Because Miss O co-slept through infancy, we didn't have a TON of trouble keeping her in her bed when we moved to a toddler bed in her own room around 16 months. Sure, there's the occasional night that she would get up and come to the living room when she heard us and friends chatting during our Financial Peace University class or Bible Study. And we've had a few sleep-walking type events at midnight or 1am. But these things are truly the exception not the rule.
Mornings, too, haven't been a huge issue. Because O loves cuddling in our bed (and so do we!), if she wakes up "too early" in the morning, she comes straight to our room. So long as she has a binki, she cuddles in just fine for a few more minutes of rest for mama and dada. And again, while it's rare, a little Curious George on an iPhone will keep her busy for 30-60 minutes if mom and dad want to sleep LATE (aka, 9am).
But even before O, we had friends who SWORE by the concept of a toddler clock. You might know the type (this one seems to be the most famous brand). The idea of these clocks is that your toddler learns what colors mean what-- blue as time to go to bed, yellow as time to wake up (or get out of bed)... and the fancier ones have timer functions as well with red for "time out" and green as "reward time." I've always heard AMAZING things about these guys. And even considered buying one, not as a need to keep O in bed, but as a want to teach her independence with her daily routine/schedule. The problem for this cheap-o mama... these guys can cost $50!!!
But this week, I learned about a GREAT idea that I think would possibly work just as well. The simple dial timer! My family bought these a couple years back when our home was broken into. We decided to put timers on the living room lights so that they come on and off in the evening, even while we're out. And despite the fact that our anxiety about burglars has significantly reduced, I still enjoy having the timer on difficult to reach lamps. I change the times along with the sunset times at different times of year too, which helps cut down on using lights during the day time when we can use sunlight from the windows instead.
But the brilliant idea this week was to install one of these little guys onto a lamp or string of Christmas lights in the toddler's room! You can set the timer to turn the string of lights on at the "right" time to get up and out of bed. With the slightly fancier ones, you could even set a second timer to turn the lights on at the end of a previously scheduled nap time too! And the BEST part, these guys cost about $4-5!! Amazing.
What work-arounds do you and your family use to save money in comparison to the typical item on the Toys'R'Us shelf?