You have a great sleeper, then suddenly something changes with your toddler. She begins to wake up very early in the morning and leaves her room to WAKE YOU from a deep sleep. YIKES! This scenario is very common once we give our child some freedom and move them to their big beds.
For kids 2 and older, the toddler alarm clock can be a fantastically effective solution. It gives your child a visual cue that it’s still nighttime and thus everyone in the house are still sleeping and they should too. The light color is a great visual for your child to learn the rules surrounding wake up time.
These clocks can be quite pricey, but you can use them for many, many years so think of it as your investment for better sleep. Be sure to continue to read this article for additional advice as to how to use and implement this clock properly. It all goes back to being consistent and making sure you follow through. Now back to the clocks, below are a few of my absolute favorites:
Ooly Sleep Clock This feature-rich clock is user-friendly, and works from a simple app that you download onto your phone. There's an option to disable blue light transmission to promote a better sleep (amazing). And Ooly even has a stories companion app to download that helps your child understand the important of a good night's sleep with positive reinforcement to help encourage your child to continue her efforts. <Image provided by Mary Otanez Photography>
Mirari OK to Wake Clock I had this one with my twins many years ago. I recall it being a tricky to figure out and it didn't connect to my phone so if I wanted to change the OK to Wake to 7am instead of 6:30am or if daylight savings was happening I had to figure out how to reset it. It was reliable though, and the kids thought it was cute.
I have had several clients order this one for their children who loved stop lights and understood the idea of green means go, yellow means slow and red means stop.
Another easy-to-use option, and you can control from your phone too. NOTE: I do not recommend the white noise function on this machine. It’s not a true white noise. If you need a white noise machine please email me and I’ll provide my two favorites. I do however LOVE the Hatch for it's OK to Wake feature, in fact this is the one I own and use for my youngest child.
This one is cute too - if you go to the link you will see that they have many options for figures on the clock such as Elmo and Abbey, Elmo and Cookie Monster, Big Bird, etc.
I just purchased the clock, now what do I do to ensure success?
Once you have your clock, it's important to use it and introduce it to your child properly. I have seen OK to Wake Clocks fail for many reasons. Here are some pointers to ensure success when you introduce your clock to your child(ren):
1. Be sure to set the alarm clock at a reasonable and obtainable time. Between 6:30/7:00am is perfect. Do not set the clock late in the morning hoping your child will sleep in because if they typically aren't late morning risers, the clock is not going to help with waking up later in the morning. Most children wake up between 6 - 8 am.
2. Naturally you will tell your child that “morning is when the light turns green.” So be sure to follow through even on "off" days. This means that if you need to go to an earlier appointment and you need to wake up your child earlier be sure to adjust the clock the night before to reflect this time so you are being consistent with the rules too. This is why the Hatch is a good option because you can control from your phone when you are in bed if you are in a pinch and need to wake your toddler up early in the morning for some reason.
3. Make the clock an exciting gift. Buying one is not punitive, it’s a PRIVILEGE and exciting. When it shows up in the mail, wrap it up as a gift. Let them pick out where the want it in their room. Do some role playing so your child understands that when the light turns green they can leave their room to get you.
Need more help with your early riser or your toddler’s sleep? Feel free to reach out to schedule a FREE discovery call at email@example.com. ***This post was updated on 8/17/2022 from it's original publish date of March 3, 2020.