It’s rare that I want to shout about a particular product but I’m willing to make an exception for the Gro-clock.

When the girls reached their third birthday they started having mega lie-ins (this coincided with a mega growth spurt) and Dh and I got very spoilt as they often didn’t wake until 8.30am on non-nursery days. Unfortunately this was just a phase (why do the phases we like most last the shortest amount of time?) and by the time they reached three and a quarter they had started waking up well before the lark.

The girls share a bedroom and we don’t have any plans to change this arrangement but it was clear that whoever woke up first would wake the other up (willingly or not) and they would start shouting for dh and I. We would go in and tell them that it was too early and to go back to sleep but they were having none of it and the wake-ups got earlier and earlier.

We spoke to some friends and they had heard of a product that basically told a child when they were supposed to be asleep and let them know when it was time to wake up. A bit of internet searching pointed us towards the Gro-clock and so we bought one.

It works on a very simple premise: a blue screen with stars indicates sleep time. When it’s time to wake up (we set the alarm for a sensible hour) the clock face turns yellow and the picture changes to a smiley sun. The girls were old enough to pick up the concept really quickly and they are now happy to wake up, play for a little while in their bedroom and wait for the clock to change before bellowing MUMMY! DADDY! THE SUN IS SHINING! At this point one or both of us will go in and greet them.

I’m generally quite sceptical about baby and child gadgets and have avoided them in the past but this one (touch wood) seems to work. The girls are (thankfully) sleeping a little bit longer now and like the clock concept as they know that Mummy and Daddy use an alarm to wake up and it makes them feel more grown-up.

I have recommended the clock to several people that have complained about their children waking up at an extremely unsociable hour and I’m starting to sound like I’m on commission! I promise I’m not. It’s just really good to be able to recommend a useful gadget to people.

The only criticism I have is the small picture book that goes with it. It’s a little story that explains how the clock works but the girls were distinctly unimpressed by it as I suspect it’s a little young for them. Personally I think it’s a little bit patronising but I’m a fairly cynical old thing and best ignored…


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