The struggle to get a good night’s sleep starts from birth and ends … we’re not sure. Many people continue to struggle with healthy sleep habits well into adulthood. The importance of quality sleep has finally become a major health topic, which means more research into what disrupts our ability to sleep well (banish all smartphones!) and more useful products to help us fall and stay asleep. That includes sleep aids for kids who are learning how to put themselves to sleep and understanding when it’s time to wake up. One of the easiest ways parents can help their little ones develop healthy sleep habits is with a sleep trainer clock.
Sleep trainer clocks work by using light, sounds, or both to signal when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. This helps kids and parents develop a consistent routine where expectations (it’s time to go to sleep/wake up) are clear (the clock is red/the clock is green). While it would be great to say that sleep trainer clocks can help new parents encourage their babies to sleep through the night, the clocks are better geared towards kids two-year-olds and up who can understand their parent’s instructions (stay in bed until the light turns green) and identify the difference in their clock (the screen was red, now it’s green and I can get up).
Sleep training clocks often come with other helpful features, including white noise or other soothing sounds that help block out noises while your little one sleeps. They can also act as a nightlight if kids develop a fear of the dark. One of the most important first steps we found when using sleep training clocks is to not expect an instant change in little ones. It may take a few days or weeks for toddlers and young kids to understand how the clock works. Setting your child’s wakeup time to an hour after they typically rise also likely isn’t going to work, but slowly moving the time five to ten minutes later every few days could help kids (and parents!) get a few more minutes of shut-eye.
Check out our top pick for the best sleep training clocks and help your little one develop healthy sleep habits.
1. Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise
We’ve been using our Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise for about six months and it’s definitely helped our toddler with her bedtime routine (she gets to pick the color and sound) and with staying in bed a few minutes later every day. Sounds and colors can be selected using the buttons on the bottom of the Hatch or the app. Several sleep programs can be set so that your little one has a wake-up time for weekdays, weekends and nap time. The Hatch doubles as a sound machine and nightlight and being able to control the light using the app makes it easy to turn down the brightness and sound after your little one has fallen asleep, ensuring they can still hear “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” but you can’t in your bedroom down the hall. Unlike many sleep trainer clocks that double as nightlights, the Hatch can remain on all night, which means no abrupt light/sound shut off that can wake little ones.
Buy: Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise $59.99
2. Skip Hop Toddler Sleep Training Clock
For little ones who are just learning how to identify different colors and lights, the Skip Hop Toddler Sleep Training Clock is an easy-to-understand sleep training clock. The fun cloud design is kid-friendly and the clock also acts as a nightlight. The cloud will turn red when it’s time to sleep, yellow when it’s almost time to get up, and green when it’s okay to get up. There are two calming sounds and a lullaby that acts as a noise machine at night and will turn off after 20 minutes.
Buy: Skip Hop Toddler Sleep Training Clock $26.99
3. Hatch Rest+ Baby Sound Machine
The Hatch Rest+ has all the features of the original Hatch, plus some upgrades that make it appropriate for older kids. Parents can still select colors and sounds and program different sleep and awake times. With the Hatch Rest+, there is also a digital clock display along the bottom of the unit. In addition, parents can also hear their child through the app and respond to them using the two-way audio monitor function. The Alexa-enabled Hatch allows users to adjust the light and volume through voice controls, which can be beneficial when parents have their hands full … which is always.
Buy: Hatch Rest+ Baby Sound Machine $89.99
4. Kids’ Wake up Light Alarm Cloud Clock White by Capello
Another simple yet effective design is the toddler-friendly Kids’ Wake up Light Alarm Cloud Clock White by Capello. The cloud-shaped clock can be used as a soft glowing nightlight to help keep monsters at bay during sleep time and can be set by parents to turn green when it’s time for little ones to rise. The clock also features a digital display to help little ones learn their numbers and let parents know their show is about to start, so it’s time for the baby to go to bed!
Buy: Kids’ Wake up Light Alarm Cloud Clock White by Capello $20
5. LittleHippo Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Trainer
The LittleHippo Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Trainer is an affordable and multi-function sleep trainer clock that also acts as a white noise machine and nightlight. The kid-friendly design features changing facial expressions on the clock face and an outer rim that changes colors to let little ones know when it’s time to keep sleeping and time to wake up. Parents can opt for a silent or audible alarm as well and choose from five colors for a nightlight. There are also three soothing sleep sounds to help block out noise and the clock displays the time, which is helpful for kids learning their numbers.
Buy: LittleHippo Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Trainer $49.99
6. Big Red Rooster BRRC105 Sleep Training Alarm Clock for Kids
For a sleep trainer clock that keeps things straightforward, we like the Big Red Rooster BRRC105 Sleep Training Alarm Clock for Kids. The friendly dog design of the clock is great for little animal lovers and the training part is simple. When it’s time for kids to sleep, the ball on the clock is red. When it’s time to wake up, the ball turns green. Parents can set up to two alarms (the alarm must be set each night) and a nap timer. The clock can be plugged into an AC outlet or powered by batteries, making it easy to place anywhere in a bedroom. There’s no white noise or soothing sounds with the Big Red Rooster, but we do like that the buttons are hidden under a parent compartment that is out of reach for children.
Buy: Big Red Rooster BRRC105 Sleep Training Alarm Clock for Kids $29.99
7. Wake Up Light Alarm Clock with Bluetooth Speaker by Uplayteck
Whether you have a little one that likes to have dance parties in their room or an older child that wants to be able to play their own music, the Wake Up Light Alarm Clock with Bluetooth Speaker by Uplayteck is a great addition to a bedroom. The Bluetooth-enabled speaker can play music or audiobooks. The clock also has four brightness settings and five colors to choose from, acting as a nightlight and a wakeup indicator. A digital LED clock display is great for older kids and for younger kids, there are three natural sounds (bird, didi, waterfall) that can act as a noise machine.
Buy: Wake Up Light Alarm Clock with Bluetooth Speaker by Uplayteck $34.99
8. Fisher-Price Lumalou Better Bedtime Routine System
Getting kids to bed on time isn’t just about letting them know it’s time to sleep. Routine is key and that can mean taking a bath, brushing teeth, reading a story, using the potty, using the potty again when they’re trying to stall, etc. The Fisher-Price Lumalou Better Bedtime Routine System has a smart app that lets parents pick which symbols they want to show up on the cloud-shaped clock, like a book or toilet. Kids can use a remote to ‘check off’ pre-bedtime items. When it’s time to sleep, the star on the clock lights up red and will turn yellow in the morning when it’s time to get up. Parents can pick from a list of soothing soundscapes, lights, and set sleep and awake times all from the app. The clock can easily be wall-mounted to make it simple for little ones to ‘see’ their schedule.
Buy: Fisher-Price Lumalou Better Bedtime Routine System $89.99
9. Bulbrite Solana 2-Pack A19 WiFi Connected Color Changing LED Smart Light Bulb
BEST FOR NON-NURSERY ROOMS
For a non-traditional sleep trainer clock, we like the Bulbrite Solana 2-Pack A19 WiFi Connected Color Changing LED Smart Light Bulb. Great for use in a non-nursery room or for older kids, the bulbs can be controlled using the Solana app, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The lights can be set on a timer to dim, brighten, or change color and indicate sleep and awake time. The LED lights consume 90 percent less energy than a standard bulb and blend into any décor, making them a great option for guest rooms that don’t always house little ones.
Buy: Bulbrite Solana 2-Pack A19 WiFi Connected Color Changing LED Smart Light Bulb $22.00
More from SPY
Best of SPY