How do I wake my child up at 5am for school in a way where he won't freak out with a loud alarm?Reading through out the years suggests that its easier on the body and mind to wake up slowly, becoming aware of the light coming through the window is a way to do that. Just like in the good old days!!
Being the frugal person
For this project I knew I wanted:
- The light to turn on sometime between 4:55 am and 5:05 am and stay on until he left on the bus at 6:00am,
- A soft light without an exposed bulb.
- Mounted above his headboard to as close as I could get it.
- While we're at it, lets have the light come on at the start of the bedtime routine at 8:00pm and have it shut off automatically at bedtime (8:30pm).
- I didn't want to spend more than $30.
Really all I needed was a digital timer and a lamp!!
The timer was the easy part although we tried an old fashioned Christmas tree light type timer first and it wasn't as accurate as we wanted, switching to digital was the solution. What we got was something very similar to this:
The On/Off button has proved to be most helpful for days like today when we have a SNOW DAY!! (I didn't even think of that when we were searching for timers). These run between $10-20... Check your after Christmas sales now since they are mostly used for setting Christmas tree lights.
Next up: A Lamp! Ikea to the rescue!! Long ago Ikea became my go-to for many of my zany ideas and this time they had *exactly* what I needed!
I'm sad to report that this model is no longer available according to their website (but I've seen some on ebay), I loved it because the bulb was enclosed, it was wall mountable and the "canister" spun so I could use it as an uplight on really dark mornings when only a little light was needed or a downlight on mornings when the sun rises early and a little extra is necessary. It's a soft light and not jarring in any way.
You might not be able to find that exact light but never fear! There are more lights that I think will work just as well:
This one is a great price at $8.99 but has an exposed bulb, a problem we had planned on solving by facing the light towards another wall or the ceiling.This one is pretty and will run you $20 but it's glass so beware if you have an ahem impulsive child like mine ;)
If table lamps work best for you, there are great options too:
This one is paper and costs $6.99
This one is plastic and costs $4.99, these were the first lamps we put in the boys rooms when they were toddlers because they couldn't touch the bulb unless they took apart the lamp first :)
Or maybe this is the perfect time to try out one of these in your decor. I've always liked them but never had a good spot for one! The shade is $4.99, the cord set to run it from the plug up to the ceiling is $5.
Or in COLORS! ($4.99 for the shade, $5 for the cord set)
Obviously, I've had a lot of fun with the project. In the end it was because it WORKED that made it so much fun. Each morning his lamp turns on at 5am and although it is not enough to wake him up fully, it is enough to start waking him up without that jarring alarm sound. Once he is out of that deep sleep, just moving around in his room or giving him a hug finishes waking him up and asking about what he wants for breakfast gets him out of bed and talking. The light turns itself off at 6am which is the time we are usually outside waiting for the bus.
At the end of the day, the light turns itself back on at 7:00pm and shuts off at 8:30pm which has completely stopped any complaining or fussing about not wanting to go to bed or "but I was reading" pleas.
This has truly saved my sanity, in addition to helping my 12 year old wake up and go to bed it also has the added benefit of being silent so it doesn't also wake up my 9 year old who has a wake up time of 7:00am, not 5:00am.
Autism chic? Autism decor? Autism crafts? Whatever you want to call it, when I find something that helps I want to share it with everyone! Maybe it will save your sanity as well :)
PS- I searched for lamps on Ikea's website but obviously they aren't the only place to go for inexpensive lamp styles! I would shop and compare prices on Amazon and Overstock as well.