Toddler parents often wonder if they can use an OK-to-wake clock in their child’s bedroom, how to use it properly, and whether it will affect their toddler’s sleep. Toddler clocks can be a useful tool. Let’s dive in!
An OK-to-wake clock is simply a clock that uses colors to visually cue your child’s brain that it’s time for sleep or it’s “ok to wake.” These clocks for little ones have several names: OK-to-wake clock, color-changing clock, sleep training clock, and toddler alarm clock, just to name a few. No matter the name, OK-to-wake clocks can be a helpful tool for toddler sleep.
Toddler clocks are not a standalone solution for early morning wakings, night sleep struggles, or bedtime battles, but they can be helpful!
Toddlers thrive on routine and boundaries, so using an OK-to-wake clock can help in both these areas. It will act as a visual tool and reminder to communicate expectations to your toddler for when it is or isn’t time to get out of bed. This will require you to be consistent in communicating your expectations and holding firm to boundaries for your toddler. It’s also important to maintain a consistent bedtime routine to signal to your toddler that it’s time to get ready to go to bed.
Some color-changing or OK-to-wake clocks can also act as a night light. If your child doesn’t need a night light, then there is no need to use it for bedtime or during sleep; you can leave it turned “off” at night, while using for wake-up in the morning. If you do decide to use your color-changing clock as a night light, I recommend using red for nights because it is the least disruptive color for sleep. If the OK-to-wake clock allows it, we want to set the light setting to its dimmest effective brightness.
For wake-up time, green is the most commonly used color. If your color-changing clock allows you to pick the color, feel free to let your little one choose a color that makes sense to them. Get your toddler involved and give them the opportunity to use their voice to make a decision in the new routine.