Obviously I'm not saying you have to tell your kid, "Sing Ants go Marching by to your Bunny" haha! But tell them to do something they know and like to do, so they have SOMETHING to do while they wait for what may feel like an eternity to them.
8- Be flexible. If your kiddo wakes up 50 minutes before the green light is supposed to go on and starts to cry ... wait a while, go in and explain to them "the light is not green, but it may come on soon!" Then stealthily change the green light to go off in a few minutes. They won't know you changed the time, but they won't be there crying for 50 minutes feeling awful!
If you do want to buy it on amazon, below is a link for the one we use, as well as other links to other similar products!
*These are affiliate links