The most common complaint amongst parents almost always revolves around sleep. Whether it’s a toddler who gets up too early or a tweenager who gets up too late, there’s no end of sleep related issues to keep parents perpetually exhausted. If you’re a parent who is at their wit’s end because your 9-year-old wakes up before the sun (hello, me) or your 7-year-old never wakes up in time for school (also me), you may be wondering if an alarm clock designed just for kids could be the answer to your problems. Is it possible that there’s a magical clock that would be effective at keeping an early bird in bed, while also serving up enough noise to wake a sleeping beauty?
I tested seven popular alarm clocks for kids to see if there really is an alarm clock that could work for early risers and sleepy heads alike. After weeks of early mornings—as well as a dreaded time change—we found that the LittleHippo Mella (available at Amazon) is just what we needed. With its cute design that appealed to both of my kids, built-in white noise machine, and its ability to function as both an alarm clock and an OK to wake clock, the LittleHippo Mella can help with a variety of sleep issues.
Here are the best alarm clocks for kids that we tested ranked, in order:
- LittleHippo Mella
- Hatch Rest+
- PlayMonster Teach Me Time!
- Capello Cloud Clock
- Good Nite Light
How We Tested Alarm Clocks for Kids
Hi, I’m Anna Lane. I was a comedian and freelance comedy writer for many years before joining the staff at Reviewed as the Parenting editor. I live in Los Angeles with my husband and our two children: a son who is 9, and a daughter who is 7. Yes, they are 18 months apart, and no, it was not planned that way. My reviews are informed by my life as a working mom who wishes she had the ability to be in two places at once. I enjoy helping other overwhelmed, exhausted parents find the answers to such burning parenting questions as: What Nerf gun should I buy?, Which matching family pajamas are softest?, and Why does my child always tell me about the class bake sale the night before? I fear that I will never find the answer to that last query, but I do suggest that you stock up on my favorite organic cake mix.
When we decided to test alarm clocks for kids, I figured that I would be the perfect person to take on the assignment because I have two kids with completely opposite sleep issues. My son is an early bird who often gets up before 6 am (and subsequently wakes us up), whereas my daughter has a hard time getting up in time for school. With the goal of keeping one kid in his bed until 7 am and getting the other one out of her bed at 7 am, I tested seven popular alarm clocks for kids to see which one was most effective at being both an OK to wake clock as well as a traditional alarm clock.
I had both of my kids test each clock for a week, and I scored them on how effective they were at their intended goals. I also rated each clock on how easy (or difficult) it was to set and change the alarm, and whether or not my kids liked how they looked and wanted to use them.
What You Should Know About Buying an Alarm Clock for Kids
It Should Be Multifunctional
If there’s one thing I’ve learned after nine years of parenting, it’s that products that are one-trick-wonders just don’t cut it. Babies and kids have so much stuff so buying yet another gadget that only serves one purpose just means more things to dust and keep track of. Select an alarm clock that does more than just tell the time and you’ll get a lot more use and longevity out of it.
Your Kids Need to Like It
I say this a lot but I think it’s worth reiterating: For any product to work for your kids you need their buy-in. If they don’t like the look of the alarm clock, they are not going to want to use it, and they definitely won’t hew to its guidelines. Let them select the clock they like the most and then lay down the ground rules.
It Needs to be Easy to Use
I’m not telling you anything you don’t know already, but parents are exhausted and overwhelmed and they just don’t have time to deal with something that’s hard to use or difficult to set up. Select a clock that can be set quickly and easily and doesn’t require you to have 30 minutes to reprogram when the time change rolls around. Ease of use is absolutely priceless.
Is it Loud Enough to Wake Your Child?
If you have a child like mine, who is somehow able to sleep through almost any alarm, you need an alarm clock that is truly effective at cutting through their slumber and waking them the blank up. Only one of the alarm clocks that we tested always woke up my heavy sleeper, so you may need to try a few different ones in order to find the winner.
Other Alarm Clocks for Kids We Tested
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Meet the tester
Prior to joining Reviewed as the Parenting Editor, Anna worked as a stand-up comedian and freelance writer. A graduate of New York University, Anna currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
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