One of the number one issues most parents of small children, like myself, have is getting enough sleep. Small children, shockingly, seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to sleep schedules! After about six months of much lack of sleep, we were lucky enough that our son started sleeping through the night for about 10-12 hours on average. Until two weeks ago.
For no apparent reason, our son, now two years old, started waking up two or three hours early and crying out for us until we came and got him up. He didn’t seem afraid, as if he’d had a nightmare, or upset, or in need of a diaper change. He just wanted to get out of bed early! We tried all of the tricks we had tried when we first got him to start sleeping through the night but none of those worked.
We had also recently been looking into toddler alarm clocks because we are planning, in the near future, to upgrade him to his big boy room and bed which means he’ll have a lot more freedom while we are asleep. We had decided on the OK to Wake! Owl by Onaroo and put it in our shopping list for later, but with the urgent need to do something about the change in sleep, we decided to pull the trigger and order it as quickly as possible.
This little owl packs quite a lot of functionality into a little package but the controls are very easy and straightforward. All of the features can be set and controlled with just these 4 little buttons. The owl has three basic modes – Timers Off, Wake on, and Nap On.
In “Timers Off” mode, the button on the owl’s tummy will activate the timed night-light (his face glows yellow) and play a lullaby. The light and lullaby play for five minutes by default but the auto-off and the volume can both be adjusted. Hitting the tummy button will also turn it off.
“Wake On” mode is really where the magic happens. You set what time you want your child to stay in bed until, 7:00 am for us, and if the tummy button is pressed before that time, the tummy will glow yellow and give your child a message. The message itself changes based on how far away it is from wake-up time. If it’s less than 15 minutes, the owl says “Just a little bit longer” and if it’s more, the owl says “Go back to sleep now.” The message is followed by a lullaby. The same auto-off and volume settings apply here.
Once wake-up time arrives, the owl glows green and the green light will stay on for 30 minutes. The idea here is that if your child is already awake or wakes shortly after the light goes on, he will see the green light and know it is ok to get up or call out to you to get them up.
The final mode is “Nap On.” In this mode, you set a nap duration between 15 minutes and 12 hours and the owl functions just like in “Wake On” mode. The nice thing is that 60 minutes after the nap timer ends, the owl switches back to “Wake On” mode so you don’t have to remember to switch back and forth all the time.
The owl takes three AA batteries, thankfully included, and the outer plush owl comes off easily for washing.
So how did it work for us? The first night we got the owl, we put him in our son’s crib, showed him how the button worked and explained to him that his owl would turn green and let him know when he could call us in the morning. As expected, he woke up the next morning at 4:45 and started calling for us. We hit the talk button on our baby monitor (which we rarely use these days) and told him to push the owl’s tummy to see if it was time to get up yet. That lasted about ten minutes and then we had to get him up.
We repeated this over the next couple of days. He quickly learned to push the button on the owl to check for himself and we frequently caught him pushing the button to get the night-light and lullaby before drifting off to sleep for the night. We could hear him wake up a little later each day, push the button and then quite down or snuggle with the owl and go back to sleep.
It’s now been a week and a half and this morning since we first gave him the owl and he didn’t even wake up until the green light went on! The extra sleep we’re getting and how easily our son learned to use it make this a bargain at only $30. I’d have paid a lot more for extra sleep when he was first born. I would recommend giving this a try to anyone having trouble with a toddler staying in bed or asleep as long as you’d prefer.