We were sent a BabyZoo Momo Sleep trainer clock to try to see if it helped James with figuring out if he was getting up in morning time, or still at sleeping time.
Very often, very, very often, James will wake up rather earlier than is quite necessary for the plans we have for the day. Most of the time, he will walk into our room and see that we are still sleeping, and lie on the edge of the bed next to his daddy. Sometimes he goes back to sleep, but more often than not he won’t, and will just lie there quietly. Then a little noise escapes from his mouth, like “oop!” a kind of singing noise. He waits awhile (I don’t know if this is a conscious thing he’s doing), and he lets a few more follow. Then he gets a bit wriggly, and sighs a lot. If Noah is already in our bed he will have woken him up by now; the “oop!”s are quite loud and not an easy noise to sleep through. Noah jumps up giggling and unsteady, still half asleep, and before we know it the four of us are awake. Rob gets grumpy immediately and tells James to go for a wee, and then go back to bed. Noah gets told to lie down. I get up, take James in the bathroom with me, and that’s it – we’re all up for the day because Noah will pad through shortly after and start chatting about whatever is on his little one-year-old mind. Usually it’s about 5am when this starts, and on the best days I don’t get up until 6:15. On the worst days we’re all up through the night, looking at the moon through the window and pointing out it is definitely, definitely still night time and not sunshine time, and therefore time to go back to bed.
If you’re nodding your head that this kind of situation plays out in your house too, then stick around because I have some tips and also a product to tell you about.
Tip number one, and this list is really this one tip in different guises: Bribery. Bribery does seem to work. We have a “special secret surprise” bag full of things like the mystery blind bags of LEGO men, Shopkins, RSPCA Animals, and Num Noms. There are also a few sticker packs, Post Its, and small sweets. If James sleeps in his bed all night, occasionally he gets a special secret surprise, usually when he needs waking in the morning or when we’ve got nothing on during the day and it was a pleasant surprise for me to not be up while it’s still dark.
Tip number two – screens are actually your friend. I’m a massive, massive fan of scree-free play time. I think last thing at night you don’t want your child to be sat in front of In the Night Garden, but actually playing in the real garden, because which teaches them more about the world? But when it comes to me being awake at 5am or James playing iPad for a short while, which will I prefer? Yes – iPad. Apps we love at the moment include Toca Mini and Lego City My City.
Tip number three – get outside. I read somewhere that children who play outside between 3 and 4 pm sleep more soundly and for longer. I do think this might be somewhat true. Though no scientific studies have been done by me. I’m just suggesting it as an idea.
Tip number four – try this BabyZoo Momo Sleeptrainer.
It is a cute little monkey called Momo, who goes to sleep when your child does, and when it’s an acceptable time to wake up, he opens his eyes. On waking, the child sees that the monkey is still asleep and knows it’s time to stay in bed. If the monkey has its eyes open, yes, off you go, get out of bed! Hurray!
The first night we tried the BabyZoo Momo Sleeptrainer, after story time, we talked about the button on the top to turn the light on, so James can see if Momo’s eyes are open. We discussed how if Momo has his eyes closed then James can go back to sleep. If Momo is awake, James can get up and play, even if Mummy and Daddy are still asleep.
Unfortunately, I totally did not realise that the volume control on the back of the monkey was turned up. So when morning came, James was actually still asleep when Momo woke up. And Momo woke up to the sound of the jungle, with bird song and monkeys chattering. James screamed and leapt out of bed, horrified and terrified at the same time.
So, that night we tried again. James was happy with the idea of Momo being asleep on the shelf, and said he wouldn’t get up till Momo woke up. Alas, Rob had changed the time of the alarm because he thought I’d set it too early in the morning, but he’d actually changed it to PM not AM, and so just as I was getting Noah settled… Momo woke up, with his light on and the jungle noises… James screamed and screamed.
I’m sure it would be very funny if it had happened to someone else. Unfortunately that set up the rest of the week as a Terrible Sleep Week.
James became frightened to fall asleep, jerking himself awake as he dozed off, crying out that he’d had a bad dream. He took ages to settle, and even spent two nights totally awake, walking between our room and his with his torch on. However, when I asked him in the morning why he’d been awake all night he said “because the monkey was awake!” because my plan had been to take the monkey out of James’ bedroom but I’d forgotten, and therefore I’d also not closed Momo’s eyes.
So, although this hasn’t worked for us, there are ways this sleep trainer can work for you and you can learn from our mistake – turn the volume down until you hear a click if you don’t need or want an alarm in the morning. The light will still come on when Momo wakes up, but he won’t make a noise.