This review is all about toddler sleep clocks. You know the clocks I mean right? The ones that claim your little one will stay in bed until a bright sunshine pops up, at which point your little cherub will come skipping in to your room merrily chirping ‘happy morning mummy’, and you, feeling oh so refreshed after 12 hours toddler free time, will blow back loving kisses and ask him what he’d like to do today.
I can only assume that the inventor of said toddler sleep clock thought they would save parents the hassle of writing a list like the one below that a kid I used to babysit for had beside her bed:
Is it dark outside? Yes. Go back to bed.
Is your sister in bed? Yes. Go back to bed.
Are mummy and daddy asleep? Yes. Go back to bed.
Can you even read this thing? No. Go back to bed.
Are you breathing? Yes. Then just go.back.to.fucking.bed.
(OK, so maybe I’m misremembering the last couple of points slightly but you get the picture).
I don’t go in for all this baby paraphernalia under normal circumstances but a friend assured me that her little one was now staying in bed ALL.NIGHT.LONG thanks to this wonder clock. Once I’d heard you could set your own ‘morning time’ (11am sounds reasonable), I decided it was worth a shot, especially as my cot clambering toddler has been promoted to a bed, so now there’s nothing stopping him escaping in the middle of the night. Needless to say I’ve had a few sleepless weeks which *may* have impaired my decision making ability (remember this as you read on).
I was very excited when the clock finally arrived (thanks ebay), now we can get back to sleeping, or at least something resembling it.
Excitedly, I took the clock upstairs, complete with little book to explain the concept to my son. I set the timer up and then….
No, wait. That wasn’t how it went.
I took the clock upstairs and tried to set up the timer. However, it proved an impossible task because apparently you need a PhD in physics for that and somehow I haven’t quite managed to finish mine in amongst the nappies and snotty noses of the last two years. Yes, yes there were instructions and I was trying to read them but my little sleep thief had other ideas. He kept grabbing the instructions and then the clock. Alternating, and throwing them on the floor, just to keep me on my toes. It was like he instinctively knew this clock was threatening his all-night freedom and he for one was not up for that.
It was right around this point that the sleep deprivation kicked in full swing. My brain was going something like this, “AHH, GET OUT OF MY FUCKING FACE SO I CAN UNDERSTAND THESE INSTRUCTIONS!” Sadly, this kind of reasoning did not work with my son. Apparently he was not in the mood to give.me.some.fucking.space.NOW. So instead I opted for the classic, collapse in a heap and cry, tactic. Not that it worked any better of course but at least it let out a bit of the pent up stress.
I didn’t try again on Saturday. I figured I’d reached my limit and that I could try again on Sunday.
Cue Sunday’s arrival. I set him up with his train tracks to play with. However, his idea of playing with the train tracks was to rip them apart and run after me shouting, “need show mummy, need show mummy”. Needless to say it didn’t happen on Sunday either.
Right Monday, for sure.
Monday came, and Monday went. I didn’t have the strength to attempt it again. I’m not even sure now when I did get it set up but at some point during the week my mum came round so I left her in charge of the maniac, sorry, I mean my son, and set up the clock.
Yes, really, I actually managed to set up the clock. Oh my god. The relief. I even worked out how to do the cute little demo to show my son. Perfect. Who wouldn’t want to sleep with these sparkly stars telling them it was night-time.
I started off nice and realistic; I didn’t go all out for the 11am start just yet. I thought I’d lull him into that gently. I went for 7.30am which personally I thought was very reasonable. I read him the accompanying book all about the grumpy pig who doesn’t get enough sleep. He wasn’t really into the story, bit long for him if I’m honest but he was super excited by the clock. So excited that he didn’t want to stay in his cot. No, he wanted to turn the clock this way and that, just so he could see the stars exactly like so. Essentially the toddler “sleep” clock prolonged the hell of bedtime by approximately 57 minutes. On the plus side, at least he likes it.
Fast forward four hours, in clambers the little one into my bed. Hmm, I’m pretty sure it’s NOWHERE NEAR 7.30am so how can this be? Does this clock not come with some sort of guarantee? Everything comes with a guarantee don’t they? I’d even have paid extra for that feature.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the week went something like this…He got excited by the stars; the stars had no impact on his desire to stay in bed. We are now a good few weeks down the line since that excited Saturday when the delivery first arrived and we have had zero sleep filled nights so far. The clock is now lying face down under his bed. I don’t think either of us can bare to look at it EVER AGAIN.
If you happen to be a toddler sleep clock maker I have some recommendations for product improvements for you.
1) Scrap the twinkly stars; at ‘sleep’ time the clock should show a horror image, one so scary small people everywhere dare not move and there is NO-WAY they would touch the thing.
2) Make a clock that combines a ‘clock function’ with one of those ‘baby motion sensors’. When it senses the toddler is about to get out of bed the clock lets out a high pitched scream. Something along the lines of, ‘GET BACK INTO FUCKING BED NOW’.
3) Make sure the audio on this new and improved toddler sleep clock is so high pitched that it’s not audible to adult ears, just dogs and children. Otherwise that would disturb MY sleep. And, let’s be honest here, that’s what this sleeping through the night is all about; letting ME sleep through the night. My son, like most little ones, has no interest or, it would appear, need to sleep through the night. But I sure as shit do.
So, in summary people. If you are thinking of buying one of these toddler sleep clocks. If you’re thinking, it’s worth a try, because quite frankly anything is worth a try. Don’t bother. It’s about as worthy of a try as is gauging your eyes out with a potato peeler (which to be fair I have considered on occasion). Those friends who claim it works are lying. I have no idea why, I can only assume they have shares in the clock company. My only advice to you is, give up. Give up and accept you won’t be getting a decent night’s sleep for a long time. Probably not until those teenage hormones kick in and you aren’t able to drag them out of bed for love nor money. Until then, stay strong.
P.S. If anyone is after a toddler sleep clock I’ve got a cheap one going.
I am not being sponsored by any clock company to write this review. However, if you are a clock company I’d be open to offers of monetary gain so that you may reproduce this honest review on your marketing materials. You’re welcome.