How I reclaimed my mornings with a Groclock
I wake up to see my three-year-old standing next to my bed. I check the time on my phone. 4:15am.
“It’s the middle of the night, sweetie,” I say.
“I didn’t know if it was day or night,” she says. Understandable, given that it’s as dark at 8am as it is at 4am this time of year.
“It’s night,” I say, hoping this will prompt her to go back to bed.
She considers this. “Can I sleep in your bed?”
I’m too tired to argue. “Climb in.”
“Daddy’s in the way.” She pokes my husband. “Daddy, you’re in my way.”
Our double bed is too small for three of us, so he grabs his pillow and heads for the couch.
This can’t go on, I think.
These visits were becoming more regular. As much as love my kid, I don’t really want to see her face hovering over my bed in the early morning hours.
It was time to give in.
I ordered a Groclock*.
A Groclock is a clock that helps children understand when it’s time to get up. When you set the clock at bedtime, the clock face turns blue and displays stars. When it’s morning (and crucially, parents get to decide what constitutes ‘morning’), the clock face turns yellow and shows a sun.
When I told my daughter that she was getting a clock to help tell her when it was morning, she was thrilled. This kid loves clocks. She has insisted on wearing a watch since the age of two, despite the fact that she has no concept of time. She’s quite happy to check it and announce, “It’s seven and six!”, but less happy when I tell her that means that it’s 7:30 and we need to hurry if we’re going to catch the bus to nursery.
“I don’t want to hurry!” she says.
“Well, neither do I, but that’s what happens when we move slowly,” I say.
“I’m not moving slowly!” she says.
She is, though, in that way that only small children who have no sense of urgency can move. So every day we run out of the house to chase down the bus, my daughter wearing a watch that’s essentially just an expensive bracelet with some numbers on it.
Anyway, the Gloclock arrived. She watched me set it and got very excited when the stars came out.
“Remember, it’s not daytime until you see the sun,” I said.
“And don’t touch the buttons, because then it might not work,” I added. I’d heard stories of children who had worked out how to press the clock’s buttons in the right order to make the sun appear whenever they wanted. My daughter’s clever like that, but she’s also pretty well-behaved, and I figured she’d leave it alone.
And so she went to bed. As did I, fingers crossed. When she eventually came into my room, it was to announce, “THE SUN IS UP ON MY CLOCK!” She insisted that I come into her room to see it.
“I waited for the sun for a long time,” she said, telling me how she watched the stars disappear one by one until the sun finally appeared.
Well, look at that, I thought. It worked. It worked like gangbusters.
We still have the odd night when she appears at my bedside in the early morning because she’s ‘had a bad dream’ (I’m pretty sure she just wants an excuse to sleep in my bed), but generally she stays put until she sees the sun on her clock. I’m kicking myself for not getting a Groclock in the summer, when I spent a lot of time trying to explain that it’s not daytime just because the sun is out – and in Scotland, summer sunrise can come as early as 4:30am.
I’m not saying the Groclock can work miracles. Your kid may ignore it completely. If they’re too young, they probably won’t get the concept. But if you’re tired of seeing their face at stupid o’clock, give it a go. It’s the best £20 I’ve spent in ages, and that includes my last trip to Waitrose, where my haul included spinach ricotta dip and smoked hummus. If you’re not eating smoked hummus right now, you’re missing out on one of the tastiest things you can put in your mouth. Just sayin’.
*This is not a sponsored post. Groclock didn’t send me a free clock or pay me to write this. I just genuinely can’t believe how well this clock has worked, and am stupidly grateful to have my mornings back.