Friday, January 17, 2014

How to Get Your Kids To Stop Getting Up So Early: A Review of the Sleep Buddy

Isaiah has always been a boy who required a lot of sleep! As a baby he would sleep 13+ hours at night as well as several hours of naps during the day! Much of his great sleep habits we attribute to the sleep training we did when he was little, but much of it is just plain his personality and his personal sleep requirements.

When he was between 1 year and 2 years old he was sleeping in until 9 or 10 am (after a bed time of 8!) and we {really} enjoyed that! But all good things must come to an end, right? Soon after Isaiah turned two he started waking up around 6:30 am. He was still taking a two hour nap during the day and getting about 10 1/2 hours of sleep during the night so he was getting enough sleep for his age, it was just a shock to us as we were so spoiled by his late rising habits for so long! 

I don't know about you but I am NOT a morning person.... and 6:30 was just too early for me. I know, I know... lots of you would be {overjoyed}if you were able to sleep in until 6:30 every morning! But just bear with me and try to imagine my misery. ;)

I started looking into different methods to get Isaiah to stay in bed a little longer, even if he was awake. My goal was to allow him to wake up at whatever time he wanted BUT to stay in bed and not come to wake ME up until a certain time.

I did a lot of research (for those of you who know me, you know I am an {excessive} researcher and don't buy anything until I've spent numerous hours looking into it!). =)

I finally decided to purchase the Sleep Buddy


Here's how the sleep buddy works:

Step #1: Order your sleep buddy and anxiously await for it to arrive in the mail! It comes wrapped like a present which makes it fun for your child to receive and open!!



Step #2: Read your child the story "A Bedtime Surprise" that's included with the sleep buddy and explain to them how the light works. When their sleep buddy light is ON they must stay in bed. When the light goes OFF they are free to get up! Show them the rewards chart that also comes with the light and let them know that every time they wait to get out of bed until the light has gone off, they may put a sticker on their chart. When they fill up each row on the chart they may receive some type of reward.


Step #3: Program the buddy light to the times you want your child to stay put in bed. The light allows you to program a time for one nap as well as night time sleep. Set the light up in a place that's easy for your child to see from their bed. That's it, you're ready to go! 

PROS:
  • The concept is easy for young kids to understand. It can be used with kids as young as 1 1/2! Eloise definitely understands the concept although we don't yet use one with her because she doesn't get out of bed on her own in the morning yet. When doing my research I came across a lot of clocks. And while they were cute, Isaiah was just too little to be able to grasp the concept of a clock, even if did change colors to signal wake up time. Another light I considered was the Kid'Sleep Light but I thought it complicated things more than necessary by having the light either be on the bunny that was awake or the bunny that was asleep. I like the simplicity of the Buddy Light - on = stay in bed, off = get up. 
  • It's small and can sit almost anywhere in the bedroom and be visible to the child (i.e. you can place it up high if you have a child who you think may play with it and reset it during the night). Another light I considered was the OK! to Wake Owl which is a stuffed owl that the child keeps in bed with them. It glows soft yellow at night and then turns green when it's time to wake up. Several reviews on the owl said that the eyes of the owl don't light up, therefore causing a very creepy looking thing that was actually scaring their children in the middle of the night! Lol! Also, people commented that their children were opening up the back of the owl and messing with the settings. Overall not a good choice for us and I'm glad I didn't go with it. 
  • I think having the Sleep Buddy not only taught Isaiah to stay in bed longer but also helped him start sleeping in later too. Before he had the Sleep Buddy, as soon as he became somewhat conscious in the morning he would jump out of bed. Toddlers lack much sense of time so he probably thought he had possibly slept half the day away and he had better see what everyone else was up to (little did he know we were all still sleeping!). Once he got used to the buddy light, he learned to just roll over and look at his buddy light when he started to rouse in the morning. If the light was still on he felt secure knowing that it was still night time and he wasn't missing out on anything and thus he could doze in and out of sleep for a few more hours or minutes. 
  • The Buddy Light is easy to program and all the buttons to program it are located on the bottom of the light with a cover over them. Some lights I researched had their buttons visible on the front of the light and that just seemed like too much of a temptation for little hands to press the buttons and change the settings! 
  • Not only does the Sleep Buddy help our children know when to get OUT of bed but it also helps them know when it's time to GO to bed. We have our light set to come on every night at 7:30 p.m. This is a good signal to the kids to start getting ready for bed and that it's soon bed time. If the light gets unplugged for some reason Isaiah will tell me, "But, it's not bed time, Mom. My Buddy Light's not on!" It's a good sleep association for them. 

CONS:
  • The light only comes in blue and glows faintly blue all night long. After I bought the sleep buddy I learned that blue light actually inhibits the body's production of melatonin (the hormone our bodies naturally produce to help regulate our sleep cycles)! Crazy, huh? The light never had any impact on Isaiah's sleep but once I moved Isaiah and Eloise into the same room together and she could see the buddy light at night, I think it had a slight impact on her not sleeping as well. Kinda contradicts the point of the light, hey? =) We just moved the light so it's visible to Isaiah but not directly to her and she's been fine. So, it may depend on your child how the blue light may affect them.
  • The Sleep Buddy does have a very, very short internal battery but if it gets unplugged for more than a few minutes you have to reset everything. As you can imagine, in a child's room, the light has a tendency to get unplugged by accident fairly often. It's not been a huge deal but something to consider. 


SUMMARY:

Overall, we've been extremely happy with our Sleep Buddy! It took Isaiah a few days to catch on but once he realized that he could put a sticker on his chart every time he stayed in bed until his light went off, he quickly learned what we wanted him to do. We now have his light set for 7:30 a.m. and he rarely gets out of his bed before then, even if he's been awake for a while. And Eloise waits for the sleep buddy to go off too before she starts making much noise in her bed or trying to climb out. Even though she can't see the light directly she can still see a soft glow from it. 

The Sleep Buddy definitely helps us get more sleep in the morning! It also helps me plan the start of my day better. I know that my kids won't be up until 7:30 and it's nice to have that consistency! I would highly recommend the Sleep Buddy if you are longing for the same thing! We've had our Sleep Buddy for a little over a year now and still use it every day.

Here's a little video of Isaiah from a few mornings ago. You can see him laying in bed, awake, and waiting for his light to go off. When it goes off he simply grabs all his stuff and hops out of bed. Simple as that! 


14 comments:

  1. Great review!! I have actually been thinking about looking for a sleep timer for Seth. I'll have to look into this. He generally gets up around 7 which is fine, but if Cameron starts to wake earlier, Seth does too. If it is just Cameron awake for a little while I have time to put my happy face on before Seth comes out and needs cuddles. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Rebekah! It was great seeing you guys today!! =)

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  2. Nice review. I remember those days when my son would get up at 5:30 am. *groan* We never used night lights with our kids, so I'm not sure how I would like the light feature. Seems like it's working great for you. :)

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

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    1. 5:30 am is way too early!!! Glad my kids have never gotten up that early. 6:30 is early enough for me. =) We never used night lights with our kids before this either and surprisingly they adjusted really well to the Buddy Light in their room!

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  3. I remember my girls waking up at the crack of dawn. I was not impressed with that morning wake up time, so I completely understand the desire to sleep a bit later. This seems like a great solution!

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    1. Thanks, Missy! It's been working well for us!

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  4. What a neat invention. I remember those days too of the early waking and wish I would have had something like this. Now that Brady is 8, he can use his clock and finally, FINALLY, appreciates the idea of sleeping in. He told me just this morning, I woke up at 6, closed my eyes and again and BAM, it was 7:30! Yay!

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    1. Haha, I can't wait for the day my kids tell me that! ;)

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  5. oh, that was so long ago for me. I am a morning person and loved my little mini me waking and singing in her crib. I wish I had a way for the 18 & 21 yr olds to NOT sleep so much. :)

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    1. Lol, lucky for you you're a morning person! I am longing for the day when I have teenagers wanting to sleep in. But then when I get to that point I probably will wish they would sleep less too. ;)

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  6. Oh, the things they make these days. This actually sounds like something my brother and sister in law could use with their two very busy boys :) Way back in the day when my daughter was little (day of no gadgets) early rising kids were greeted with early morning cuddle time with me! Same went for the grandkids when they were small. Rule is if you're up early you can come into Nonny's room and snuggle til a 'fair' agreed upon time. NOW.. to teach my dogs about weekends and sleeping late!

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    1. Morning snuggles are a sweet time and I do treasure some of those early morning moments...just as long as they're not too early! =) Good luck with teaching your dogs! lol!

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  7. First of all, Amber, this is my first visit to your blog, and I LOVE your header, the color scheme and the name of your blog! So bright and cheerful and cute! Fantastic work! Second of all, I really love the idea of the Sleep Buddy. What a great tool for parents and kids alike. Thanks for sharing with us!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kristen! I also love your blog! I love the blue and the green and the polka dots are so cute! And the most important part is it's easy to read and navigate which helps out a reader so much. Thanks for stopping by. =)

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