All toddlers have an internal sleep clock, which for some means getting up in the wee hours of the morning. If you are a night owl or just don’t want to get up at 5 a.m., this can be exhausting. However, you can teach your child to use a sleep clock to determine whether it’s time to get out of bed. If it’s too early, your toddler can learn to play independently in her bed until it’s time to get Mom up.
Picture clocks work for young children who can’t recognize numbers yet. Instead of a digital clock, a picture clock might have a picture of the moon if it’s time to stay in bed or a sun if it’s time to get up. You can program the clock for your own schedule. Teach your tot to stay in bed and play quietly if the moon is still on the clock. Similar clocks may use colors instead of pictures to let little ones know if it’s time to get up.
Some digital toddler clocks are easy for children to read. They are designed for little ones who can recognize numbers. These clocks are solidly built and aren’t easily reset by curious fingers, although this can make it annoying for parents to program them! The numbers are large. You can teach your tot to play in bed until the number starts with a 6 or 7, depending on your schedule. If you tot doesn’t recognize numbers yet, you can tape a “7” next to the clock so she can match them. This type of clock transitions well into her school years, when she’ll need an alarm clock to get up in time.
Projection Alarm Clocks
A few alarm clocks project images or numbers onto the ceiling. This can be helpful because it gives early risers something to look at when they first wake up. They might project the time or pictures of the solar system. Little ones can easily see the time when they wake up and will know if it’s time to get up. You can also use the alarm to cue your child. For example, if the numbers are projected on the ceiling, it’s time to get up. Otherwise, she can keep her sleepy self in bed.
Early risers can add stress to already exhausted parents. Some toddlers just don’t want to sleep in and will get up at 5 a.m., regardless of what time you went to bed. If you are dealing with an early riser, take action to keep her asleep longer by making sure her room is dark and quiet. Use heavy curtains to block out the light and talk to your neighbors if their dog barks early in the morning. Make sure your little one is well-fed the day before so she doesn’t wake up hungry, and be patient if she is sick or teething. Soon enough she will be in school and will be happy to get a little extra rest.