If you’ve ever woken up by tiny hands prying your eyes open—raises hand—you know that when a toddler is ready to wake up, they’re ready to wake up. And it can be tough for young toddlers to understand that, no, four a.m. is not a good time to play. That’s where a sleep trainer alarm clock comes in. It can help toddlers who may not yet be able to tell time or read numbers understand whether it’s okay to get out of bed or whether they need to slow their roll for a few hours. And sleep trainer alarm clocks aren’t just for toddlers; older kids can also use them to independently tell time and know when it’s time to get ready, without multiple wake-ups from parents. These are the ones we’re shopping for.

Modern Fun

A crowdfunded success, this beautifully designed unit indicates when to get up; settings help older kids fall asleep. LittleHippo

Look for a sleep trainer that grows with your child. While most sleep trainers operate by different light settings—red to stay in bed, yellow to get ready or play quietly, green to leave the bedroom—a digital setting will be helpful when your child can tell time. Some clocks also have additional features, such as night light options and multiple soothing sounds, which can be an essential part of a bedtime routine for some kids.

Multifunctional Display

An adorable design has different parent-programmed settings, including a naptime countdown. Also features three calming sounds. USAOSHOP

A sleep trainer works best when you set expectations—and make it easy for kids to meet them. In other words, if your kid wakes up at 5:30 a.m. on the dot, don’t torture them by setting the alarm to go green at 8 a.m.. Some parents give their kids a treat, like a sticker on a reward chart, if they manage to stay in their room until the green light comes on. Many sleep trainers also have a yellow light program option you can set for half an hour before wake-up. This means it’s not time to get out of bed, but it will be soon. Some parents find it’s helpful to give ideas of what a child can do during that time period. For example, they can play quietly with toys or look at a book, but they can’t leave their bedroom until the green light is on.

A child lock prevents tampering, simple display is easy for young toddlers to read. USB for easy charging. I-Code

A sleep trainer alarm clock can also double as a night light. Sleep trainers may also come with programmable nap settings, so you can help your child manage expectations of when they should be resting and when it’s okay to get up and play. As kids become older, they’re unlikely to need the okay-to-wake lights, but may appreciate a light-up digital display so they can easily tell the time during the night.