This parenting thing is hard. Some of the challenges are expected. Like getting up in the middle of the night with a newborn for feedings. That’s standard-issue we-had-a-kid stuff, right?

But one of my most recent challenges really took me by surprise: my toddler waking up too early.

I’m not talking about him getting up at like 6:30 when I wanted to sleep until 7. I’m talking about him getting up between 4 and 5. I felt like I had transported back to those newborn days. I was never getting enough sleep, and I’d float through the day like a zombie.

Until I discovered the best toddler alarm clock.

Are you having the toddler-waking-up-too-early problem, too? If so, here’s a look at the best toddler alarm clock options, along with an enthusiastic recommendation for what works best.

I’m so fortunate to have found a toddler alarm clock that works for me. But, as you know, what works for one toddler isn’t sure to work for another. If you try the same model I did and it doesn’t work for you, return it and try another. I’m confident you’ll find a solution that delivers that extra sleep you crave.


1. Teach Me Time! Talking Alarm Clock and Nightlight — Our Top Pick!

This is the savior I had been waiting for — the Teach Me Time! Talking Alarm Clcok and Nightlight. Not only does this product serve as an OK to Wake! clock, it also includes features that help your toddler learn how to tell time. Let me explain.

First, the OK to Wake! feature is simple and easy for your child to pick up on. The clock is yellow during sleeping time, and then it turns green when it’s time to get out of bed. It’s that simple. I had no problem at all helping my 3-year-old learn that he can’t get up until the clock turns green. We had some challenges those first few mornings, but he took to it quickly soon after.

You can choose different display options, including setting up the clock to be digital or setting it up as analog — whatever you want your child to learn. It serves as a nightlight, too, which I’ve found isn’t too bright. And it also features an AC adapter, which means you don’t have to worry about changing out batteries.

Oh, and it also has a battery backup in case of a power outage, so you don’t have to worry about a lack of electricity throwing off the time and confusing your kid.

I can’t recommend the Teach Me Time! Alarm Clock and Nightlight enough. It’s simple and easy. And, best of all, it works.

Is the Teach Me Time! Alarm Clock and Nightlight Right for You?

Buy this toddler alarm clock if …

… you want results mixed in with a little bit of education.

Pass on this toddler alarm clock if …

… you don’t want or need some of the additional features this clock includes.


2. OK to Wake! Alarm Clock and Nightlight

I noted above that the Teach Me Time! option might not be a perfect fit for someone who just wants a toddler alarm clock without any additional features. If you fit into that category, take a look at the OK to Wake! Alarm Clock and Nightlight.

In essence, OK to Wake! is the Teach Me Time! but with all the additional features stripped out. You just get the alarm clock without the education, and you can also save a few bucks.

One of the big drawbacks to this clock for me is that it runs on batteries rather than through an AC adapter. I suppose this isn’t a huge deal, but it’s just a pain to need to change out batteries on a regular basis.

That said, just like the Teach Me Time! option, the OK to Wake! turns from yellow to green when it’s time to get out of bed. The yellow glow serves as a terrific nightlight — one that’s not too bright and yet not too dim either.

I went for the AC adapter and additional features you find in the Teach Me Time! Clock. But now that these are quality products, and you’ll be getting a quality and effective solution if you choose the OK to Wake! for your toddler. In simplest terms: You can’t go wrong here.

Is the OK to Wake! Alarm Clock and Nightlight Right for You?

Buy this toddler alarm clock if …

… you want a simple solution that includes a toddler alarm clock only.

Pass on this toddler alarm clock if …

… you want some additional bells and whistles along with the toddler alarm clock.


3. My Tot Clock

The My Tot Clock is an incredibly popular and highly rated toddler alarm clock. Is it right for you? Maybe. The reason I didn’t choose the My Tot Clock is that it has too many features.

For example, the My Tot Clock offers 5 different colors for different times of the day. There’s a color for bedtime, wake-up time, naptime and fun time. There’s nothing wrong with these features, but it was just a little more structure than I wanted to foist on my 3-year-old.

I had mentioned earlier that the Teach Me Time! clock has a few more options compared to the OK to Wake! model. In turn, the My Tot Clock offers more features than the Teach Me Time! clock. So, in my opinion, Teach Me Time! is the perfect middle option, one that does everything I need it to — and at a reasonable price, too.

I will say, though, if you want all the bells and whistles in a toddler alarm clock, the My Tot Clock is the way to go. You’ll pay for the privilege, but this is a high-quality options that’s clearly among the leaders on the market. It wasn’t right for me, but it might be perfect for you.

Is the My Tot Clock Right for You?

Buy this toddler alarm clock if …

… you want a high-end toddler alarm clock that has all the bells and whistles.

Pass on this toddler alarm clock if …

… you’re looking for something simpler — and a little more affordable.


4. Stoplight Sleep Enhancing Alarm Clock

Now, this is a really cool option in my opinion. If your child loves Sesame Street, the Stoplight Sleep Enhancing Alarm Clock is available with Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo and other characters. Your PBS-loving child might find these characters comforting, which might make this clock more effective.

It’s pretty simple in function. A red light means it’s time to sleep, and a green light means it’s time to get out of bed. You can set up an optional alarm, too, if you find that your toddler likes to hear the signal that it’s time to get up — mine does.

But there’s one huge drawback to this option — the price tag. This is a great product, but it’s absolutely at the highest end of the market, and I’m not sure the value is there to validate how much it costs.

OK, if you’re desperate and you think Cookie Monster or Elmo is the only character that can help your child stay in bed, this toddler alarm clock might be worth it for you. That wasn’t my case, so I went with something entirely different. To each her own, right? Also, you may be able to find deals on this clock at some point, which would make it a much better value.

Is the Stoplight Sleep Enhancing Alarm Clock Right for You?

Buy this toddler alarm clock if …

… you think your toddler would respond really well to Sesame Street characters.

Pass on this toddler alarm clock if …

… you want to test a budget option rather than making a big investment.


5. Claessens’ Moon Sleeptrainer

The Claessens’ Moon Sleeptrainer is a little bit different than the other options. Rather than using colors to let your child know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake, this toddler alarm clock uses a bunny that’s either asleep or awake depending on the time.

This toddler alarm clock also uses a process for going to bed and getting up. You set a 10-minute timer before it’s time to go to bed, and your child can watch the sunset on the clock during those 10 minutes. Then, in the morning, the moon sets over the same 10-minute time period, and the bunny wakes up at the end of the cycle.

You can also set different wakeup times for weekdays, weekends and naptimes, which might be helpful for some toddlers. Choose from different sounds for an alarm, too, like birds that chirp. I like that this toddler alarm clock includes an AC adapter with battery backup, too.

There are two reasons why I passed on the Claessens’ Moon Sleeptrainer, though. First, I wanted something a little easier to learn, and I found that the lights were easiest for my toddler to learn. I’m sure he could have learned about the bunny being asleep or awake over time, but I didn’t want to take that chance. And, I was also afraid the bunny would be less appealing as he gets older. While I think he can continue using the Teach Me Time! clock through elementary school, he may age out of this one a little more quickly.

Is the Claessens’ Moon Sleeptrainer Right for You?

Buy this toddler alarm clock if …

… you like the idea of a wakeup process rather than a light suddenly popping on.

Pass on this toddler alarm clock if …

… you want a clock that is easy to learn and that can be used for years to come.


Final Thoughts on the Best Toddler Alarm Clock

I can’t recommend getting a toddler alarm clock enough. If the Teach Me Time! model doesn’t do it for you and your child, find another one that does. It was life changing — and sanity maintaining — for me.

But let me leave you with one word of encouragement: This too shall pass. If your toddler is waking up early constantly and you don’t know what to do about it, remember that it’s just a phase. Soon your toddler will be sleeping in — and you’ll have a completely different and new issue to worry about. That’s just the way it goes.

We’re so lucky to have these precious kids in our lives, though. And I know that someday I’ll look back fondly on even the most challenging of moments. Maybe you will, too?

Do you have another recommendation? Let us know in the comments section below, or you can always send a message directly through our contact form.