Updated: Sep 23
Toddlers are often keen as beans to start the day! Each day is full of fun and adventure and they are rearing to go while we groggily open one eye, check the time and just want to roll back to sleep. If you have a toddler struggling with early wakeups and staying in their bed then I highly recommend you use a toddler clock such as a Gro Clock.
When should I use a toddler clock?
If your little one is over the age of 2 years they should be able to grasp this concept – however it does depend on their comprehension and language skills. We don’t want any light omitting from the clock while your child is sleeping, however, if they do show a fear of the dark then having it on red or a soft amber glow is the best colour around sleep as it doesn’t interfere with the production of melatonin like blue lights can.
Why are they such a good idea?
Toddlers are extremely strong willed and stubborn and they love to test the boundaries – that’s their job! Toddler clocks give them a visual reminder of the boundaries around sleep. These clocks teach them to stay in bed (and hopefully be quiet) until the sun comes up! They help teach your little ones when its night time and when its morning time by using simple colour and pictures.
How do I use a toddler clock?
I’d love to say they work like magic and if you purchase one your 5am riser will now sleep in till 7am however, they don’t quite work like that! You have to teach your child how to use them and speaking from experience, you need to place them out of reach or they will end up playing and possibly destroying them. Some clocks have a child lock to prevent your toddlers from tampering with it… make sure you have a practice first. We learnt the hard way and our twins miraculously adjusted the time and fiddled with it which was less than ideal!
The key with using a toddler clock is to not set the goal post to high. We want it to be achievable for your toddlers. If they are waking bright eyed and busy tailed at 5am and you don’t want to start the day till 7am then its an unreasonable expectation they will cope staying in their bed for 2 hours and they will struggle to do that! When we shift your child’s wake up time we are shifting their internal clock so we need to do this gradually. For the first few days it is important to set the clock close to their usual early wake up time. Eg – if they were waking at 5:30am, then we would set it for 5:45am. When they wake at their usual time, they are more likely going to be able to cope with 15 minutes in bed until they see their clock change.
Often within the week your child will have learned they are not allowed to get out of their bed until the sun comes up. Once you are confident the have the gist of it you can start to adjust the time and push it later in the day. I recommend adjusting the time by 10-15 minutes every few days until you get to your desired get up time. In time your little ones internal clock will start to shift but this does take weeks so plenty of grace and patience is needed.
Can I use a toddler clock during the day?
Yes! Its an awesome effective tool for day time naps or quiet time. If you are needing them to have some quiet time in their room, then you can use the clock here too. It’s a great tool to take away on holiday with you to buy some extra sleep in time in the morning!
How can I help my toddler grasp this?
We always want to use lots of positive reinforcement with toddlers and one way we can do this is through role play. Role play really helps emphasise and grasp our new expectations of them. You can show them by practicing laying in your bed and closing your eyes – you can look at the clock and pretend to be asleep while its off then set the clock to wake up. Show your toddler how when they see the picture of the sun coming up!
If you are dealing with a strong willed toddler struggling with sleep and feel like you need more help than just a toddler clock to solve their sleep struggles then I’d love to work together and have everyone sleeping all night long! You can check out my packages here.