Is your toddler interrupting your morning beauty sleep or confused about why Saturday is different? We zeroed in on 7 popular options after considering several well-loved and popular contenders for our hands-on toddler clock testing with real kids. After much use and research, we've narrowed the field to the best choices and included a few words on the not-so-great competition. So whether you want a simple light-changing game-changer or a mini entertainment system with storytelling capabilities, our roundup has you covered.
The LittleHippo Ready to Rise is a cute little round toddler training clock with changing color indications and six nightlight color options on a timer. This clock features a changing face, three sound machine noises, and a naptime countdown. The Little Hippo feels of nice quality and came to us packaged well with attention to detail. It includes the charging cord, battery, outlet plug, and instruction booklet. The user interface is on the clock's underside with a sliding lock/unlock button that might fool younger children.
This toddler clock has everything you're likely seeking, but we experienced difficulties using all the features, and even with a lot of manual reading, we still struggled with some. Also, older toddlers will quickly sort out the parent lock, which makes it feel relatively useless, and they might be able to change the settings, even if you can't. Last, the sound machine noises aren't the best, and we weren't fans of its white noise or ocean settings' sounds outside the lullaby. Overall, the Little Hippo feels like a quality clock, and if you can sort out the features, you'll soon have your little one well on their way to waking up later and giving you more sleep.
The Learn & Climb Kids Ok to Come Out of Bed Clock is a simple star-shaped clock where the star's top part is the "big button." This star has a front-facing user interface, a digital display that is easy to see, and uses AAA batteries you supply yourself. It does come with a cord and charger, two progress charts to motivate little ones, and a storybook to start kids thinking about when to wake up. Depending on your needs, you can program the clock for a light alarm or light and sound, and it includes a nightlight and a nap countdown option to keep kids on track during nap times.
Overall, this is a helpful and cute little clock with an easier-to-use interface than some competition. However, it still isn't as easy as a traditional alarm clock, and kids will be able to press the buttons and change the settings fairly easily and potentially easier than a grownup would. While we like that this toddler clock doesn't try to be everything to everyone, it is essential to note that it doesn't have additional features, like sounds, teaching, or stories we saw in some competitors. However, if you want a simple color-changing clock to tell little ones when they are allowed to come out of their room, this little star can do the job with relative ease on you and your wallet.
The Big Red Rooster Alarm Clock is a cute dog-shaped alarm clock with a glowing ball that changes color for sleep (red) and time to wake (green). This adorable and straightforward clock is kid-friendly, easy to hold, and includes a battery for cord-free operation. Parents can set two alarms and a nap timer to help little people learn when is a good time to rise.
While this toddler clock is pleasing to the eye and little ones will likely desire to hold it, we believe the "hidden" parent compartment isn't childproof and can result in random button-pushing. The user interface isn't user-friendly, and we think a more straightforward design would help this clock significantly in the long run. While most parents will be able to figure it out, we worry you'll need to keep instructions on hand as a reminder or after a long period of unuse. Despite these control issues, we think this straightforward clock does what it should and will appeal to little ones enough to help them learn when it is okay to get out of bed.
The Hatch Baby Rest is an app-controlled light-up clock for children that you can set and monitor from your phone. We appreciate that parents can set multiple alarms and make adjustments remotely. The sleek design is calming and looks good almost anywhere. The clock is relatively kid-friendly, resisting breakage unless dropped or thrown. Parents can use this clock as a nightlight, a light-changing clock to indicate when to get up, and a noisemaker to soothe little ones or reduce ambient noises. Unlike the competition, you can use the Hatch past the toddler years, and even many adults enjoy the clock.
This clock doesn't have kid-centric features and is limited only to a color change, nightlight, and sound machine. While these are all the features you need to teach your child when is the right time to rise and shine, we worry younger children will lose interest because it isn't playful or interactive. This straightforward clock is perfect for tech-savvy parents who want to control the clock remotely and rely on other items to entertain toddlers.
The Mirari Ok to Wake works as advertised with a price lower than some contenders. This simple toddler clock has limited features, such as a nightlight and color change alarm to indicate it's time to wake up (FYI - there is no audible alarm to avoid waking a sleeping child). Our toddler testers were drawn to its simplicity, blob-shape design, and the animated face that appears when you touch the right foot, gasping with excitement at the quick color changes. Also, the clock's light is bright enough to see even during a daytime nap.
This clock only has digital numbers. While not a deal-breaker, it seems like a lost opportunity to familiarize toddlers with clock faces, hands, and telling time. The OK to Wake setup is relatively straightforward, but getting the nightlight to stay on while using the timer is challenging. The buttons on the clock are concealed behind a cover that is very easy to remove (under 20 seconds for our 2-year-old tester), so we don't think it is very kid-proof and could result in regular resetting. It functions on 4 AA batteries with no ac adapter, so you'll need to invest in batteries. Also, the toddler clock breaks easily, has hit-or-miss battery connections and loses time. We didn't have significant problems during testing, but it is something to consider. With time (a year or so), some children lost interest in the clock. Overall, if you need a toddler clock that changes color at a predetermined time without the added expense of bells and whistles, then the OK to Wake is the potential solution for you.
Type: Digital & Clock Face | Power: Plug with Battery Backup
REASONS TO BUY
Actual clock face
Telling time activity
REASONS TO AVOID
Challenging to use
No, really, Very difficult to use
The Mirari Teach Me Time clock can change colors at a set time and has an audible alarm. This higher-priced choice includes a clock face to familiarize children with actual clocks and interactive activities to help them learn how to tell time using clock hands. It has a "hidden" setup panel, a child-centric design, and plugs in (something the similar-looking Ok to Wake doesn't). Our testers were intrigued by the blob design, but toddlers as young as two quickly opened the "hidden" access panel, making it inherently not kid-proof, in our opinion.
While we believe there's importance in teaching little ones how to tell time, this toddler clock feels more like a gimmick than a helpful teaching tool. After a day or two, our testers lost interest and began skipping the time-telling guess part and only pressing the foot to hear the robotic voice say the time. Also, the clock is confusing and challenging to use. With non-intuitive buttons on the back and visual indicators on the front, you can't make adjustments and simultaneously look at what you are doing. Ours didn't come with a manual, but even after we found it online and watched a video, we couldn't figure out how to set the audible alarm (a problem shared by other users). The Teach Me Time is a good idea, but it falls short in execution with a higher price for features you can't figure out and a time game children won't use for long. If you'd like a clock that changes color, we think there are better choices. If you want to teach your child how to tell time, we believe there are less expensive, more fun ways than the Teach Me Time.
The Stoplight Alarm Clock is a cute clock at first blush with its large, easy-to-see lights and ceramic figures (a variety including cars, trains, and Sesame Steet characters). The buttons are easy to use, even without the manual, and we had it up and running in no time, with little ones waiting with bated breath for the light to change. This clock is relatively budget-friendly, but we suspect parents will expect better quality or durability than they get for the price.
While we concede this clock will work well for some younger children when it is out of reach, it isn't very versatile and could break. We were disappointed in the poor quality, with visible glue strings and globs and a poor paint job that looked like a child did it. For parents hoping to teach children anything about the actual time, this clock is also a no-go as it has a small, hard-to-read digital clock (no clock face) that you cannot see at a distance or certain angles, which is where you need to place this clock, so little ones can't break it. In short, while we think the Stoplight is intriguing to children, our tiny testers quickly lost interest in this product, and we worried it was only a matter of time until the ceramic figure fell off or got dropped. However, if all you care about is a good light change and you don't want to mess around with teaching time or confusing functions you won't use, it could be a good stop-gap between getting up too early and getting a few extra zzzs. Honestly, a light timer and a lamp can do this for you for a much lower price.
No matter which toddler clock you decide is best for you, please use caution and pay attention to manufacturer warning labels when determining age appropriateness and whether or not little ones should have access to the clock. While some options might be designed for some hands-on kid play, the Stoplight Clock is not. Most of the products fall somewhere in the middle, depending on your child's age or maturity.
Why You Should Trust Us
We purchased each toddler clock in our review, using them for several months with toddler testers. While evaluating the competition, we focused on important metrics that we believe collectively contribute to a product's performance, such as ease of use, kid-proof features, quality, functionality, and entertainment value. Influencing our lineup is child engagement and concept understanding, as the products are somewhat useless without your child's buy-in and comprehension. Determining which toddler clocks to include in our review, we drew from our own experience and hit the bricks with some online research to find other popular choices. We put these clocks through the wringer with kiddos ranging in age from two to eight years old. Ultimately, we discovered vast differences in likability and usability in clocks designed for toddlers.
Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz is a mother of 2 boys and a BabyGearLab team member for the last six years. Wendy has a background in product selection, scientific testing, and baby gear, involving almost every equipment category on BabyGearLab. Wendy was involved in product selection, testing, and analysis of results for the toddler clocks in this roundup and all previous review versions.
Analysis and Test Results
If your toddler is at your bedside in the middle of the night or is ready to start the day far too early, you are likely dealing with toddler sleep issues and potential sleep deprivation. We know we've been there. For many parents, help comes in a training Toddler Clock.
Can you place a value on uninterrupted sleep? We don't think so, but we understand living on a budget. Luckily, most top-ranking options are under fifty dollars, with an adorable dog-shaped choice almost half that depending on sales. However, the key to any toddler clock working well is: does it keep your little one occupied or teach them to wait until the right time to leave their room and wake up mom or dad? The Big Red Rooster Alarm Clock is an adorable option kids will be drawn to with the engaging puppy design and color-coded information. The LittleHippo Ready to Rise costs a little bit more but might be more interactive for older toddlers.
Features and Set Up
All of the clocks in the review have a timer feature and at least one color change alarm that indicates when to rise and shine. We set up and used the clocks as instructed in their user manuals or online information, scrutinizing how easy they were to set and whether or not the interface buttons were intuitive. Some products come with instructions on the clock, and others provide manuals detailing toggling through the buttons.
The Teach Me Time is the hardest to setup, with only a few buttons that each do multiple things depending on the number of times you press them or how long you hold them down. The instructions for Teach Me Time (online only) aren't much help, and we couldn't figure out how to set its audible alarm. The Ok to Wake and Stoplight Alarm Clock were easier than the Teach me Time for setup difficulty. The Hatch Rest app arguably is the easiest, with intuitive icons for adjustments and a simple, straightforward design most parents will feel is familiar. The Big Red Rooster has buttons similar to the Ok to Wake and Teach Me Time, and we think it could vastly improve with a more user-friendly interface. The Little Hippo and the Learn & Climb come with far more convoluted manuals than they should be, and we had trouble setting some features on the Little Hippo. Most toddler clocks have a learning curve, and you will likely need your manual around for a while until you dial in the details.
Once you sort out how to use them, some toddler clocks have more features than a simple light color change to indicate when it is appropriate to get out of bed. The Teach Me Time has a teaching feature with a robotic-sounding voice that encourages children to guess the time and the ability to press the foot to tell them once they've guessed. The Hatch Rest has a few features directed by parents, such as a noise machine with sounds and lullabies and the ability to work as a nightlight, but there are no kid-centric features that allow kids to interact with the clock itself.
The Little Hippo also includes a few extra features with three sound machine noises and a timed nightlight. The noise options include white noise, ocean waves, and a lullaby. While we like the lullaby, the white noise reminds us of TV fuzz, and the ocean waves sound is loud and somewhat jarring. In our opinion, neither is that soothing, and there is room for improvement here.
Design and Performance
We consider overall design related to a few factors: parental ease of use and attractiveness to children. In short order, it was clear which clocks children preferred and which were mechanically functional and worked to modify a child's sleep behaviors. We had varying levels of success, and the kids had different levels of interest. While the Stoplight Clock was initially attractive to the testers, they lost interest when they weren't allowed to touch it, and after a few days, they didn't give the clock much consideration beyond the change of color. The Mirari clocks are sort of fun at first, they couldn't stand up to the now-discontinued My Tot Clock either. The Ok to Wake doesn't do much, and the Teach Me Time is challenging to use without a parent, and if little ones try to use it on their own, they would likely unplug it, causing it to stop or require a reset. The Hatch Rest is a lovely nursery addition that is bright enough to keep children engaged with the color change, and you can use it as a nightlight, but it isn't intended for hands-on play.
The Big Red Rooster is super cute, and kids can hold it, but if they open the setting panel, all could be lost, and it doesn't do anything but change color. The Little Hippo (above left) and the Learn & Climb (above right) have battery backups so kids can hold them, but there isn't much for kids to do, so the entertainment value is low, and drops could result in breakage.
The Hatch Rest, Little Hippo, and Learn & Climb are the best quality in the bunch, which is an improvement over past versions of this review where only one or two options impressed testers. In our experience and those of other users, most toddler clock materials fail to inspire confidence in longevity and are highly likely to succumb to rough toddler handling. Many have a hard, brittle-feeling plastic that is likely to crack under regular toddler play.
The Stoplight Alarm Clock has the least impressive quality in the group. In our opinion, it appears haphazardly put together with visible glue strings and paint that looks like a toddler applied it. The character is ceramic and will unquestionably break in a toddler's hands. The two Mirari clocks are manufactured better than the Stoplight with no apparent structural problems, but they look and feel like cheaper plastic. Users claim significant challenges with the Mirari clocks no longer functioning or falling apart quickly and easily. Ours had trouble within the first year or two.
Most toddler clocks attempt to kid-proof the buttons or features, but very few manage this feat. The Stoplight Clock has the least kid-proofing with front buttons that are easy to press, and anyone can easily change the settings without trying. While we like that kids can adjust the nightlight feature by themselves, it isn't great that they can change the alarm and time from what you want. This clock is also fragile and can easily break if accidentally dropped. The Mirari clocks claim to have a "childproof" "concealed" compartment for their buttons (as does the Big Red Rooster). However, the tot testers in our review popped the panels open in under 20 seconds without prompting, help, or prior knowledge of the location or functionality. The Hatch is probably the second most kid-proof clock in the review as it is relatively sturdy in construction, and most kids won't be interested in holding or playing with it. The Learn & Climb (below left) had forward-facing buttons that are easy to see and access, and we suspect toddlers might be able to adjust things easier than adults.
The Little Hippo has the user interface on the bottom (above right) and a sliding parent lock, but it is just for show, and most little ones will sort this out in short order. However, we will admit that changing the Little Hippo might be harder for kids as you have to press the buttons in a specific order that kids may not figure out.
The Stoplight Clock is partially ceramic, and the car can come loose if mishandled because only a little bit of glue keeps the car connected to the base. The Mirari clocks, Little Hippo, Learn & Climb, and the Big Red Rooster all appear somewhat fragile, and we worry about use over time if children hold or move them too much. Therefore, we suspect they wouldn't hold up to regular handling and are not childproof.
Choosing a useful sleep-training toddler clock can be the difference between getting a whole night's sleep and waking before dawn on a toddler's whim. While a toddler-specific sleep training clock is not necessary for everyone, it could be a huge help if your little one is having trouble determining when it is ok to wake up and play or when they need to go back to bed. We believe there is a toddler clock in this review right for most families, no matter your budget or goals. We were thrilled to see new products that are higher quality and more interesting than those we've previously tested.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.