- Tell time
- Work as a traditional alarm
- Provide touch-button voice-over to speak actual time
- Serve as a nightlight
- Change colors at different times (this is the key ingredient).
- Here are our current settings:
- 7:30pm - soft yellow light comes on (serving as a nightlight)
- 8:00pm - soft yellow light continues on (time for bed)
- 6:45am - soft green light comes on (indicating time to get up)
- 8:00am - soft green light turns off (nobody is asleep at this time...)
So our daughter used to wake up around 6:30am, but was now waking up at 5:30am. She used to go to bed around 8pm with little fuss, but now was getting up and down until close to 9pm.
This is what we needed to do:
- Talk about the clock to her, the colors, and what she could earn for following the rules
- Identify a strong motivator soon after the light changes (morning tv show)
- Tell her what she would get for staying in bed until the light turned green (tv show)
The careful reader will likely notice that I have said nothing about getting her to stay in bed in the evening without getting up and down a bunch. I believe the the venerable Sun Tzu put it best when he said, in different words, “never fight a war on two fronts.” Sage advice here.
It would’ve been amazing if this took only one evening to do the trick. Of course, it did not.
What we needed to do was set the clock to 5:45am (close to her new 5:30am awake routine) and then gradually move the time toward our 6:30am goal in 10-15 minute increments over a few weeks. In addition, she would often wake at 5:30am, come get one of us, and then want to go watch her tv show. I would take her back to her room, lay her back in bed, and then lay with her until it turned green. I praised her to holy heck, got her dressed, and took her to tv time.
Then we worked on having her lay by herself until the light turned green. Then once this new behavior of laying in bed on her own until the light turn green appeared firmly established, we moved the time forward. This would often reset the level of support back to her needing to be taken back to bed, me laying beside her, then fading my physical presence, and her staying in her bed on her own. Then we’d move the clock forward another increment toward our goal.