Technology and kids. If you’ve been following my online ramblings long enough, you probably know that I’m hesitantly cautious whenever new tech comes along that in some way involves the little ones. I put my money on crushing the “App Toy” trend a couple years ago – those annoying items that required someone else’s technology (like a quickly-outdated smartphone or tablet) to be inserted in it to run. Once the tech was obsolete, so was the toy. I was the mean Dad that bought a new crossover without screens in the back, and I absolutely despise seeing grownups instinctively shove “devices” into their kids hands like a micro-chipped pacifier (funny enough, we really didn’t do actual pacifiers with our girls, either). I’ve actually had other people’s children tug on my shirt asking to use my phone to “play a game.” No. As an adult, I’m already too tethered to my gear, so I’d rather my kids not be. But, like most things, tech can be great in moderation, and there’s some fine stuff out there that serves a real purpose if you’re looking in the right place. Unexpected tech, like the elo™ Pillow.
On the surface, “My Storytime Pillow” could be misconstrued as a replacement for parents reading to children, and that’s far from the case… not to say that some wouldn’t attempt to abuse the technology as a hand-off, as there’s always someone. The reality is that elo is a well-thought product with good intentions that comes with the backing of Doctors. Parent-designed, Doctor-endorsed, the science behind it was approved by a trio of experts known as the “Dreams Team,” with the goal of teaching kids healthy sleep habits, while helping parents end the “Bedtime Battle” by getting the little ones into bed and off to sleep in a stress-free manner.
Our routine here at Rock Father HQ has grown more complicated over time, but the gist of it is that on most nights my wife and I switch around 8pm, and as I get started on work for the night and head off to the gym, she gets the girls bathed, into their pajamas, hair and teeth brushed, and then they sit in the rocking chair for storytime (usually a couple of books) before getting tucked-in. On nights that my wife works late, I do the same routine.
In theory, we should be good – but the girls have become harder and harder to actually get to stay in bed. Right there, that is our battle – to get them to stay in their beds. They want to keep talking, playing, switching rooms, anything but sleep. They’ll try to get us into their beds with them (not possible with two-year-old Finley, but it’s happened with five-year-old Addie), and either throw a fit when we leave, or show up behind the gate at the top of the stairs looking to have a conversation… at 11pm. Not cool when we all have to be up at 6am to start the new day.
What the elo pillow does is present the child with a “SleepList,” a selection of stories, ambient noise and sounds, each around 25-30 minutes in length. After a parent or child starts the pillow (with the push of a button), a chime signals that it’s time to get started. The little one lays their head down and is treated to a story – each presented in gentle, super-low volume (there is no volume control), and if the child lifts their head from the pillow, it asks them in a slightly louder voice to lay back down so that the story can continue. Soothing, stress-reducing sounds, and off to sleep they go.
Now, we’ve only tried our elo Pillow with Addie this month (we’ll let Finn try it soon), and… it works, and that’s pretty unexpected. We’ve got a few different SleepLists to choose from, starting with the pre-loaded tale from CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, and new ones can be synced via Wi-Fi (I’ve done this a few times), with classics like CURIOUS GEORGE, GOODNIGHT MOON and THE BERENSTAIN BEARS available via the elo store, right alongside newer titles and elo originals.
Curious to learn more or add an elo pillow to your routine? They’re available exclusively at the elo website for $149.
Bonus: If you’re reading this before October 23, 2014 (my birthday, in case you’re wondering), join the @eloPillow #BedTimeBattle Twitter Party for a chance to win one of six (6) elo pillows or a $100 Visa Gift Card. I’ll be co-hosting (@TheRockFather) along with @LifeOfDadShow, @Dad_Or_Alive and @DaddyMojo. There is no RSVP required, just please be following all of us to play along. The action starts at 9pm ET.