Last year, just before the spring daylight savings time change, we decided to proactively purchase an Okay to Wake clock for our then three year old. One year later, our Gro Clock continues to be a solid investment. We purchased the clock from Toys R Us, at regular price. Here’s how we’ve successfully made it work for our busy family, for our 4 and 2 year olds in a shared bedroom.
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What is included with your Gro Clock
The clock comes with a wall adapter, that plugs into the side of the clock and to the wall. It also includes instructions and a lovely Children’s Book that tells a story of farm animals all getting a good night’s sleep except for one little piglet. He stays up too late and wakes up too early, so the other animals’ parents tell their little ones why the piglet is always tired. The animals get together and buy him a Group Clock so he knows when to go to sleep and when to wake up
It’s been a year, so I’ve, of course, lost my instructions. I turn to YouTube videos each time I need to adjust the clock in any way. Here’s a simple instructional video to show you how it works (credit to Kristy at Made for More.)
How we use it
My 4 year old benefits from this clock the most. As I said, we’ve had it for a year so he was 3 when we bought it. We set the clock on the edge of his top bunk bed, against the wall. It’s always been my intention to buy him a small shelf to put it on, but we haven’t gotten around to that yet. I don’t use the nap feature on the clock at this time, but I think I’d like to start doing that for my 2 year old each day. He is the only one who still naps.
We have the clock set to do sunrise each morning at 7:30 am. I’m lucky in that my two little ones stay home with me each day, so they rarely need to be up earlier that that. They tend to wake up at different times, so setting the clock at 7:30 means my older son (usually the first to wake) will know to keep quiet until the sun comes up, while his younger brother sleeps.
Bedtime in our house is 7:30 pm for the wee boys, and we manually turn on the bedtime stars each night by using the menu to select the Sun icon. This puts the clock onto the blue star screen, and we can watch the sun winks as it sets for the night before the stars pop up. There is a little star at each hour on the clock face, and overnight the stars will disappear one by one until morning. This is especially useful if my son wakes in the middle of the night. He has no solid concept of what the numbers mean on the clock, but if he can see that there’s still 4 or 5 stars left, he knows he can go to the bathroom and then he needs to go back to sleep for 4 or 5 more hours. He does his best not to wake us unless it’s an important issue (if he’s ill, had an accident, bad dream, etc.)
Does it work?
Yes, actually. It may not work for every family, but for us it’s been fantastic. We set the clock for 8am on weekends and myself and my husband get to sleep in, somewhat. The boys can usually be heard playing in there waiting for the sun to appear. It’s actually quite adorable! I’ll hear the older say “look, the clock turned into a sun! Let’s go!” and then “Ya, let’s go!” From the little one.
I love the fact that it helps them build concepts of night time, sleeping, waking, and how the world uses time. Before the clock, my son EJ would just come out of his room whatever time he woke up: 430, 6am, it didn’t matter. And being in Canada, our natural sunrise and sunset is all over the place- so it’s impossible to teach them to sleep when the real sun sleeps. We have summers with 10pm sunsets and 430am sunrise; and in winter it’s dark by 4pm. By using the gro clock, it’s really opened their eyes to how things work.
It’s not perfect and some areas could improve
I dislike the fact that the clock can be unplugged from the power cable. There is no battery option, so the clock turns off when it is unplugged. By making the table plus into both the wall and the clock itself, there’s double the chances that a child will unplug it. And when it is unplugged, it freezes time to whatever time it was when it was unplugged, and so I need to reset the time each time it happens.
It would be nice to have batteries as a backup power source to keep time going of its unplugged. Otherwise, it should just have an attached cord.
Also the settings aren’t very intuitive. For example, you choose the star icon on the menu to set the wake up time. I constantly forget this, because logic would suggest a Sun icon to set the wake up time, and star to set bed time. Using words in the menu, or changing the icons would make more sense. But, everything still works fine!
Where to buy
You can purchase the gro Clock with my affiliate links at Amazon! At the time of writing, this price at Amazon.ca shown below is the best price available ($48 and prime eligible).
The Gro Clock is also available at Lagoon Baby (with Canada/USA shipping) and the ability to earn loyalty points at one of the best Natural Parenting stores in Canada! Use those points to get free merchandise like cloth diapers and more.
If you’re a fan of The Baby Footprint, you can shop there too! The Gro Clock is in stock and currently on sale. They also have a great loyalty program with a fantastic selection of natural parenting products and Canada/USA shipping as well.