As a parent of three kids who seemed to be allergic to sleep for a very long time, and still like to wake up early, I love this idea from MamaWise. Not only could it be a lifesaver for sleep-deprived parents, it’s educational too, helping to form some early ideas about the concept of telling the time.
Time can be a hard thing for young children to grasp. In the winter the fact that it is dark is a good clue that they should go back to bed but summer tends to confuse things. Most parents have had a bleary-eyed toddler stumbling into their room at 4am telling them it’s time to get up.
All you need is a cheap clock that you can remove the face from and some marker pens. You should decide what time you think is a reasonable hour for them to get out of bed and start their day.
Using the MamaWise clock as an example, the children had to stay in their beds until 6 a.m, so 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. became RED. If they wake after that they can play or read quietly in their room between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. so that hour is YELLOW. At 7 a.m. they are allowed to come out of their rooms to begin their day, so 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. is coloured GREEN. Make sure you put a circle sticker on the hour hand of the clock to avoid confusion.
You can explain the clock to your children like this:
RED means STAY IN BED – it’s still time to be sleeping
YELLOW means MELLOW activities (reading or quiet play)
GREEN means GO and they can come out of their room
When the hand with the sticker points to a colour, they know what to do! It’s easier on parents to not have to tell your children ‘go back to bed for another hour!’ every five minutes, and helps the children feel they have some control over their own day. Hopefully it’s a winning situation all round.
Let us know if you try this at home and how you get on!