Saturday, May 18, 2013

Morning Lights = Quiet Nights

I

  • Currently, Esky goes to bed at 7:00pm, and Ivy at 8:00pm (ah, the afternoon napper). 
  • A set of fairy lights suspended from the ceiling in their room turns on at 7:00am and stays on until 8:30am (see above -- 8:30am -- I've just drawn the curtains).
  • When the lights are on, the girls are allowed to get out of bed and climb into "the big bed" ("big" -- HA!  It stopped being big about two kids ago).
  • Some mornings, the girls come in bang on 7:00am.  Most mornings, they quietly sneak in at different times -- Esky around 7:30am, Ivy closer to 8:00am.  Many mornings, after arriving, they fall back asleep under my arms for another 45 minutes.  Some days they prove how tired they really were and both don't show until almost 8:30am, but don't go back to sleep.
  • So yes, I get out of bed after 8:00am most days.
The point of this story, is not to gloat, although I know I've got it pretty good just now.

I do want you to know that:
  • ...both of my girls understand that they should go back to sleep until "the lights are on;"    
  • ...neither of them wakes because the lights went on (as they are so subtle); and 
  • ...both of them resettle quietly after waking (i.e. without waking me) if the lights aren't on.  You see, before the lights, I would have night-time visitors at all hours (which was welcomed for a season, during transition), as well as called out questions, "Can I come in your bed yet?" / "Is it morning?" / "When can I come see you?"  Now I don't have those questions, because the answer is given by the lights -- if they are on, the answer is "yes," if they are off, the answer is "not yet."  This all goes to the crapper if they are sick -- they frequently come in and languish whenever/whatever/however.
This works for us.  And that is why I share.
Our schedule may not translate for you, or how we use the lights may not suit your needs (maybe you don't want your humes climbing in your bed, but would rather they had a cue of when they may get up and play/read quietly and/or an end-time of when they may leave the room), but the system is too good not to share...as it may help someone else.  It helps us immensely...year round (because kids going by how light/dark it is outside for their answer can possibly be the end of you).  Orrrr your kids may have slept as you wanted for years now through your sleep training / regimen / style / system.  Good for you.

If not, and you need something -- this way there are no power-plays or sleep-deprived negotiations, and no real cons to it (if you have an alarm or music, you could wake the kids before they might have woken naturally). 

Just remember daylight savings and power cuts will mess with your timer.

Apart from that, it's a very cheap option, compared to purpose-made clocks for kids.  And going with fairy lights is a lot cheaper than an Ikea clock or designer whatever (which was what I saw stylishly suggested when I saw a shared variation of how to do this, here -- thank you!)  Our lights are suspended from a tiny hook in the ceiling, alongside a li'l birdhouse.  I like the symbolism.  Sue me.

What we spent:

Fairy lights (Purchased on sale after Christmas, the shortest ones they sell): $1.99
24-hour Timer: $3.99 (I've never seen them for more than $5.  These are available at most hardware stores, and all large ones.)
TOTAL: $5.98  ($6)
Neety Greety:
If you want to try it (with a light or some other plug-in-able-thing), look out for something like this (above), and then push down the little black tabs between the times you need lights on. You can adjust in 15 minute increments as you refine your system.  Timers have an override switch that allows you to turn the appliance on outside this time too (if say, you use it for a bedside lamp, and need to switch it on for a bedtime story).
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