There aren’t many products I encourage parents to buy to help their children sleep (most are just gimmicks and really expensive!), but one of the few products I recommend for every toddler and preschool family is a TODDLER CLOCK!
You don’t want to miss:
What makes a clock a “toddler” clock
Why you’d want a toddler clock
How we use our toddler clocks for our 5- and 2-year-olds
PLUS, how to choose the right toddler clock for your family!
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What is a toddler clock:
A toddler clock is a tool used to help your child understand time before they know how to read or understand time by using colored lights and/or sound, sometimes in addition to the time being shown.
Some toddler clocks are connected to and controlled by a mobile app. Others are set on the clock itself with no connection to an app. I prefer the ones controlled by an app - it gives me more control over scheduling.
I use the Hatch Rest, but there are many other toddler/child alarm clocks on the market now that do the same thing. A few things to keep in mind when purchasing a toddler clock are:
Is there the capability to turn off ALL the lights on the clock? If the time is shown, can you turn that light off? Is it at least dimmable?
What are your color options? You’ll need at least two with one being red or orange.
Reasons to use a toddler clock:
It creates some autonomy and independence by letting your child know what’s to be expected and done without having to ask you “is it time to be done?”
Helps tremendously with early morning wakings
Keeps kids in their bed/room until your designated time
How we use a toddler clock to promote great sleep and independence:
Depending on the clock you’ve chosen, this setup may vary a bit, but I’ll share how we use our Hatch and then give you variations of the same concept.
For our oldest (5) we use his Hatch for bedtime, night sleep, morning wake-up, and Quiet Time.
Bedtime: We have his Hatch set on the setting where it slowly filters through all the colors just to show that it’s time to be getting ready for bed. Then when it’s time for sleep, we turn the color red on 5% brightness and the white noise.
We used to use a different system of green light for getting ready for bed and reading books, Yellow light for the last-minute potty break or water and snuggles, then red light for in bed.
Morning wake-up: We turn on his Hatch from our app once he’s woken up and seems truly awake. We turn the light green and use the chirping birds sound to let him know he can get out of bed and we come in to get him
Quiet Time: His light is blue when it’s time to be in quiet time and when Quiet Time is over his light turns bright green and the sound setting turns to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Once his room is picked up he can come out and watch shows.
For our youngest (2) we use his Hatch for morning and nap time wake-up. We do a conjoined bedtime routine with our boys and it’s mostly done in our oldest’s room, so we don’t need to use the youngest’s Hatch for that. He also hasn’t shown signs that he needs/wants a light on while he sleeps, so we don’t! He still sleeps in total darkness. So, when it’s time for him to get up, we use the Hatch app to turn on his light to Green and the birds chirping sound right before we go in to get him up.
The only things I have scheduled to go off without my going into the app is for when Quiet Time is over. (Here's a short video showing you how I program the Hatch.) That stays the same no matter what. Now that my boys are solid sleepers, I’m not so rigid on their wake times, so I manually turn on the wake-up light and sound once they’re awake or when I have to wake them. This is why I like having the app! It gives me the freedom and flexibility that works for my family. If your little ones have to get up at the same time, having that scheduled and set will work well for you!