Okay to Wake Alarms and the Three Reasons Your Toddler Needs One


As avid climbers at 15 months, my twin boys, Henry and Walker, gave me a run for my money. Fearing head and neck trauma, I promptly put my little monkeys in crib tents, which assuaged my worst nightmare- but that only lasted so long. This past spring, I knew it was time to move to the toddler beds, but how, pray tell, could I get them to stay in their room if they weren’t zipped into their crib tents? I found the solution: an okay to wake alarm.

What is an Okay to Wake Alarm?a toddler holding his finger to his lip to shush while he sits on a bed with a teddy bear and alarm clock

An okay to wake alarm is simply a device in your child’s room that changes colors based on the time of day you set via an app on your phone. Think about it like this, instead of an alarm clock blaring to alert you it is time to get up, an okay to wake alarm simply changes colors. For toddlers, this is ideal because their concept of time is warped. When they connect colors with specific times of the day, they can better understand what’s expected of them. My favorite okay to wake alarm is The Hatch Baby Rest because it pulls triple duty. It’s a nightlight (if you program it to stay on overnight), white noise machine, AND an okay to wake alarm.

Just because your toddler wakes up doesn’t mean the whole house has to wake up, too. No, you don’t need to turn the locks around to make them stay put until you decide it’s time (it’s also a fire hazard), and you don’t need to fear the transition to a toddler bed. So without further ado, here are the three reasons why your toddler needs and okay to wake alarm:


  1. Toddlers quickly learn cause and effect and the difference between night and day. The clock’s consistency helps them understand certain times of day are for staying in their room, while others signal they can come out. They are also soaking up everything around them. Using an okay to wake alarm is a fun way to help children learn and develop an interest in colors. With the ability to choose from an infinite spectrum of colors, you’re sure to find a combination for wake and sleep time that everyone can agree upon.
  2. You’re in control of their wake time, or more accurately, when they can get out of their room time, NOT your toddler. Thanks to technology, parents can easily change the alarm settings using the app connected to an okay to wake alarm. So, if you need another 15 minutes to get ready in the morning, you’re only a few taps away from extending the time until the alarm turns green (or whichever color of the rainbow you and your child choose), signaling your toddler it’s time to “wake up.”
  3. Toddlers learn to master the art of independent play. An essential life skill, the earlier a toddler learns how to entertain himself (especially without electronics), the better. As kids get older, they want independence. When you use an okay to wake alarm, you set the ground rules, but they ultimately decide if they’re going to sleep or if they want to quietly play in their room—a win-win situation. Instead of shutting the door, add a baby gate to the outside of their door, so you can keep the door open (with perhaps the hall light on) to still give them a sense of autonomy.


a toddler, laying on the floor with coloring books and crayons

When to Start Using an Okay to Wake Alarm

Start using an okay to wake alarm as early as you can, even if it will take some time for them to understand it’s purpose— even around 15 months-2 years. Just let it sit in the nursery’s background, changing colors until they show an interest in colors, and you can explain what the different colors mean. We chose red for “sleep time” and green for “awake time” or more accurately, “its time to come out of your room.”

I don’t think my husband quite comprehends how unusual it is to have toddlers quietly play in their room until 8:30 a.m. every morning, but I’m fully aware that most parents would do anything to have their little one stay quiet past 7 a.m. (especially on the weekends)! The good news is, it’s never too late to start working towards that, and using an okay to wake alarm will help you get there!

Have you used an okay to wake alarm? If not, what’s holding you back? You’ve got nothing to lose and only sleep to gain. And that, mama, in my book, is priceless!