Friday, December 14th, 2007
Review: KID’Sleep Wake-up Time Indicator for Children
What time does your tot drag you out of bed every morning? I know when mine does precisely — 7:30 a.m. A new clock in our home has brought a sense of normalcy to our sleep.
The KID’Sleep clock by Claessens’Kids serves two roles. For babies, it is a night light, displaying a cute illuminated cartoon image of a baby bunny sleeping on a hammock under the moon. (See photos at bottom of article.)
For toddlers, the clock is a way of conveying a wake-up time before they understand how to tell time. An illuminated scene shows the bunny sleeping in a bed. At a preconfigured time, that image goes dark and another above it lights up to show the bunny trotting along wearing a backpack in daylight. An optional bird chirping alarm can also play.
How We Use It
My 3-year-old daughter has gone through three wake-up phases.
1) Cry-out for Mom and Dad. By default, we woke up when she did. That lasted until around the third birthday, most recently waking up between 6 and 6:30 a.m. every day.
2) Cry-out and we shout back that it’s not time to get up yet. One of three things then occurred: she went back to bed and lay there talking to her stuffed animals, she played with her toys until we got up, or she came into our room and jumped on our bed.
Then this summer we got spoiled. As the sun rose later, so did our daughter. This taught me that when she sees sunlight peeking out around her blackout curtains, she has programmed herself to jump awake. But then the ending of Daylight Saving Time ruined our blissful mornings.
3) Obey the bunny. When the KID’Sleep clock arrived, I told my daughter that she’ll stay sleeping when the bunny sleeps and get up when the bunny wakes. She loved the idea.
I set the wake-up time for 7:30 a.m., knowing from this past summer it was a plausible target.
After a week’s use, she consistently stays in bed until the bunny wakes. To my surprise, she doesn’t sit there staring at the clock. She lies back down and closes her eyes and sleeps for stretches of time, occasionally rechecking the bunny’s status. On the second day, I learned to turn off the audible alarm because sometimes she’s asleep when it goes off. Bingo!
If this magical pattern doesn’t hold, the bunny will still serve to indicate when it’s okay to wake up Mom and Dad. Oh how I would love to see a custom faceplate designed featuring sleeping and awake parents.
Five Minute Setup
The unit is comprised of conjoined large and small baby blue plastic circles shaped somewhat like two cheese rounds turned on end. The large circle has a 7-inch diameter and displays the bunny. The smaller circle has a 2-inch diameter, with a digital clock and controls. Configuring everything is simple.
1. Position one of the two bunny faceplates onto the clock face and twist an inch clockwise to secure it. Each faceplate has a nubbin in its center for easy pick-up and turning.
Store the unused faceplate on two hooks located on the back of the clock.
The bunny is lit by two tiny 0.6 watt (0.05A , 12V) light bulbs which, after a full night in use, leave the unit’s exterior still cool to the touch. The clock comes with two bulbs already installed, and two spares in the packaging. Replacing the bulbs requires a screwdriver.
2. Plug in the power cord. The clock doesn’t have battery back-up, so save time by plugging it in where you plan to use it.
3. Set the time and the alarm. One button scrolls you through the hour and minute placeholders. Two other buttons increase or decrease the number.
Because this is a European clock, time is told in 24-hour format. So 1 p.m. is 13, 2 p.m. is 14, 3 p.m. is 15, and so on. If you have military or health care experience, this is old hat, and probably preferable (my wife’s brain thinks in 24-hour format). If not, it’s no big deal because you primarily use the digital clock to configure the wake-up lights.
4) Flip a switch to one of four settings indicated by icons:
- Power symbol: ON/OFF
- Star: Nightlight setting (both lights on)
- Star with Moon: Wake-up setting (one light on, alternating between wake and sleep images).
- Alarm clock: Same as the wake-up setting, but with a mild bird call alarm.
5) Whether in night light or wake-up mode, the parent turns the unit on at bedtime and off in the morning.
The clock’s one failing is its ineffectiveness for use with daytime naps. It would require setting a new wake-up time each day, once for a nap and again at bedtime. A handy improvement would be an extra button you click to set a temporary nap time. Say, if it worked in 15 minute increments, you could click it four times and the waking bunny would appear in an hour. But, our naps never had a stringent wake-up time, so this is a minor feature request.
The KID’Sleep hails from Switzerland, but is brought to North America by way of Arf Kids in the United Kingdom. Arf ships to the US and Canada, complete with the proper AC adapter for our electrical sockets. It wouldn’t normally come with the correct adapter; Arf Kids swaps the default adapter for the correct one when it ships to North American addresses.
The clock sells for £35 and £6 shipping. Today’s US dollar value brings that out to $83.59 (see Yahoo’s currency converter). Normally I might think that a little pricey and curse the American administration that put our dollar in the toilet. But then I remember that kids usually begin learning to tell time around age 5, meaning the KID’Sleep stands to get 3 to 4 years use from one child. Or, to put it another way, when used as a wake-up tool for 2 years, that translates to as many as 730 blissful mornings. What’s that worth to you?
The Bunny has Landed
The clock has added an element of tranquility to bedtime. When I turn it on, it first functions as a night light as my daughter falls asleep, but because the bunny “interacts” with my daughter as a wake-up messenger, it’s something more. We don’t talk about “the clock,” it’s “the bunny.”
The bunny is sleeping with her and the bunny is waking her up.
One of the evenings when I checked on her before I went to sleep, I found myself standing in her room staring at the soft glow of that sleeping bunny. Maybe it was due to the artwork being so cute, but it was a pinch-me moment. A few years ago I was some schmoe and now I’m a father with a happy, healthy 3-year-old daughter who is sleeping soundly in the soft glow of this bunny.
[KID'Sleep was provided to Thingamababy for review by Arf Kids at my request. I profiled KID'Sleep here last year, leading off the article saying, "I don't know if I need a KIDS'Sleep clock, but I want one." Well, obviously I still wanted one and now realized the need. What a difference a year makes.]