What is this? Lazy Guy DIY Parenting Advice now? No, but honestly… if we’re talking about pure laziness then it makes sense that Sleep Training our Toddler with a Smart Home Light falls right into place with my content.
While at Haven Conference my wife (I brought her out in public!) and I were talking to other couples about our kids and the topic of Sleep Training came up. I chimed in that I used our Philips Hue Smart Lights I reviewed a while back to tame the sleep regression toddler beast. Wait what? How? So I’ll share it with you here.
My wife and I lucked out with kid #1 (paying for it with kid #2). At 7 weeks old she started sleeping through the night. Don’t you roll your eyes at me! Then around the time kid #2 was announced all hell broke loose. Our happy little girl turned into a full on Exorcist Demon at bedtime and then repeatedly in the middle of the night. Oh, let her cry it out people said… our daughter would actually projectile vomit she’d get so worked up. At least she wasn’t levitating…
We tried all sorts of methods to get her to sleep (and stay asleep)… nothing. I think my breaking point was when she was screaming like a banshee running away from me at 2am. It was a funny reality check that I had to laugh, that yes I am an adult, and I’m responsible for this child. But then an idea hit.
Smart Home Solution
Around this same time I had been doing a Smart Home Product review for Home Depot and realized she really loved the Smart Lights. You could make them any color with the press of a button. What do kids love almost as much as chicken nuggets and awful cartoons? Colorful things. Specifically something that’s their favorite color. It’s one of the few things kids can control in their life at that age. I have a favorite color and everything in my world should reflect this. In our case… PINK!
Because for some reason my daughter’s room came with a chandelier I picked up a pack of Philips Hue E12 Decorative Candle Bulbs. I’d already been using the Philips Hue Bulbs around the house, so I already had my Hue Bridge Set up and ready to go. Now comes the fun.
Setting The Trap
With everything all set up I called the kid into the room and say “hey, what’s your favorite color?” I know damn well it’s pink, but I’m humoring her. Oh, you mean like this? With a press of the button the whole room goes pink and the kid is on cloud nine in amazement. I know I know… in the photo is looks purple-ish but it is most definitely pink.
“What would you think about instead of having a night light, we’ll turn your whole room pink at nighttime? Okay, we’ll give it a try tomorrow, but only if you do a good job going to sleep tonight with no issues.”
Like shooting fish in a barrel. The ultimate reward. Her entire world turned her favorite color.
Building The Routine
After our reward night we built turning the lights pink into our nighttime routine. Between reading a book and tucking the kiddo in we pull out our Smart Phone and queue up the Hue App. One press of the button and we’re plunged into pink. Luckily her favorite color isn’t red or our neighbors would be wondering why our daughter’s room looked like Amsterdam.
In order to keep her engaged, we started letting her press the button as another layer of reward after each night. After that, we let her choose her own custom color combos for special rewards. Because her fancy chandelier has four bulbs, that’s four different colors that can be chosen on the color wheel. There are literally millions of color options. Just as easily as those lights can turn on… we can just as easily turn them off anywhere in the house if things start go south. The threat alone is enough to quiet our daughter down.
Within a night or two, we were back to sleeping through the night. Thank you Smart Bulbs!
Get Smarter With Smart Bulbs
Having a fancy night light isn’t the only benefit we found. Once your toddler realizes they can get out of bed by themselves it opens up a whole new world of concerns. Mostly… it’s 5am and I want to get up. We’ve never had that issue (knock on wood) but during nap time we have a similar struggle.
So to solve that issue we pop right into the App set a timer for the lights to turn green letting her know it’s okay to get up. Or you can set a routine that every morning at 7am the lights turn green and they are allowed to leave their room. With a new baby in the house a lot times we find ourselves trapped under a sleeping baby, so what do you do when you hear your toddler screaming from their room asking if they can get up? Turn the light green and listen for the pitter patter of little feet come running your way.
Of course every child is different when it comes to sleeping, but I honestly feel like there’s something to the whole ownership of a color that’s a perfect reward. We tried little toys and M&M’s and the sort for good sleep behavior but it wore off after a few days. This has been going strong for over a year. We even have our Amazon Echo hooked up so we can voice command the lights as well. It’s an added wrinkle of convenience and fun that keeps the illusion of control on her part going and us sleeping through the night. Kiddo #2 is getting closer and closer to the age of understanding and you can darn well bet we’re going the same approach.
Philips Hue Bulbs come in a variety of sizes (even rope lights), just remember you need the Bridge to get started. It might seem like a hefty investment, but the bulbs have around a 50,000 hour run time. That’s like leaving them on for 5 years straight. And I don’t know about you… but sleep is very valuable to me.
~ Lazy Guy
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