how to get your toddler to sleep past six a.m.

How to get your toddler to sleep past 6 a.m. – the awesome trick that saved our weekends!

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How many of you wake up every morning just WISHING your toddler would sleep in a little longer? I thought that I was just “stuck” with an early riser and that a 6 a.m. wake up call was my new normal. After a year of not sleeping through the night, 6 a.m. didn’t feel like such a sacrifice. However, as time wore on I realized just how much I missed that extra thirty minutes of sleep. I was constantly googling “how to get your toddler to sleep in” or some version of the search that probably brought you here. Our little lady would wake up between 6-6:30 daily and immediately cried for mommy and daddy. We finally found the stay in bed kids light alarm clock and it is changing our entire morning. If you want to get an extra 30 minutes to an hour of sleep and have a toddler between the age of two and five, this is a great option to try.

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What is an “ok to wake” clock?


The concept of the “ok to wake” clock is that it gives signals to your child when it’s ok to wake up. Kids obviously can’t tell time, and sitting in your crib or bed all morning is boring. It only makes sense that they’ll want you to come in if they wake up early. However, the ok to wake clocks provide signals for when it’s actually time to get up. Many even turn yellow in between green and red to let the child know it’s almost time to get up. Ours doesn’t do this (or I haven’t figured out how to make that setting work) but we haven’t had any trouble going straight from red to green.


How a toddler wakeup clock works


We’ll set the alarm at night and the alarm clock has no color. At 5:45 a.m. it will turn red so anytime she wakes up between 5:45 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. she gets the signal to stay in bed. Of course, if she’s up before 5:45 a.m. you run into a little problem, but I was willing to overlook that small issue At 6:45 a.m. the clock turns green so your little knows it’s time to get out of bed. 


A few things to note based on the Amazon reviews of our clock:

  • It may not be that bright if there is a lot of light in the room. Our little sleeps with blackout curtains so this isn’t an issue
  • The green light may not stay on that long. If your child sleeps late beyond the green light it may automatically click off at some point. I’m not sure if you can adjust this. Our little lady is ALWAYS up before it goes off which is why we bought the clock. This isn’t an issue for us but is an important part of functionality to consider


How to get your toddler to sleep in – in real life


This all sounds great in theory – but how does it work in practice? Is my kid REALLY going to stay in bed just because I stuck a light in his room? In short, yes. It may not be perfect, but this clock is a great tool to teach wake up timing. Our little lady is 26 months and we bought the clock last month. She definitely cried at first (and still does sporadically) when she wakes up and the clock is red. However, more often than not she hangs out in her room until the clock changes. She’s taken to gathering up all her animals and standing up to watch the clock. As soon as it hits 6:45 a.m. she yells, “Mommy, green back,” and expects me to come to get her. 


It only took a few days of using the clock and she could parrot back to us that red meant “stay in bed” and green meant “wake up.” We also learned quickly that red means “no crying, no whining.” Although execution isn’t 100% it’s drastically better than before. She’s become so used to getting up with the green light when her grandmother came in early one day she said: “no, red.”



This thing sounds too good to be true. Although I can’t promise it will work because every kid is different, this is a fantastic tool in our house. I only wish I’d bought it literally the month she turned two. You can probably try a little earlier, especially if your child knows colors, but we waited until the recommended age and have had great success.

We tried to buy one of these at Target and they didn’t know what I was talking about. On Amazon I went and found the Stay In Bed Kids Light Alarm Clock. While we love it, it doesn’t have great reviews on Amazon, so there are plenty of people it doesn’t work for. However, most of the bad reviews are around setting the time, the fact that the clock isn’t bright in bright lights (not shocking) and that the colors don’t stay on that long. We literally face none of those issues — daddy sets it since I’m a technology dunce, she sleeps with blackout curtains, and she’s only slept past the light like twice ever. Our goal was to get her to STAY in bed because she always wakes up early. It has been perfect for our needs. 


Stay in Bed Kids Light Alarm Clock



Mirari Ok To Wake Clock

The Mirari Ok To Wake is another version of the same concept. It changes color when it’s time to get up. Head to Amazon if you want to search for other versions. There are stop lights and multiple types of clocks to choose from. Look at the functionality you want and measure against the price. For us, the extra sleep is well worth the cost. This was Amazon’s Choice, so I listed it as an alternate option knowing that ours didn’t get rave reviews. 




If you have an early riser and are convinced you’ll never get a normal amount of sleep again the ok to wake alarm clocks may be a tool to help you sleep in a little longer. Many toddlers are amazed by the color changes and are much more receptive to staying in bed once these are part of the wake-up routine. Although you’ll need to find the right clock to match your child’s needs and sleep habits, they can truly be a game changer.


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Does your toddler wake up at dawn? The ok to wake alarm clocks saved our weekends. This clock is an amazing way to get your toddlers to stay in bed. If your toddler is a super early riser, you'll want to know about this clock!


Wishing you a few extra minutes of sleep tomorrow!

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