A toddler clock can be a fantastic sleep tool to teach your little one to stay in bed until morning.
Though it’s not as simple as buying the clock and plugging it into your little one’s bedroom socket 🙂 There’s much more to teaching a toddler to stay in bed than a clock! In this episode, I’ll be taking you through why toddler clocks are so great, what toddler clocks can do (and CAN’T do), what age range they’re geared for, and how to introduce it to your toddler.
Have a listen!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Okay. Welcome everyone. So I’m excited for today’s episode because we’re gonna be talking all about toddler clocks. Um, before we delve in to the topic of toddler clocks, what they are, what they can be used for and how they are so unbeliev helpful with a toddler and preschoolers sleep. Let’s first quickly read out a review from FSU. This is a Google review that a soon gave me, and she said after interviewing three sleep consultants, we chose Eva. And we are glad we did. Eva has a lot of expert expertise and helped us successfully train our baby. Her analytic mind meant that she was on point and to the point during our consults, Eva also gave us extra time and we needed to talk through a complicated question without charge. Since our baby was sleep trained, we are all sleeping better and are very thankful for it.
Thank you so much AB soon for the wonderful review. I appreciate it so much. Okay. Toddler clocks, what are they? So basically, you know, those of you who have a two year old, a three year old, a four year old, a five year old, you know, for the most part, they don’t know how to tell time, right? They, they might know their numbers. Maybe they might know the difference between a three and a four and a five, you know, on your digital clock. But what they know much more of is their colors and imagery. And so what a toddler clock does is it tells your toddler when to stay in bed and when it’s morning using, um, color and imagery to let the child know when it is nighttime and when it is morning. So we, in our home, we have been using the grow o’clock since Amona was literally two and a half years old. Um, and we’re just now introducing it to JJ, who is now three.
So the way that the grow clock works, and by the way, there are many other brands out there, but here in Canada, um, the grow clock is very, very popular. Um, for some reason it never may its way to the United States. Um, but I know in the us there’s, um, something called the OK to awake clock. Um, there’s also this red light, yellow light green light clock as well, but they basically all do a similar type of thing. So the gro clock, what it does is the face of the clock. Um, when it’s on is basically that of a sun and you can set it so that when it is nighttime and you obviously get to decide when you want nighttime to be in, when you want morning to be the clock is blue and the sun is sleeping. And when it is mourning, the sun is up and the clock is yellow.
And so you said it to, when you want that clock to turn yellow and to signal to your little one, that it is now time to wake up. And for those kids who are old enough to understand the difference between and blue and yellow, and the difference between nighttime and morning time, I find that this is a very helpful tool to be able to explain to them in layman’s terms that it’s five o’clock in the morning and it’s not time to wake up, the clock tells them they need to stay in bed and go back to sleep. Because without that signal, a lot of ’em might think because it’s so some morning anyways, they might think that it’s time to wake up, but then when you have this system in place, it really adds some structure and clarity to whether or not it’s nighttime and whether or not it’s morning. Um, we introduced the grow clock to a moon app when she was two and a half when her sleep had regress upon becoming a big sister, um, which is very, very common.
You know, I talked about that in, uh, in my episode on balancing a toddler, how to balance having a toddler and a baby talked all about that. It’s very, very common. And so part of our plan to get her back on was to introduce the grow clock to her. And what’s great about the grow clock is that it has this cute little story book that basically helps us explain to her how this clock is going to work. And now I do just wanna emphasize that a lot of two and a half year olds might not be able to stands and appreciate, you know, the rules that you’re trying to introduce around the grow clock. In fact, I would probably argue that the majority of them might not fully get it, or might not have say the impulse control in that moment to listen to the clock.
A Mona happened to be a pretty or two and a half year old. Again, I’m using the word mature in quotation marks here because she was still a two and a half year old, but for a two and a half year old, um, she had a very, um, mature nature to her where she was a, not only a naturally rule abiding individual, but she really thrives in situations where she can be rewarded for following the rules with, you know, a sticker or a prize of some kind. She thrived in those types of scenarios. Um, whereas when Eliana was even three years old, I don’t even think she would have quite, not even necessarily understood the grow clock, but I don’t think that she would have cared enough because, and JJ was the same way up until very recently because the two of them just want to do what they feel like doing.
And the gro clock might seem cool to them in that exact moment. But then when comes to shove, they’re gonna do whatever the hell they want anyways. So I find that in terms of the best age to be introducing this clock for some two and a half year olds, it might work any younger than two and a half. It likely will not work. Um, but then usually somewhere in that three year, you know, might, so JJ is now three years and two months, three months to be exact. Um, so, you know, we’re just beginning to introduce it to him, um, right now. And so what I explained to Amona and what I am now explaining to JJ is ma we’re making it very brief and very simple, when the clock is blue you need to stay in bed, but when it’s yellow you can wake up.
But what happens when the clock is yellow, JJ gets to wake up and, uh, and it was actually very cute when we introduced this to am Mona. It took her a couple days to get used to it, but then very quickly she adapted. And so it meant that we, we had the clock set to, I think, seven o’clock in the morning. Um, and so when the clock turned yellow, what was likely happening is that she was up a few minutes beforehand and would just sit there and wait and watch the clock to turn yellow. Um, she would literally just start screaming, mommy, daddy, the clock is yellow. It’s time to wake up and you know, we’re in the next room. Like, uh, alright,
Now, if you have kids that respond really well to a reward system, like my Amun did, then you might wanna up the ante by including some type of rewards chart, a sticker chart of some kind, um, depending on your child’s personality and you know, what incentivizes them. So Amona was incentivized just by getting a sticker. And so she knew that if she listened to the clock and would stay in her bed quietly, until the clock turned yellow, she would get a sticker first thing in the morning. And I recommend giving your kid that reward as immediately as possible, um, shortly after waking up for the day so that they can make that connection. And, you know, the, the imediacy of giving that, uh, reward is really, really huge to continue to enforce, um, and, and, and reward the behaviors that we wanna be rewarding. So every single morning we would get a Mona up, take her out of her bed, take her into the kitchen, and she would immediately get to take a sticker and put the sticker on the piece of paper
And that was enough for her. For some kids, you might need something a little bit more elaborate. Maybe you wanna go a little bit more out with your sticker chart, go to doll, Ramma get some Bristol board, you know, get your kid involved with decorating that sticker chart so that they feel a sense of involvement with this new system that we’re creating. Now, here is a very big caveat when it comes to the grow clock or any other toddler clock for that matter. Because a lot of you might say to me, Eva, I tried the grow clock and it did not work. And then of course, smart Ali Eva would be like, what do you mean it didn’t work? Did it not go off? When it was supposed to go off? Did the button not do what it was supposed to do? Again, this is just me being annoying, but I know exactly, you know, what, what this person would mean.
They would typically say, no, my child didn’t listen. He still woke up at five o’clock in the morning. He still didn’t sleep through the night. And here’s my response to that right after I make my annoying, smart chy comment. Um, this is, this is the truth. The truth is that for a lot of kids, it’s not going to single handedly change their behavior, right? Because most kids, again, Maya is the exception in that she was incentivized by that sticker by the rule. She she’s an engram three, you know, she just, she’s a teacher’s pet. It’s like shining star type of kid. And all she just wants to do is like impress us and be praised. But a lot of kids are not like that. A lot of kids are gonna do what they feel like doing. Um, and that is my two younger kids, for sure, to the T.
And so simply introducing a clock and telling a child, you need to stay in bed until the clock turns, yellow might not change anything. And that’s not necessarily the per purpose of the clock. The purpose of the clock is to let your child know that it is nighttime so that when you respond to them one way at nights, they’re not confused by why you’re responding to them a different way in the morning, without that clock signaling to them. This is morning, or this is nighttime. Your child’s not gonna understand why when the clock is blue, daddy’s only coming to the door versus when the clock is yellow, daddy’s actually getting me out of bed, right? You oftentimes need to have a bigger plan, a addressing the bigger picture here, right? If you have a child that has been habitually waking up throughout the night and coming out of bed and starting their day at 5:00 AM the clock likely isn’t going to change that by itself.
But what it does is it makes things very, very clear to your child so that there is no confusion on their end. The clock clarifies when you need to stay in bed and when you can wake up. Because the key of course is to make sure that the way that you are responding to your child at nighttime, when the clock is blue is not rewarding, the wake-ups and encourag more of them. So that this way, when the clock is yellow and they get to come out of bed, there is 100% clarity on the matter. And you don’t need to worry about confusing the child. So the clock is merely a tool to help you implement this system to ensure that they learn to say in their CRI or bed until morning. Now, a couple quick tips about these toddler clocks. So the first one that comes to mind is that you wanna make sure that you are plugging it in and you’re keeping it out of reach of your child, because if you keep it within reach, give your kid a few days maximum, and they’re gonna figure out how to fiddle around with those buttons and make that grow clock, turn yellow at three o’clock in the morning so that they can say, look, mommy, it’s morning, the clock is yellow.
Don’t let your kid do that. Preemptively, avoid that annoying situation by just putting it out of reach at the top of a bookshelf. So, so that you are the only one that can control when the clock is yellow. Another thing you wanna make sure of with these toddler clocks is that they aren’t too bright at nighttime. So I know the grow clock specifically has a default setting that is very, very bright, um, too bright. If you ask me and it really illuminates the entire your room and does a little bit of a disservice in terms of what they’re hoping to accomplish. So my suggestion is make sure to dim it down to one of the lowest settings, so that obviously the color is very clear and your child can see the clock, but that it is not hindering the process by illuminating the room too much, another grow clock to hip specifically.
So the grow clock has a specific feature that I’m actually not crazy about. The feature is that as the night goes on, so there are a bunch of stars that surround the outside of the clock, like the perimeter of the clock. And then each as each hour goes by the stars disappear. Um, which I suppose is like a cute idea. So, you know, it tells the child like when it’s going to be morning. And so the child knows when there are, you know, one or two stars left that it’s very close to morning. The problem is that when there is only one star left and it’s, let’s say five 30 in the morning, and that star isn’t gonna go away until six 30 in the morning. What a lot of kids end up doing is they just sit up and wait and look at that clock, waiting for that star to go away, cuz they don’t wanna miss it.
They’re afraid that they go back to sleep. Then they’ll miss the clock turning yellow. So I’m not a fan of that feature for that exact reason. Um, and so my suggestion is just, don’t bring that feature to your child’s attention, better that they not know about it. And that all they know is sun is awake. Clock is yellow. You can wake up. Clock is blue. Sun is sleeping. Child needs to be sleeping. That’s it? Don’t don’t don’t explain anything else. And the last thing that I wanna emphasize about the grow clock specifically when it comes to early rising, is that if there are underlying issues causing your little one to wake up early, that haven’t been addressed yet, then the grow clock or any other toddler clock is likely not gonna do a darn thing. And so you wanna make sure that you are addressing the underlying roots of the problem.
Namely, could your child be over tired? Is there something off with the sleep environment is your little one not falling the sleep independently? Um, I will link one of my first podcast episodes that I did all about early rising, what causes it and how to fix it. So definitely check that episode out. If early rising has been an ongoing issue that hasn’t gone away yet. And on that note, I would say the exact same thing when it comes to your toddler or preschoolers night, wakings chances are that the toddler clock in and of itself is not going to make all these night wakings magically go away. If there are other underlying roots of the problem as well. And so this is something that you are struggling with. Then you are going to want to check out my free master us that will teach you how to get your little one consistently sleeping 11 to 12 hours that night. So you can feel like a functioning human. So check that out in the show notes and thank you so much for tuning in everybody. And you have a wonderful day.
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful nights.