OK to Wake Clocks and Lights for Early Risers

We've been having some issues which I'm sure many of you have had or about to have. My 4 year old, Joshua, wakes up in the morning a little too early and wants to get up. He isn't yet allowed to get out of bed (except for bathroom trips) without permission so he sits in his bed asking (aka yelling) if it is time to get up. And then, what do you know, Jacob hears his brother and
wakes up at this early hour as well. We've been amazingly lucky that we've lasted this long without an issue!

One of the most common (and cheapest) ways to deal with this is to teach your child how to tell time and let them know that they cannot come out of their bed (or bedroom, if you prefer) until X time. Most kids won't be able to completely tell time yet, but if you let them know that they can't get out of bed until the first number says, say 7, then even a pretty young child should be able to figure this out. Another way is to attach a timer onto a night light.

If you have a very young child that can't quite figure out a clock or you simply want something else that's a little more fun for them and even educational, there are a few options that I've listed below. My family has used the teach me time clock and the kid sleep clock (cheapest clock I've found and easy for really young children to understand). We have loved these clocks, but I'm sure any clock or light you get below will great--just get whatever you think you child will enjoy and respond to best. 

The great thing about most of these clocks/lights is that they can be a cue for bedtime as well as wakeup time and they help some children reduce night wakings. And many of them can be set for other times, like naps, so you don't have to reprogram things each day. Some things to consider: Is it battery or plug operated? Do you want a night light? Can the night light turn off if desired? Do you want a digital and/or analog clock?

  • Green light turns on when it is time to get up
  • You can use it as a yellow night light during sleep times or turn the light off during sleep times
  • Separate nap timer
  • Battery operated only
  • Alarm clock with snooze for older kids
  • You can press the toes to make fun facial expressions
  • Face on the clock isn't backlit so hard to see at night (you can push the toe to light it up)
  • Concealed control panel so kids can't change the settings
  • Interchangeable pink and green bezels.You can buy it here (cheapest price I can find).

Teach Me Time! Talking Alarm Clock and Nightlight

  • Night light that turns green when it is ok to wake. You can also turn the night light completely off by setting it to the same time the ok to wake light turns on. You can figure out how to turn off the feet lights by looking at the first few amazon reviews.
  • Helps children learn to tell time with a light up face and with an interactive time game
  • Alarm clock and snooze
  • Adjustable volume and brightness
  • Battery and plug operated
  • Concealed control panel so kids can't easily change the settings
  • Comes with pink, blue and yellow interchangeable bezels. You can buy it here.

  • Night light
  • Wake up indicator - when the sleeping animal is lit, time to stay in bed, when the awake animal is lit, it is time to get up
  • Alarm clock and nap setting.
  • Comes in pink, blue and green (smaller)
  • Item seems somewhat low quality and difficult to program. Buttons are easy for a child to push.
  • Plugs in
  • 3 brightness levels. You can buy it here.

  • Plugs in and can be battery operated
  • Clock turns yellow when it is time to wake up. Is blue during sleep times
  • 5 levels of illumination, including off
  • Also has a green and red light that you can set for other things like nap time or activity time
  • Alarm option
  • Music and white noise option
  • Story option
  • Changeable faceplates. You can buy it here.

  • Sold mainly in the UK and Europe but it looks like you can buy it in Canada here. I found it online in the USA here.
  • A yellow sun comes up when it is time to get up. At night there are blue stars that count down until morning (you can turn these off at night)
  • Digital clock display (optional)
  • Second time setting that can be used for naps or weekends ( suggest that you keep weekends the same as weekdays but obviously this doesn't happen for many families)
  • Comes with a bedtime story book to encourage kids to stay in bed until morning
  • Plugs in. You can buy it here from the UK.

Stoplight Sleep Enhancing Clock
  • When the red light is on (no way to turn it off), it is time to sleep. When it is green (goes on for an hour), time to get up
  • Digital clock
  • Alarm
  • You can also buy a boy in a car, a train and owls. You can buy it here.

OK To Wake! Owl With Night-Light and Music
  • Face glows yellow at night(for up to 2 hours) and green when it is ok to wake. Green light only stays lit for a short time then the child has to push a (supposedly difficult to push) button to see if it is time to get up.
  • Music with the push of the tummy (difficult to push though)
  • Nap timer
  • Adjustable volume, brightness and auto-off duration
  • Battery operated. You can buy it here.


  1. Rochelle @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

    I dont know where to post this, but I could really use some advice. I know that this has nothing to do w your giveaway (which I entered) so bear w me.. I have purchased the bedtiming book and know that the time period between 9mos.-11mos. in not recommended to do sleeptraining because it prob wont work. My LO was sleeptrained at 5 mos. and then again at 6 mos. to wean the bf at nite and was sleeping well until this horrible awful 9 mos. sleep regression which know is bad for a lot of babies. He is now 10 mos. has cut 4 teeth in the last 2 months. The sleep regression and teething along with a long bout of flu and some horrible speration anxiety has wrecked his training we did. he is also doing the horrible naps right now which I know has part to do with him transitioning to the 2:1 nap thing which will prob take several months of playing with his awake time. He is doing A LOT of early waking at 5:30/6 which is because of the 2:1 thing and him getting OT. I also know that there some prop issues and this might be part of the prob also. Right now I am rocking untill drowsy and pd. But if he is not very drowsy, he will sit up and cry pretty hard. He used to go down from wide awake to sleep by himself. He had seperation anxiety when I leave the room, but is getting better. The prob is when I'm putting him down for naps and at night the seperation anxiety kicks in. But I dont know how much of this is props issue or OT or seperation anxiety. I do know for sure some of it IS seperation anxiety. The thing is I REALLY need to do some sort of sleep training. Im just thinking that waiting 2 more months untill he is 12 mos. is a long time. What do you think? Should I just be patient and wait until when the Bedtiming book says? The book makes since and has lots of science to back it up. Even the wonder weeks book says we shouldnt train during a wonder week and be patient. So I'm up against a rock and a hard place here. I dont want to continue the rocking prop. But sometimes when he is having seperation anxiety I think he may need it.
    Sorry for the long post...I'm confused and need advice from someone who has already read the book.

    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      The thing with bed timing and the wonder weeks is that it's ideal not to sleep train during those times since many babies (but not all) will have a tougher time or take a longer time then but you have to take all factors into account. If you feel you can no longer handle things as they are right now, that is a very important factor. So I think sleep training may be ok in your situation. I would try to move maybe slower than you did in the past given what is going on with your little guy or try some techniques, like the baby whisperer, that offer a little extra support (maybe you alteady offer a bunch, dunno). Actually, if possible, I'd try to get as many variables as you can straightened up before you start and try to make sure you have some time to be consistent. You can always adjust what you are doing for st or stop it if things aren't going well (but make sure to give it a reasonable try before determining this).


  2. Nicole @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

    Those are such cute clocks!

  3. Charlene @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

    Hi Rachel,

    I've been reading your blog for awhile now and it's so great- thanks for all the useful information! My son is nearly 7 months old and for the last week or so he has been waking up at around 430am. We did some sleep training with him about 3 weeks ago (CIO more or less) and he responded great to it- after 2 nights he consistently (over a week) slept through til 530 or 545 or 6, fed from me and then went back to sleep until his usual wake time of about 715.

    Then, he got his first two teeth. He was up a couple times a night some nights for about a week. We helped him get back to sleep by calming him down in our arms, giving teeth gel and calpol (tylenol). After the teething issues calmed down things seemed to go back to normal for a day or two but then all of a sudden he started waking around 430am again. He's doesn't seem hungry and almost seems annoyed that he is awake.

    Do you think he got used to being in our arms and now needs us to go back to sleep? He has also started going up on his hands and knees and rocking forward like he's trying to crawl so I thought that might be it too. If you have any advice please let me know. We aren't against letting him cry for a bit but want to be consistent with whatever we do. I should add that he goes to bed (asleep by) about 645-650pm every night and has done that fine for months. Naps are usually good too- hour and ten minutes in the morning and usually an hour and a half in the afternoon (although this one seems to be really varied lately with anywhere from 45mins to 2 and a half hours).


    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      The two issues you mentioned might both have a part in what is going on. Since you feel that everything is fine with him, I would suggest doing 1)wake to sleep or 2) giving him as little, if any, attention. If you go in, I would try to keep him in his bed and just tell him quickly it is time to sleep since he may be waking and wanting snuggles again. Also give him plenty of time practicing on his tummy during the day.


    2. Charlene @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      Thanks Rachel- I will try both. Wake to sleep has worked in the past so I'll definitely give that a go tonight. He napped perfectly today so I'm keeping my fingers crossed he's worked things out on his own. Cheers for the advice!

    3. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      Working things out on their own really does happen a lot. Time is all that is needed much of the time we as parents are freaking out about what is happening! Best of luck!

  4. Sarah @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    What is the youngest age that you think this kind of clock would be useful for? My baby's 18 months... too young, right? (Please say no!! I'm SO tired of 4:00am wake ups! lol)

    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      Sarah, it's going to depend upon your child. The general suggested starting age is about 2, but I think there are some 18 month olds this would work for. If you get one, choose one with clear signs ( color change etc) make it fun and exciting to use (there may be some lost sleep at first use to excitement) and make sure to be consistent and follow through with your sleep plan. If it was currently available(and I'm very annoyed it isn't!) I'd get the good nice light for this age. If you are in the uk/Australia then the gro clock. Besides that, I think it depends on what features ou think will work best

    2. Sarah @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      Thanks so much! I think it could actually work for him. I just wish the good night light was available! I'll keep checking back!

    3. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says ...

      I'm suppose to get an email when the good night lite is available so I'll try to leave a comment here to let you know when it becomes available (assuming you are subscribed to comments).

  5. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks so much for your helpful advice and information! I'm very interested in how you have trained your son to stay in the bed when he wakes too early. My 3 year old daughter wakes at 4 am and then comes into our bedroom (trying to get in the bed with us). From then on it's a constant battle - me taking her back to her bedroom over and over again until finally it's just time to get ready for the day. Needless to say I am exhausted! How did you train him to stay? Thank you!

  6. Is there a go to sleep clock? We don't have any trouble with the kid not waking up early.

  7. Robert,
    Haha, yes, going to sleep is more often the big problem! These can also be used to help a child go to bed (they go to bed when the animal is alseep/a certain light is on), but it may or may not work for a child. Some children get really excited about following along with the light, while other children don't really care or they have such a difficulty going to sleep on their own, that a light doesn't help much.


  8. Have you seen any success on using any of these with a 12 month old? My kid wakes at 5am every morning. She will stay in bed and play, babble, etc until around 6 when we get up, but we are not sleeping since we hear her in there messing around. Trying to train that 5 is still nighttime. Can a baby that young understand the concept of any of the above clocks? And where can you put them I wonder so that they can't grab/throw them but can still be easily seen from the crib?

    1. Unknown,
      Usually children closer to 18 months will get this light things. I have hard of younger children doing well with them, but that would totally depend upon the child and I can offer no kind of guarantee on that :) You can put the clock across the room, even on a high book shelf, and the child can still see the light coming from it. I have never kept them on my child's night table because they would play with them too.