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By Clare Fahey

Lots of the families that I have worked with have had problems with their children waking up super early. This is a common problem and stems from being overtired. One way to combat this is an earlier bedtime. Another way of tackling it especially with toddlers or slightly older children is by using a toddler clock. A toddler clock is a clock that uses a picture or coloured lights to signal to the child that it is morning. This means that they know when they are allowed to get up because of the colour of the light that is showing.

There are lots of different toddler clocks around and recently I was sent one to review. This was Pam the Penguin from Zazu Kids.

I love how cute Pam is, but apart from looks Pam is also very functional. Pam is a nightlight, a toddler clock and a Bluetooth speaker.

Pam has buttons on the bottom to set a time for your child to get up, just like a regular alarm clock. But instead of sounding an alarm Pam turns orange half an hour before your set time, letting your child know that it is almost time to get up…during this time they could play quietly in their bed, or in their room, then Pam turns green at the time you have set, when they are allowed out of their room. Pam has a soft glow, so shouldn’t wake your child if by some miracle they are still asleep at this time.

When used alongside family sleep rules, rewards charts for staying in bed and consequences for getting up early, a toddler clock could be the difference between having breakfast at 5 or having it at 7. An age appropriate time for young children to be waking up is anywhere between 6am and 7am. If your child has been waking earlier than this you could start off with it set at 6am, then creep the time forward by 15minutes every couple of days until they are waking at a time that you are happier with.

As well as the orange and green lights that come on in the morning there is also a nightlight setting. This can be plugged in and go all night, or use the rechargeable battery and go for 10min. There is a choice of colours for this light…..blue, red, white or pink. While all of the colours look great, I would recommend using the red or pink settings as these colours won’t affect the body’s production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) Melatonin is needed in high enough levels to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is why screen time before bed isn’t advised.

The other feature of Pam is the Bluetooth speaker. I love the idea of this as you can play white noise or soothing music from your phone. Keep in mind though that the Bluetooth only reaches so far. If you have a large house, it probably won’t reach from one end to the other. I tried out the speaker at home and it worked from anywhere in the house, but cut out when I was outside. When I tried it at preschool it cut out when I went out to the hallway.

Overall I think Pam the Penguin is a fantastic product and is perfect for children aged 2 and up. Before that age the speaker would be handy but they wouldn’t understand the concept of the lights.

Disclaimer: Zazu Kids have sent this product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.
If you would like to find out where you can buy Pam or another Zazu product visit where to buy.

Clare Fahey
Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Sleep Harmony NZ Ltd

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By Clare Fahey

Soft toy that soothes your baby

Have you ever wished that your musical soft toy would turn itself on when your baby is unsettled in the middle of the night? There is one that will do just that… Don the Donkey reacts to sound and will come back on for 10 minutes with a baby’s cries.

Musical soft toy Don the Donkey

I was sent Don the Donkey to review for ZAZU Kids. At first, I was sceptical as I don’t advocate for toys in the cot; especially for children less than 1 year. But after using Don for a month in an infant sleep room I have decided that this musical soft toy is definitely worth it. We just sit Don on the floor or the window sill and let the sounds sooth the children.

Don with moduleDon the Donkey is a very cute soft toy with a velcro opening in his tummy. Inside there is a removable module with an on/off button, volume dial and four buttons that play melodies: one button plays different kinds of lullabies, a button that plays a heartbeat sound, a button that plays white noise and one that plays nature sounds. Once you press one of the buttons, it will play the chosen sound for 10 minutes before switching off.

Cry sensor

If Don senses crying, he will come back on with the last setting that was used. With soft cries it takes Don 3 minutes to come back on (which can be a long time when you are waiting for it). With loud cries, or a door banging, the donkey will come back on straight away. The animal continues to play if your little one is still crying, then turns off once they have been quiet for 10 minutes. In addition, Don also switches back on when you shake the animal.

I have found that different children seem to settle with different sounds. Younger babies seem to settle with the heartbeat sound, some children fancy white noise and others like the lullabies. The other day the sleep room was full, some children were calm and quiet, and others weren’t. I was waiting for Don to come back on and once he did: one of the children who had been standing up and chatting, suddenly lay down turned over and was asleep in about 30 seconds! I was amazed that the music had had such a massive effect on her. It shows that because we have been using Don consistently, she has built up a sleep association to the music.

Disclaimer: ZAZU Kids have sent this product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by ZAZU Kids.

Clare Fahey
Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Sleep Harmony NZ Ltd

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By Mama van Dijk

Holidays

Vacation! Well, let’s hope so. It means a couple of weeks off from nursery, no grandparents that could watch over the little one and no more fixed working days for me. It sounds relaxing to have no obligations for a while, but could I get the desired extra sleep I need as well? Perhaps ZAZU’s Sam the Lamb could help me!

 

Optimism

The final big holiday of my little girl is around the corner before ‘real’ school life begins. Primary school! Next year she starts and I am feeling pretty anxious about it – yes, I am that type mother – but my little one is feeling rather excited.

I put my work on the back burner and I am hoping for longer nights while my little girl is entertaining herself with pink dresses, puzzles and coloring pictures (too optimistic?)

ZAZU Sleeptrainer

So I bought a sleeptrainer and a large supply of green tea to protect against fatigue advised by my dietitian and mother. I have to admit, the bags under my eyes were getting bigger and bigger. Before school starts again in a couple of weeks, could I pleeease get some more sleep? Waking up around 7 am for example? Or what about 7.30 am? It sounds like a dream. From a tip from a friend of mine, I bought Sam the Lamb. The next day, my toddler and I, well maybe me more than her, were so excited to try Sam!

Sam the Lamb

We position the pink Sam on the bedside table of my little one. I hope it works properly, but at least Sam looks cute. I set the alarm for 10 am and leave the room positively. Joking of course! More realistically, I set the timer for 6.30 am with the goal to increase the timer with 15 minutes every day. Fingers crossed my girl is able to understand Sam.

What next?

Will 5 am ever change into 7 am? Is it too much to ask for more sleep as a parent of a toddler?

Next week you will find out on my blog what our first findings are from Sam!

 

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.

Mama van Dijk

Mother and Lifestyle blog

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By Lisa from @liesskb

Sleeping was a nightmare

Hanna and sleeping was a disaster from the moment she was born, she cried every 1.5 hour. Luckily, after a while she started crying less and less but sleep remains an interesting topic for us.

 

BEDTIME RITUAL

We tried skipping naptime but believe me, this was not a success at all! From 4pm onwards I have a child that cries with every small trifle. In the other hand, when we do a nap, she does not want to go to bed at 7pm and wakes up the next morning around 05.30am…

429 times going to the toilet, 169 sips of water (that mama needs to give, despite it’s in a bottle next to her bed) and saying 25 times in the exact order ‘good night, I love you’. This ritual makes sure that she sometimes sleeps for 8 hours straight, or even 9 or 10 hours! And then Hanna wakes up around 05.30am, 06.00am or 06.30am. Her wake up times stand apart from her bedtimes. Every sound could wake her up. Morning showers are out of the question…

Something had to change. I needed a product that showed Hanna in a playful way that she had to sleep NOW. And so Sam of ZAZU entered the house.

First encounter with Sam

Hanna was not quite sure what to think of Sam, the sheep opened and closed his eyes himself which she found a little bit strange. I explained to her that she should start sleeping when Sam’s belly turns red and his eyes are closed. And when Sam is orange, she could read a book or play in a room for 30 minutes until Sam turns green and he opens his eyes. Then she is allowed to come to mommy and daddy!sam three phases

One of the first mornings she entered our room way to early… ‘The sheep opened his eyes’according to Hanna. I checked my watch and I thought I would lose it. Indeed, Sam’s eyes were open. I asked daddy, who setup the sheep, if he was crazy! Side note, Sam is also a nightlight.

On a certain morning we watched together when Sam turned green and opened his eyes. That made Hanna understand how it works and slowly she is starting to listen to Sam. If she does not want to go to sleep, I say ‘did you have a look at Sam?’. He is sleeping, so you should sleep as well! Still the bedtime ritual is a nightmare, but the mornings are getting better and better!

I haven’t seen Hanna before 7am for a while. Often at 07.01am she comes barging in with a loud good morning, but that is fine. It means she understands the concept.

Sam’s final verdict

Hanna is almost 3 years old and did not understand Sam immediately. It took around 3 weeks before she understood the concept and, in the beginning, you must invest time and effort.

Now Hanna knows that she cannot enter our room before 7am (she does go to her little brother’s room a few minutes before 7am, being awake together is more fun than being awake alone, right?!).

Going to bed is still a drama, but the morning ritual has improved so much. We (daddy and especially mommy) are very happy with the introduction of sir Sheep.

Sam is also suitable for naptimes during the day as you can set a bedtime for the evening and a nap time for the afternoon. Our little dancing queen also liked the fact that Sam has an actual alarm with melodies.

A real recommendation!

Sam green

 

Love,

Lisa – @liesskb

Disclaimer: The product has been sent to me, but all thoughts and opinions are mine and are not influenced by ZAZU Kids

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By Andrea and Julia from Apfelbäckchen

Playtime and bedtime with Gina

Let’s be honest: there is hardly any child who is not fascinated by flashlights and beautiful lights in general, right? With a torch or light in their hands, kids are ready for adventures in their room within self-made tents or piles of pillows and blankets.

Gina the giraffe

Our boy tested a new light, but it’s more than just a light. It is nightlight and flashlight in one! Because we find the giraffe so cute and useful, we would like to share this with you.

Gina is from the Dutch company ZAZU, of which we already have two other great products: Bobby and Lou. The giraffe is suitable for kids from 3 years and older.

gina-green and torch_2

How does it work?

Gina has a rechargeable battery and comes with an USB cable. The product lies very comfortable in the hand and the soft material makes is easy to use. When you press the button shortly, you enable the torch light. The auto shut-off feature ensures the torch goes out after ten minutes. That is smart as, with so many things, the torch is forgotten while playing and it will drain batteries otherwise.gina-torch combination

 

 

 

 

But the giraffe is also a nightlight. The nightlight feature shows 7 different soft colors such as yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, turquoise and green. All you need to do is press the same button as the torch, but then a little bit longer. Hold the button to change the nightlight colors. The nightlight also shuts off automatically, after 30 minutes.

When you plug in the USB cable, the nightlight does not go out automatically but stays on.

gina-nightlight combination

 

All in all

We believe that Gina is magical. Especially the design and high-quality manufacturing stands out. If you have a toddler that could use a night light and a torch, for example for toilet visits in the middle of the night, Gina is a great recommendation. The giraffe comes in grey, blue and pink.  Even when the light is out, the giraffe makes every nursery better-looking.

gina-orange_2

Have a wonderful day,

Andrea, Julia and their little boy

@Apfelbäckchen

Disclaimer: The product has been sent to me, but all thoughts and opinions are mine and are not influenced by ZAZU Kids.

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By Tiny Sleepyhead

Nightmares

Children’s imagination blossoms between 2-4 years old. At the same time, you can notice that your little one’s vocabulary is getting richer and he/she can describe his/her fears more accurately. Nightmares help your child processing fears, stress or anything upsetting that happened during the day. But what to do when your child is afraid of the dark or has nightmares?

 

Monster spray

First tip: the ”monster spray”. To create one with your child, simply decorate an empty spray bottle with his favorite stickers and fill it with water and few drops of lavender essential oil. You can then spray the room before your child goes to bed, in order to create a “protection against monsters”.

Nightlight

Another useful tip during bedtime routine or when a nightmare occurs, is to use  Lou the nightlight from ZAZU. One of my favorite settings is it’s adjustable brightness. This cute lamp can be used as a nightlight during the bedtime routine while reading a book or during a relaxing story time. You can switch on both the little owl and the outer ring, or if you prefer you can put them on separately. When the story time is over all you have to do is to dim the lamp and that’s it! You don’t have to worry about switching the light off as it goes off automatically after 30 minutes for the outer ring and little owl goes off after 60 minutes which is enough for you child to fall asleep with reassuring light. Another great feature is the noise sensor. If your child wakes up at night the light goes on for comfort. It helps to feel safe at night and makes it easier to fall back asleep. With the help of nightlight Lou nightmares are not so scary anymore.  I can definitely recommend ZAZU’s Lou to any parent of a young child.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by ZAZU Kids.

All the best,

Ola

Tiny Sleepyhead

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By Saskia Voolmaa; Blogger from Estland

We have such an enormous range of innovative baby products to our disposal nowadays that many of us are often left thinking back to how our grandparents and even parents successfully managed without those products to raise their children.

There are many products that are so necessary that you think you cannot live without them. I have read many blog posts and watched YouTube videos where mothers show products that are ‘must haves’ related to newborns or toddlers. And of course there are videos where mothers honestly show products they have bought and never needed. I have always tried to follow these kinds of videos meaning that rather luckily, I now have relevant products and have not spent money on unnecessary baby stuff. Big win! Some time ago I saw a cute nightlight buddy in Innovative Kids web shop. It was so cute and looked so soft – how could I resist buying it? I mean, aren’t they cute and friendly? And so cool, with long hands and legs! To be honest, I have been looking at it for a while before I actually bought it. As my son, Hans likes cats so much, I decided to buy Katie the Cat. When I opened the box my son immediately wanted to cuddle his new buddy! All I had to do to get it working was to insert the batteries and to listen what kind of sounds the new toy played. There is a little opening in Katie’s belly which is held together by velcro. In the belly, the removable module is stored, which plays soothing sounds and glows brightly. A gentle push of the belly and the light goes on and the sound starts to play! You can choose what kind of sound you would like to hear and whether or not you would like to switch on the light. There are 3 melodies – lullaby, nature sounds and lounge sounds (2 different volume options: high/low).

What I really like is that there is an option to choose nightlight mode only. The volume of the module is not very loud but my little one is very sensitive to sounds. When he cuddles Katie in the middle of the night, the sound will not start playing but the belly will softly glow. Perfect!

I was very surprised how good the quality of the music is for such a low price and from such a small toy! The nature sounds are so beautiful and calming that you could use it to relax also!

The nightlight automatically switches off after 20 minutes which is quite enough time for baby to fall asleep. My son Hans got another gift for his birthday – a toy bear in which you have to pull the rope to activate the sound and it lasts only for a minute or two…  So I find it very easy to teach Hans to fall asleep without me with his new friend Katie. Although he fell asleep quite well in the evenings we had still problems with morning naps. Katie helped hold my son’s attention whilst I can sneak out from the bedroom.

At the beginning I put Katie in the crib. But as my son rolls a lot in his sleep he accidentally activated the nightlight and this affected his sleep. That is why I hang Katie on the cot’s side bars with her extremely handy long arms which mean you can loop one hand through the other onto the side of the cot (I hope you can see it on the picture below).

Katie is also a very good travel buddy! On our trip to Finland it created a familiar atmosphere as our accommodation was a boat with loud noises. Nightlight-friend Katie is a big help to us! Hans sleeps calmer and falls asleep by himself now (for the majority of time). In the future if the sounds and light are no longer necessary we can still use Katie as a soft toy and friend for my son. I definitely recommend

If you would like to find out where you can buy Katie or one of her friends,  head over to where to buy.

 

Disclaimer: Zazu Kids have sent this product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.

Visit Saskia.ee

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By Femke Dam

Sam the sleeptrainer: a miracle or disaster

Anyone with a toddler knows that life is all about making compromises and having patience. At least we could use a bit of sleep… Recently clocks changed one hour backwards and that is not really in our favor.  Coming period will probably result in earlier mornings. Nevertheless, does a sleeptrainer work for a two-year-old…?

 

I am awake!

Sam en TijmenWhen our littlest one, Jonas, decided to sleep for a sufficient time, Tijmen decided it was a good plan to wake up every morning at 5am and stand in our bedroom saying loud and clear: ‘I am awake! Are you also awake mama?’ A little bit yes..  But I would prefer to sleep for another 1.5 – 2 hours. Deal? Time to come into action! Tijmen is 2 years and three months and around this age a sleeptrainer might be a bit too early. Would he understand the concept? We decided to try and for the past couple of months we tested Sam the lamb, a sleeptrainer from ZAZU. Read more in this blog how it went.

Sam’s arrival

A parcel was delivered and as always this was welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm. Tijmen beliefs each parcel is addressed to him. To be honest, this is often the case. Time to unwrap the gift! Oh, a lamb! Moreover, a very special lamb. Tijmen was immediately fascinated by Sam, so we started to use Sam from the first day.

Lamb is green!

‘Mom! Mom! Sam is awake!’ That is how I woke up the next morning… Proud as a peacock Tijmen showed us Sam, eyes open and a green belly. Actually it is still at the crack of dawn but that is our mistake as we set the wake up time way too early. But the first 40 minutes of extra sleep is a fact! The days after Tijmen is starting to understand the concept of the sleeptrainer: ‘when Sam is green it is OK to wake up, orange means wait a little longer and red I should be sleeping’. Easy peasy. Every day we set the wake up time 5 minutes longer en gradually we are making progress. It seems to work and we are getting the extra sleep we desperately needed – all parents know that sleep is so valuable.Sam en Tijmen 2

Back to square one

Unfortunately Tijmen had enough of Sam after a week of 2 or 3. He knows exactly what Sam does but refuses to behave accordingly. Bags under our eyes are starting to grow again, frustrating! How tired can someone be… When we explain to him that he can only come to us when Sam turned green he just starts crying really loud. And that is not really appreciated as he sleeps in one room with Jonas who then also wakes up. It feels like we are back where we started.

Sam rood

Now he can lie with us in our bed, sleep a little bit and when Sam is green he can watch a movie. Slowly this ritual goes better. At the beginning he sat straight in our bed saying ‘I can’t sleep anymore’. But, we persisted and it is working. Sometimes Tijmen even sleeps until Sam turns green! This is extraordinary but when it happens he is very proud.

Currently everything is going pretty well, when Tijmen is awake he enters our bedroom with his favorite toys (monkey, rabby, Boris), nightlight and Sam. Without saying much he nestles between us en continues sleeping for a little while. When the sleeptrainer indicates it is OK to wake up Tijmen does not hesitate to let us know this fact: ‘Sam is awake! He is green!’ We are satisfied with this solution as we are getting extra sleep and Jonas too.

Is Sam the sleeptrainer a good product?

Yes, it is definitely a good sleeptrainer. It is easy to understand for a child, to me that is the most important feature. The screen shows a comfortable brightness and you can optionally select an automatic one of the buttons the light goes on again.

In general I sometimes have difficulties setting up the alarm. The menu locks itself after you finish setting it up. The key lock is designed to prevent your child from changing the settings. Nevertheless, Tijmen found out how to unlock the menu and mixed up the settings multiple times, which resulted in keeping an eye on the settings from time to time.
Sam en Tijmen in bed

Regarding the design I think it is a missed opportunity that Sam is made of hard plastic. According to me it would have been better if Sam was made of softer materials. Such as Pam the penguin, this is another sleeptrainer from ZAZU. Perhaps it is more toddler proof in case the product falls on the ground. But, it is a sleeptrainer, not a toy as Tijmen thinks.

A useful addition to your nursery

Conclusive, we all think Sam is a great addition to our family. When we were on a holiday Tijmen even asked several times where Sam was: ‘is Sam awake already?’ It was unexpected that we were talking about Sam on such a distance from home. For our two-year-old a sleeptrainer definitely works up to a certain level! We are getting more and more sleep. Tijmen is an early bird, which is clear.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by ZAZU Kids.

Femke,

Thethingswelike.nl

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By Tiny Sleepyhead

Vacation

As a Sleep Consultant, I get loads and loads of questions about sleep tips during the holidays. What shall we do at bedtime? What shall we bring with us? Shall we keep to our daily schedule? Can we skip naps? My response is always be prepared in advance and you will avoid sleep troubles. So, grab a pen and paper and let’s get ready for the holiday!

The most important thing to notice is that you’re changing the safe environment that your little one is used to. Children don’t realize why all of the sudden, they find themselves in a strange new place surrounded by different smells and noises. It’s definitely not home! To make it easier for your little one, try to recreate their home sleeping space as much as possible.

Sleep environment

Let’s start with the sleeping environment. Bring bed sheets with you. It might sound silly but children’s sense of smell is much stronger than among grownups. To make it more familiar for the baby during the holidays you can put the fresh sheets on in his/her bed one night before the travel. It will soak all familiar smells from home and it will still be clean during the holidays. A sleeping bag is equally important. Make sure the thickness is adapted to the weather and temperature of your holiday destination. Don’t forget to bring along a lovely, special security object/toy which is going to help your baby feel safe and secure.

Routines

Now we have got bed surroundings covered, let’s move onto the bedtime routine. Try to follow a bedtime routine as similar to one at home. Children find themselves safe in predictable routines. Bedtime rituals start with bath and are followed by feeding and a favorite book. That will help your child to recognize what is coming next: Bedtime! Tip: Bring some shower gel and massage oil they will help the baby feel more like home.

Bedtime accessories

And last but not least, bedtime accessories. The most important one is the white noise. There are loads of sound machines and applications that you can use but I find ZAZU’ Zoë the Penguin the most practical, especially during holiday time. It is very compact, has a rechargeable battery and has a built-in nightlight. The white noise stops after 20 minutes from starting and had a built-in sensor which starts playing chosen sound automatically if your baby starts crying at night. You can also connect it to your Spotify with your favorite bedtime. Zoë is a perfect holiday companion!

If you have more questions about holiday preparation or sleep question in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@tinysleepyhead.comor visit our FB page Tiny Sleepyhead

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.

All the best,

Ola

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By Tiny Sleepyhead

Bedtime routine

This blog’s topic is bedtime routine. Average bedtime for most children is between 7-8 pm. Bedtime routine starts anywhere between 6-7 pm. Sometimes getting your child into a sleepy mood can be a difficult task. Especially that this is a business time in the household. Often dad or mom comes back from work and wants to play with his little one. Shortly after this, it is time to have dinner. Some babies get easily over stimulated during this time and as a result they can have difficulties settling in for the night.

 

From hectic times to sleepy times

Here are few examples what can you do to transform hectic, busy time into a relaxing preparation for the night slumber.

Let’s start with dimming lights slightly during dinner time. If you don’t have a dimmer at home you can install a light bulb with a warm light. The slightly orange light will help your body to regulate circadian rhythm to start producing melatonin: the sleep hormone.

After dinner, there is time for a quiet play and cuddles. This is a time when noisy toys should be out away and the tv switched off. The calm environment will help your child to wean from a busy day and get ready for bed.

Kiki the star projector

A bath or a shower followed by a baby massage or yoga for older children is a great start to a bedtime routine. You can put calm music during this relaxing time or ZAZU’s Kiki the star projector.

Kiki represents a cute kitten and has three different colors of lights to choose from for a projection: orange, blue and green. There is also a multicolor option and light shuts off automatically after 30 minutes. Kiki also has three soothing melodies such as mimicking a mom’s heartbeat, relaxing nature sounds and calming lounge music. Each melody switches off automatically after 15 minutes. And as other Zazu products, Kiki has an optional cry sensor in case your child wakes up at night and needs reassurance.

Please note that for some children light projection might be more stimulating than calming. But Kiki can definitely be used during the massage and changing time. In that case, it is a perfect tool to use as a pre-bedtime/ cuddle time companion. I personally love using it both before bedtime routine and after nap time. We put a soothing sea with seagulls sound plus star projection on and we feel like we are sailing over the ocean! We have a great adventure time without leaving home. My baby loves Kiki, and I am sure yours will too.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by ZAZU Kids.

All the best,

Ola,

Tiny Sleepyhead

Photo: @kleinewundermaus

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