Virtual Lullaby… Introducing SleepHero, the latest app on the block for exhausted parents of babies and toddlers, and its creator: father-of-two Rob Tong.
Instilling good sleep habits in our children is a priority for almost all parents. We fret over the timing and duration of their daytime naps and the execution of their evening routines. We tot up their minutes (sometimes hours) of night time wakefulness and cross everything that tomorrow will be “a better night”. In those early weeks, months and often years of parenting, sleep patterns pepper our mum-chat - in a nutshell, we want ourselves and our little ones to have more of it!
Well, there is good news for bleary eyed families out there; entrepreneur father-of-two Rob Tong has developed a brand new smart app, SleepHero, to help mums and dads settle their children to sleep - and keep them asleep!
Born out of Rob’s own experience of sleepless nights, the SleepHero app is sound-activated and easy to use. Parents simply record themselves singing or talking into their mobile device and then pre-set a) how much noise their child should be making before the recording starts and b) how long it should play on a loop for. Simple! A white noise library and video loop technology (for ceiling projections) are useful features too, for those parents most dedicated to sleep.
We have a quick cuppa with Rob to find out more…
What inspired you to create SleepHero?
Desperation! Like most new parents we endured our fair share of sleepless nights. We tried everything but soon realised that 10 minutes of my singing sent Freddie back to sleep quite effectively and what we really needed was a robot to step in after midnight! So I began designing an app that would unashamedly trick Freddie into believing I was on nursery rhyme night-call.
Where did the name SleepHero come from?
Initially I called the app ParentBot. However, when the app started improving Freddie’s sleep (and mine) I would wake in the morning thinking “this app really is my hero”, hence SleepHero was born.
Is SleepHero a bit of a “life hack”?
I guess so because it makes life easier by taking some of the parents’ workload. It isn’t a substitute for caring parenting but if it can improve the quality of sleep for children too that must be a good thing.
How did you get into building apps?
After university I worked for an IT software consultancy before setting up my own web design company in 2008. I found a niche creating sports websites for corporate clients and began building apps on the side. SleepHero is my ninth app and it’s been a learning experience every step of the way.
Any tips for expectant fathers?
After the blur of the first few weeks try to develop a routine for your baby. Look after mum just as much; you might feel like a slave but it’s an easier gig than feeding the little one every 3 hours at night. Oh, and download SleepHero of course.
How do you balance your work and parent life?
My other half, Laura, works 4 day weeks so I generally do the nursery runs, squeezing in as much work as possible in between. It’s a juggling act but we manage to spend quality time with the children whilst working enough to pay their nursery fees.
Finally, share with us some trivia about yourself.
I was born in the 1970’s, before baby scans. The doctor was convinced my mum was pregnant with only one baby. I was duly delivered at 9.16am then 10 minutes later my twin brother popped out. My dad reportedly had to “go for a long walk”!
SleepHero is available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod and iPad.
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