The best sleep training clocks
Today I’d like to talk sleep clocks for toddlers and preschoolers. Specifically to let you know the best sleep training clocks as rated by Cherished Sleep (so those recommended by me, Kim Corley). Sleep training clocks can be a wonderful sleep tool. Especially if early morning wakes are plaguing your household.
Have you previously considered a sleep training clock? Maybe you considered it but stalled because you weren’t sure what to buy or try? These recommendations are for you.
If your toddler is getting up far too early, a sleep training clock can help you (and the whole household) get more sleep. And we all want more sleep, right?
However, not all sleep clocks are made equal. Don’t get fooled into thinking the pricier the clock the better (although that is true of my services, ha ha). Here you’ll find my three favourite forms of sleep clock. Read on to find out what I recommend…
Pam the Penguin
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Pam the Penguin isn’t really a clock, because it is, in fact, a penguin. But the principle is the same as any other sleep training clock. It still gives your child the yay or nay to whether they are allowed up or not.
Pam the Penguin relies purely on colour change. The colour of the light tells your child when it’s time to get up. Pam glows green when it’s ok to get up, and orange when there’s half an hour to go (so your child can learn to anticipate getting up). It’s great for young toddlers as it’s simple, and it’s definitely got the cute factor going on.
The bonus is that you an choose the colour Pam glows at night; which means you can make it pink or red. This is important, as you’ll see below.
OK to Wake sleep clock
The OK to Wake clock is a funky little alien looking clock that appeals to girls and boys alike. It’s great from an early toddler age and it can grow with your child. My daughter still uses hers at the age of 7 years.
OK to wake is another colour-based sleep clock. It too glows green when it’s time to get up. But it also includes a digital clock, which is part of its timeless appeal. And the night light option is a soft yellow (although it doesn’t stay on all night).
The OK to Wake has the cute factor with customisable face plates and fun animations – and you can set it for naps separately to the morning wake. It also includes an alarm that can be used for your older school-aged child, who can manage themselves in the morning (I suggest not using the alarm until this point, but it’s good to know it’s there if needed).
A standard digital clock
Yes, that’s right, a plain old digital alarm clock also gets the thumbs up from me as a sleep training clock.
If your child is over 2.5 years, your plain old regular digital clock can do the same thing as a flash (often expensive) sleep training clock. Just make sure the colour of the glowing digits is red.
No, your child does not need to be able to read or know their numbers to use a digital clock. They just need to be able to match the symbol on the clock with the prompt you will place right next to the clock.
When using a digital clock, cover the minutes with tape, to make it simple; and then set the clock to read 7am when it’s a good time to get up (it doesn’t actually have to be the real 7am, this is just to establish time to get up). The clock will stay 7 for a whole hour with the minutes covered, so your child is unlikely to miss their wake time (and if they do, you probably don’t need a sleep training clock anyway).
You can source the clocks mentioned above in New Zealand (NZ) and Australia – but they’re not as common as some other well-known sleep training clocks. You may need to get your google on and search for the best deal.
Colour is Important in a sleep clock
Most sleep training clocks come with a night light, but the colour of that light is important to consider.
Light is one of the strongest cues to wake us. And blue, green or white light will stimulate us to wake up much more than red, orange or yellow. So it makes sense to bare that in mind when looking for a sleep training clock. This is especially true if your child is having sleep issues, or you know they are sensitive to light; but the blue light will affect all of us to some degree (that includes you if you need to make a midnight visit to your child’s room).
What about the extras?
Most sleep training clocks do come with extras. They might include music or lights or more… In my experience, the extras that come with sleep training clocks can be a nice to have, but they aren’t necessary. Often, they can be more of a distraction. They end up keeping your child awake rather than helping them to sleep. But as always, like the choice of colour, it’s your call.
You set the rules
With all of these sleep “clocks”, you set the best time to get up, and you also set the rules.
Toddlers are great at testing their environment (and parents), and they react best to a solid foundation of boundaries or rules. While the clock will be an excellent tool, you can’t set it and expect your child to instantly know what to do with it.
You need to have a simple, but clear and consistent, set of rules around how the clock works. This helps your child learn what the clock means and what they are expected to do when the colour or time changes.
You will need to explain these rules to them at bedtime, remind them if they wake during the night and even repeatedly put them back to bed until the clock says its morning. At least in the beginning. This response from you is necessary initially, but if you remain consistent with the rules, it will pay off.
So if early wakes are plaguing your household, one of the above clocks may just help you sort that situation. But if that still doesn’t work, or its bedtime or night wakes causing you grief, please contact me. I love working with toddlers and pre-schoolers and would love to help you all sleep better!
Have you used a sleep clock before? What did you use and did it work? I’d love to hear your experiences.