Updated on October 14, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Have you ever opened one sleepy eye to see a tiny face peering at you while they stand next to your bed? As your eyes focus, you realize it’s your little one beckoning you to get up even though it’s pitch black outside. Every parent has experienced this – your child wakes up ready to take on the day. You glance at the clock, and it’s 3:45 am – nowhere near wake-up time!
It is, however, time for an alarm clock. Mom needs sleep, and our little ones need to learn night from day. Here are our 7 best alarm clocks for toddlers.
The Best Toddler Alarm Clocks
(Best Value/Easy for small children — $)
Why it’s great: Skip Hop is a trusted name in all things baby and toddler, and this alarm clock is another winner. It features an adorable cloud and sun and has four different modes to teach your toddler when it’s time to get up. The color cues let your little one know when it’s time to sleep, when it’s almost time to get up, and when they can rise and shine. Red means rest, yellow means we are getting close, and green means it’s time to take on the day! The clock also has soothing music to help your toddler fall to sleep, and soft light to soothe them if they’re afraid of the dark.
When it’s time to wake, you can play soft music to help your child ease into the day. There are soothing sound options for two different sounds or a lullaby.
Keep in mind: The music mode only lasts for twenty minutes. If it takes your little one awhile to fall asleep, you may want something longer to avoid the “just one more minute” trips back into your child’s room.
Good for: Younger children who can easily follow the color cues.
(Best customer service — $$)
Why it’s great: The Mella Little Hippo takes the color cues one step further and features facial expressions, so your child will know when it’s time to get up. When it’s getting close to time to wake up, the clock will change color to indicate that it’s almost time to start the day. At wake time, the clock will change green and light up with a smile. The clock features several different sound machine options, alarms, and colors, making it customizable for your family.
It’s great for small children- they can easily follow the smile and colors to know they’re good to get out of bed.
Keep in mind: You can only set one schedule- this clock doesn’t feature a weekday vs. weekend alarm schedule.
Good for: Kids who like to play with things they shouldn’t- the buttons have a lock feature and are on the bottom of the clock!
(Most features — $$$)
Why it’s great: The Rest combines all the features you want- sound machine, nightlight and ready to rise machine- and you can control it from your smartphone! This clock can also integrate with your Alexa. You can program it to turn or automatically or adjust it any time with the app. The Rest is made to grow with your child as they develop. It features a soft light for infants and their middle-of-the-night waking. Then, there is a night light for toddlers, and a ready to wake feature for older children.
Keep in mind: The Rest has so many features; it can be overwhelming. If you aren’t a smartphone user, it can be more challenging to operate as the app makes it simple.
Good for: Parents who want all the bells and whistles and the ability to make quick changes to schedules and features from their phone.
(Easy programming for parents — $$)
Why it’s great: This clock also features a light letting your child know when it’s time to get up. The face has a soft glow light. You can change the faceplates with your child, allowing them to customize their new clock. It features a soft yellow light at bedtime to let your child know that it’s time to sleep, and a green light when they can get up in the morning. Children can start off allowing the lights to guide them, and then as they get older, the clock has an alarm feature. It’s a parent favorite because it’s easy to set and use.
Keep in mind: this clock doesn’t have any sound machine features. If your child has a hard time falling asleep and likes the gentle sounds, you might choose another clock. It also doesn’t come with the wall adapter- you can use any USB cord you have on hand.
Good for: it’s got battery back-up, so it is easy to take on the road.
(Great for little sleepers — $$)
Why it’s great: This clock is good for little ones as it works with icons and colors to tell children when it’s time to sleep and wake. It highlights a moon to let kids know that it’s time for bed and shows a sun when it’s time to start the day. The iCode Time to Wake Clock features almost twenty soothing sounds giving your child many to choose from. Parents have the option of using light or sounds to wake their child in the morning. You can pick one or both options to use whichever works best for your family.
The iCode also features a child lock so that your kids can’t change the settings. It’s easy to set and forget without worrying that the settings will be changed.
Keep in mind: this clock must be plugged into work. If the power cord is removed, it will save alarm times for 72 hours but does not have a battery option. A great option for the home, but not our top pick for travel.
Good for: taking the place of multiple devices- the iCode has the features of a sound machine, alarm clock, and sleep trainer.
(Great for keeping it simple — $)
Why it’s great: This kids’ clock takes it a step further and even monitors the temperature in your child’s room. It features eight different tones for the alarm and seven different color options for the night light. It shows the date and day of the week, in addition to the clock. It’s good for children who are learning their numbers and letters.
This clock is good for families looking for a simple option without many different features. It’s appealing to kids with different colors but doesn’t have many other options for parents to try to set.
Keep in mind: this clock doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Some parents say it serves best as a nightlight.
Good for: this clock has a soft glow throughout the night, but the numbers don’t glow brightly- you can use it as a nightlight without being too bright.
(Most natural wake-up — $$)
Why it’s great: This clock is excellent for children who need to be woken up gradually. It slowly lights up, going from 10% light to 100% over thirty minutes. It also has an alarm clock that can be set with two different wake times.
The Wake Up Light clock can also be used as a bedside lamp and features a radio. It has seven different options for a sound machine and light color. If you have multiple children in one room, you can use one clock for both of their needs and even separate wake times.
Keep in mind: Some parents note that the clock is a little hard to set up if you’re not tech-savvy. Keep the manual around so that you can revisit it as you use the clock.
Good for: waking up on your terms- if thirty minutes of gradual light is too long, you can shorten it to ten or twenty.
FAQ’s about alarm clocks
1. When should I start using a clock with my child?
You can use a clock with your child before they can read numbers. Many clocks feature an icon or a color to help know when it’s time to sleep and wake. Using an alarm clock helps set a regular sleep schedule for your child and learn good wake habits.
2. What should I look for when buying a clock for my toddler?
Before purchasing an alarm clock, consider what you’re looking for and the child’s age. There are many different features in the clocks we’ve reviewed. Think about if your child will benefit from a sound machine, night light, etc. Narrow down the features and price point and find your match!
3. How do I introduce my toddler to the concept of an alarm clock?
It will take a little time for your child to get used to an alarm clock like anything new. If they’re used to you coming into their room several times a night, it can be a slower process. Talk it over- help them get used to the idea and buy into the idea. Be consistent- set the clock every night to get used to it and begin to recognize it as part of their routine. Lastly, be patient. It may take a little time, but the rewards will pay off!
4. Do young children really need an alarm clock?
Some children are all over the place with their sleep schedules. A sleep trainer or alarm clock can help to set a regular schedule. After a bit, children will naturally start to reset their sleep schedules. They will be getting enough rest and not surprising you in the middle of the night with a wake-up call!
5. Should I use the clock all the time?
Especially in the beginning, it’s recommended to use your alarm clock daily. It helps your child to get used to a routine or a change in their sleep schedule. For example, if your child is getting ready to start daycare or preschool, the clock can help them get into the habit of a new wake time. Many clocks also feature weekend schedules so you can change it as needed.
There are many clocks to choose from. When deciding what to buy, think about the features you want the most to help select the right one. It may take a little time for your child to get the hang of it, but it’s worth it once you get on a schedule. Say good-bye to that tiny face staring at you at 3 am. Once you choose your clock and get started it will change your child’s sleep in wonderful ways. Just remember to test the alarm- tiny fingers like to play with them too, and I’ve been woken up more than once by a rogue alarm clock!
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