Our three-year-old daughter is a true delight, but she had one not-so-great habit: As soon as she woke up — which in some cases would be as early as 6 am — she would start calling for either me or my wife.
We would be awakened to her shouting “Mommeeeee, come over hereeee!” repeatedly until we would go into her room and get her. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best way to start the day.
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We were a bit at a loss as to what to do, until we took a vacation with some family friends who had two kids around our daughter’s age. To keep their children in bed, they used a sleep training clock — essentially, a clock with a light that changes colors at a set time, giving your child a visual cue of when it’s okay to get up, and when it’s time to settle down.
Me being the tech reviewer I am, I thought to myself that there had to be a smart-home solution to our problem. I found it in the $30 Amazon Echo Glow.
The Echo Glow is a Magic 8-ball-sized orb whose top section is a translucent white; inside are LEDs which change color if you tap on the ball or command it through an Alexa smart speaker.
By chance, I had an Echo Glow that was gathering dust; I put it in my daughter’s room on a shelf, in sight of her bed but out of reach. Then, in the Alexa app, I created two routines: One to turn the light red in the evening, and one to turn it green at 7 am.
My wife and I then told our daughter that she could call for us, but not until the light turned green. Remarkably, it worked: The next morning — and pretty much every morning after that — she waits until the light’s color changes before singing out for us to come get her. There were exceptions, such as when she came down with a fever in the middle of the night, and called for us.
To ensure the light isn’t too distracting at night, you can dim it as part of the routine, and have it increase in brightness at the appointed hour. And, if we want to sleep in a little longer, it’s a simple matter of adjusting the time in the routine.
You could also set up a routine for nap time, but it’s such a moving target that it’s easier just to tell Alexa to change the Echo Glow’s color. However, it’s best to have a smart speaker in another room — our child has figured out how to ask Amazon’s assistant to turn on our living room lights and ask for the weather, so it would be a simple matter for her to change it to green when she felt like it.
Outside of nap time, we’ve found that the Echo Glow is also a handy teaching tool for colors: she loves tapping it, and then saying the color that appears.
Best of all: my wife and I are back to getting a good night’s sleep.