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Toddler Clocks - Which ones, when, and why!

When To Introduce A Toddler Clock & Which Ones To Buy.


It probably comes as no surprise that as Sleep Consultants, we LOVE Toddler Clocks! 5am wake-ups are not good for anyone, but with the help of a toddler clock, early mornings can be improved.

What is a toddler clock?

Simply put, a toddler clock is the visual sign to your toddler or child that it is now ‘morning time’ and it is ok to come out of their room/start calling out for mummy or daddy. An appropriate biological wake-up time for a young child is between 6-7am (read our article on Early Morning Wake-ups here if your little one is waking much earlier than this), however kids obviously don’t know how to tell the time so aren’t sure when it’s ok to get out of bed to start their day. A toddler clock is therefore a fantastic tool to show them this.

When & how to introduce a toddler clock?

groclock
We suggest introducing a toddler clock around the age of 2 ½, as this is when most toddlers can understand what the clock means.  Some kiddies can understand earlier, around the age of 2, (particularly if they have an older sibling who already has a toddler clock which they may have seen). It’s very common for parents to buy a toddler clock when their little one moves into a big bed; however, we actually suggest introducing it a few months in advance of the big bed move, while your little one is still in a cot. Teaching them not to call out until their clock comes on each morning makes the transition to a big bed smoother, as they will already know the clock rules that you’ve established.

When you first introduce your toddler clock, we suggest setting it earlier than your ideal ‘morning time’ when you start out, so that your little one understands the concept first of all. Once they have grasped the idea and rules, you can then gradually push the time out every few days, until you reach your desired start time of your day (ideally between 6.30-7am).

Our top picks of toddler clocks.

There is a wide range of toddler clocks which you can buy, however our top picks would be either the ‘Gro Clock’ or the ‘OK to Wake Clock’.  Both the ‘Gro Clock’ and ‘OK to Wake Clock’ can be used for nap & quiet times too!

GRO CLOCK
groclocksmall

The Gro Clock uses images of stars and sun to communicate ‘sleep’ and ‘wake up’ time. The stars go out one-by-one during the night, making it easier for your little one to see how long it is until morning. When it’s time to get up, the display colour will change from blue to yellow, and the moon will change to a picture of the sun. The Gro Clock can also act as a night light for your little one.

OK TO WAKE CLOCK
oktowakesmall

Rather than showing a gradual change over the night, the ‘OK to Wake Clock’ will simply turn green when it’s time to get up in the morning. So with this clock, your child’s room can still be completely dark overnight, and will only light up in the morning.

What If I have a toddler clock but my child still won’t stay in bed?

This can be a very common issue. As fantastic as toddler clocks are, they alone won’t be the magic bullet to stop your child getting out of bed early. Along with the toddler clock, it’s important your child knows the rules of the toddler clock and that these are applied consistently and with positive reinforcement.

If you’re currently struggling with this issue, and would like some guidance and strategies to help, please get in touch. We love working with toddlers, Debs and I each have 2 girls of our own so we understand how testing they can be at times.  Email us here if you’d like to chat: sleep@sweetdreams.co.nz

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