I’m a big fan of keeping Toddler L to a routine. I don’t run a dictatorship in the DADventurer household when it comes to the sprog, but where possible, I do like to keep things to the same time each day. I’ve found that this not only allows Toddler L to understand what is expected as a result of a consistent approach, but it allows Hay and I to have a tiny bit of certainty in a normally uncertain situation.
Take sleep as an example. Since about six months old (she’s now 17 months), Toddler L has pretty much had the exact same sleep routine. This consists of two naps per day (morning around 10.30am and afternoon around 3.00pm) in her own bed, each lasting anywhere from one to two hours. She then goes to bed around 7.30pm and wakes around 7.30am the following morning, although it wasn’t until 11 months old that she started sleeping through.
The great thing about this is that Toddler L has learnt when we want her to go to sleep and she nods off pretty instantly. We’ve always followed the same actions which I think has helped massively – we take her into her darkened bedroom, place her into her cot bed, put her into her baby sleeping bag, give her her comforter, say “night night”, then close the door.
During the Summer though, we did start to encounter a slight issue due to the daylight. She would still go to bed and fall to sleep pretty quickly, but the brightness would wake her, particularly in the morning. We were happy with the current sleep routine, so the last thing we wanted was for 6.00am to become the new 7.30am. I do need a lot of beauty sleep after all.
I therefore got in touch with the lovely folk at The Gro Company – who I’d previously worked with on the Gro-Hush White Noise Baby Calmer – to ask if we could try out and review their Gro Anywhere Blind. They kindly agreed and it has since become one of the main sleep aids we use to ensure that Toddler L keeps to her routine. Here’s my review of the blind:
The product is described as:
A Portable blackout blind for when it’s still too light to say night night! Anyone who has stayed away from home with little ones will know that it can be tricky to create a snoozy sleeping environment when there is too much light flooding in. The versatile Gro Anywhere Blind has been designed to ‘go’ anywhere with you, and can be put in place in minutes. Attaches directly to the glass using suction cups, ensuring a close fit that really does block light properly. Features include:
- Adapts to fit any window up to a maximum size of 130cm x 198cm, new improved version reduces to smaller window sizes than previously, whilst maintaining maximum size.
- New Stars and Moon design
- Comes with handy travel bag
- Premium black out material
- Velcro fastening is easy to use and quick to adjust
- Conforms to highest applicable British and European Standards
On opening the package, I was greeted with a handy travel bag which housed the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind. On taking it out of the bag, I was pleasantly surprised at the large size of the blind – making it ideal for fitting a range of window sizes – and the high quality of how it was put together, e.g. stitching, material etc. Attached to the blind was a number of suction cups for sticking to the window, some Velcro patches for adjusting the size and a moon and stars design which adorned one of the sides.
Fitting the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind to the window is a pretty simple process. Starting with one of the top corners of the window, you stick a suction cup from the corner of the blind onto the glass. You then work across the top of the window sticking the other suction cups to it as you go along. You can then work down each side of the window attaching the suckers to block out the light.
Due to the double size of the window in the sprog’s bedroom, I was then left with a fair bit of excess blind which neatly tucked up and sat on the windowsill. The whole process took no more than a few minutes, so it’s pretty quick to get up and ready – particularly important if you have a kid needing imminent sleep.
As you can see from the photos below, the blackout blind makes a huge difference to the amount of light that enters through the window. The blind doesn’t sit flush to the window all around – not that I’d expect it to – so a bit of light does seep through from the window, but you’re talking about blocking out 90%+ of light (my estimation, not scientifically proven!).
Once we close the curtains in Toddler L’s room – which do have a curtain lining but aren’t anywhere near being considered as blackout – the room is virtually pitch black. The combination of the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind and the curtain make the bedroom perfect for napping during the day and / or bedtime during the Summer when it’s too light outside for sleep.
The compact nature and easy fitting of the blind make it ideal for taking with you if you’re going on holiday or stopping with friends / family. Wherever we go, we attempt to keep Toddler L’s sleeping routines the same – which means a morning nap around 10.30am, an afternoon nap around 3.00pm and bedtime around 7.30pm – so anything which can help us keep things as normal as possible is greatly appreciated.
As such, the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind always comes with us when we’re going away. We’ve used it at my parent’s house, at Hay’s parent’s house and at friends’ houses, both for daytime naps and for bedtime. Each time, it has significantly helped create the right atmosphere for the sprog to go to sleep when we want her to. We have had situations when we didn’t have the blind, or when we’ve forgotten it, and it is noticeably more difficult to get her to sleep when the room is lighter.
As an example, the below photos are of the blackout blind in use at my parent’s house prior to Toddler L’s nap. Due to the size of the blind, it comfortably fits across a triple window and is attached in the same way described above, i.e. pressing the suckers on the window. Again, the blind blocks out a massive proportion of the light that usually floods through the window, with only a tiny bit of light coming through the gaps.
Once the curtains were closed, the room was basically pitch black, making it the perfect habitat for a sleeping kid. You can just about make out the curtains and lampshade in the photo below, it’s not just a black rectangle I’ve uploaded. Honest.
On the whole, we’ve been really impressed with the blind and feel it’s made a massive difference to Toddler L’s sleep when at home and away. However, I do have a couple of niggles. I’ve found the Velcro to be a bit of a faff when trying to make the blind smaller, so I don’t bother using this, I just let the blind bunch up at the side or at the bottom. I’ve also found that the suction cups do come unstuck at times. The blind has never fallen off from the window, but there has been the top corner for instance which has come away from the window.
The Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind costs £29.99 and can be bought from a number of retailers including The Gro Company, Mothercare, John Lewis and Amazon. A quick Google search for ‘portable blackout blind’ shows a number of other products available ranging in price from around a tenner up to the price of the Gro Anywhere Blind.
Although it is pricier than competitors, I’d personally have no qualms in spending 30 quid on it considering the amount of use we’ve got out of it and what a great job it’s done. For the sake of a few quid difference, I’d also personally always prefer to go for a recognised and reputable brand such as The Gro Company.
We’ve used the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind for the best part of six months and I truly believe it has helped with Toddler L’s consistent sleep patterns by blocking out light. The most obvious time being during the day when sunlight through the curtains has the potential to wake her from naps or during the Summer when it’s bright earlier in the morning. There’s so many things which can affect a baby / toddler’s sleep, so it’s great knowing that light isn’t going to be one of them with this blind.
The fact that it is portable and folds up small is also handy because it has allowed us to take it with us when away, meaning that the sprog can keep to her sleep patterns even when we’re not in the house. Just like her comforter or baby sleeping bag, the blackout blind is something we always take with us when staying the night in a hotel or visiting family / friends.
I’ve been really impressed with the size of the blind which means that it fits different size windows, the quality of the material used and the truly awesome job it does at blocking out light. Installation is pretty simple too and it only takes a minute or so to attach it to the window. My only slight negative is that some of the suction cups have come unstuck from the window, however it only takes a second to reattach the sucker.
All in all, a great product which has helped us massively and one I’d be more than happy to recommend to others.
The DADventurer Star Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
Post shared on the following linky:
N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind was sent to me by The Gro Company with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for the product.
[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like what you’ve read? Want more? Pop in your email to get all of the latest posts.”]