When I was first researching ok to wake clocks, there were lots of other clocks that were much cheaper than this one. I had a really hard time getting over the price, initially. I am glad I stuck with my gut, however, and chose the My Tot Clock above the others. This clock has a ton of features, and we utilize most of them! We started using this clock when Caroline was 18 months old. This seemed to be the perfect age for us! It then helped Caroline make a seamless transition into her big girl bed!
So, let's talk about all of the amazing features and what it does!
- The clock: The clock itself shows both an analog and digital version of the time. This means nothing to my toddler at the moment, but when she is old enough to learn how to tell time, she'll have a great little clock to look at!
- The nightlight: Many children like the security of having a nightlight in their bedrooms. You can choose to keep a light on all night long, or you can choose to put it in power save mode and turn off after a set amount of time (your choosing). You can also choose how bright the light is! I love how many options this product gives for such a simple thing such as a light!
- Bedtime: For bedtime, you set the time of day that you want bedtime to start. We chose 7 pm for when our bedtime routine starts. At that time, the blue light comes on. If you've chosen to have it only stay on for a certain amount of time, it goes off accordingly, otherwise it stays on all night. When the light comes on, you can choose to have music play, a story be read, or even white noise can play. You can choose the length that each of these play for, and you can even buy inserts to change the story or music that is offered! When we first started with the clock, we had the music play. This served as an alert to direct Caroline's attention to the clock, and she'd then notice that the blue light was on!
- Nap time: There is a different setting for naps, and the clock utilizes a lighter blue... I wouldn't be able to tell you which was on (nap or bed) if I didn't know the time probably! I love that bedtime and naps are both blue. Caroline caught on pretty quickly that blue meant bed (in any sense). Naps are set a little differently. You set the time that you want the nap to last for. I chose 3 hours. The blue light stays on for 3 hours. All I have to do to start it is click the light blue button on the top of the clock (tap and then hold). This is perfect since naps don't start at exactly the same time every day. You can also override the bedtime blue if you want it to go on earlier than you have it already set to, by doing the tap and hold technique as well!
- Wake time: I really should call this something else, because anytime the clock finishes a function (bed, nap, timeout, independent play, etc) it turns yellow. It's the "all finished" color! If I had one tweak to the clock, I'd make this color green instead of yellow. Caroline already knows that "green means go", so it would have been a nice touch. In any case, the color serves its purpose. When the clock turns yellow, Caroline knows that is ok to get out of bed, or that she's finished with her independent play, etc. It is a great visual cue for her. We tell her every nap and every bedtime, that she is to stay in bed until her clock turns yellow. It works like a charm!
- Red light: The red light is similar to the nap time function in that you set a time (1 min, 2 mins, etc.) The manufacturer has this designated as a timeout function, but the reality is you can use these colors (blue, red and green) for any function you'd like. You tap and hold, it comes on for the time you've set, and when the time is over it turns yellow. Caroline has only had 1 timeout so far, so she doesn't yet know what red really means.
- Green light: The green light function is again a time that is set on the clock for a certain length. We've chosen to use this as Caroline's "room time" (independent play). We set ours for 35 minutes, and she stays in her room for play until the light turns yellow. Again, you tap and hold to start this function, and could utilize it for any purpose.
Our tips for using the clock:
- If you can, start prior to making the switch from crib to bed, as it will help immensely!
- Give frequent reminders to your little one. Tell them what you want them to do, in addition to what they shouldn't do. Every night at bed we give Caroline the same reminders. We've done this since the day she got it (18 months old), and we still do it at 22 months old.
- When it turns blue we started by saying "Caroline look at your clock! It's blue! Blue means bedtime!". We'd then start our bedtime routine. Now we say "Caroline what color is your clock?" She responds by saying "blue". Half of the time she immediately heads for the bathroom to get ready for bed. If she hasn't already, we ask her "What does blue mean?". She responds by saying "Bedtime".
- When she was in her crib, we'd remind her to "Go to bed like a big girl. Stay nice and quiet and close your eyes until your clock is yellow in the morning. Call us if you need something". We always reminded her of the expectations, but at the same time told her it was ok to call us if she truly needed us.
- A week before switching to a big girl bed, we changed our reminder a bit. Instead of the expectation being to stay quiet, it was to stay quiet and stay in bed until the clock was yellow. She is to call us if she needs us and not get out of bed until we let her.
- We say the same reminders for nap time.
- For room time, I set the clock to green, and remind her that "Mama will be back when your clock is yellow".
- Say "Mama" or "Daddy" instead of crying if you need something
- Stay in bed until your clock is yellow (we ask her to get back in before we ask if she needs something)
- We then ask if she needs something (if she says potty, water, etc we assess and make a call based on her needs). If she doesn't need anything, we remind her that she needs to stay quiet until the clock is yellow. At her age we also allow her to read a book quietly in bed. If she's taken a decent nap, I'll often allow her quiet time in her room only if she asks while in bed. I still do not join her in the room until the clock is yellow. You can manually switch it to yellow if you need to. If she doesn't stop crying, but doesn't seem to need anything, I just remind her that I'll be back when the clock is yellow and leave (this is extremely rare). I think once they learn the comfort of the clock telling them when it is time for something, the crying really decreases.