How the Ok to Wake! Improves Your Toddler's Sleep & Language

How the Ok to Wake! Clock Can Improve Your Toddler’s Sleep and Language Skills I’m about to share something that may potentially change your life.

Okay. That might be an overstatement.

A few months ago a former client made a wonderful recommendation that revolutionized my sleep, my husband’s, and my daughter’s.

Ok to Wake Clock

Ok to Wake Clock

In the past, I have shared how our lovely daughter was a TERRIBLE sleeper for the first 2 years of her life as she had severe reflux. We NEVER slept. Seriously. We were up constantly throughout the night and when we finally had some shuteye, our little precious would be raring to go as early as 4:00 in the morning (early rising is common in young ones with reflux).

Now, we always usually sleep in…to about 6:30am…for you lucky folks who are blessed to have a child sleep peacefully until 8:00, consider yourselves very, very fortunate. I couldn’t imagine!

If you have a child who is an early riser and happily bounces out of bed, ready to PLAY, please allow me to introduce you to the children’s alarm clock, OK to Wake! Children's Alarm Clock and Nightlight.

Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience.

The following description of Ok to Wake! is straight from Amazon. My notes are italicized and intermingled between:

  • OK to Wake, color changing night-light timer teaches children to stay in bed longer in the morning so parents get more sleep

  • The clock turns green when it’s okay to get out of bed. If the child wakes up and the clock is not green, he or she is to stay in bed.

  • Customizable: Parents set the OK to Wake, time and brightness

  • Very easy to program.

  • Separate "Nap Timer" allows for afternoon napping without disrupting usual alarm and night-light settings

  • I have not used it for napping but I’m sure it works well too.

  • Alarm clock with snooze function allows older kids to get up "on their own"

  • Ha! I wish my Kerri would hit snooze…perhaps when she’s in high school!

  • Fun "toe" buttons designed for kids invoke funny facial animations on the LCD

  • Ummm…no, we don’t allow Kerri to touch it in fear that she will remove the batteries.

Why am I writing about the Ok to Wake Clock?

For two reasons:

  1. Many toddlers, especially those with delays and disorders, are not good sleepers. Accordingly:

"..a population-based study of parent reported sleep problems in preschool children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), developmental delay without ASD and typical development, parents in all three groups reported very high rates of sleep concerns. Approximately half of the parents of children with ASD and children with developmental delay reported at least one sleep difficulty, while one-third of the parents of children with typical development had similar concerns.” -Krakowiak et al.

When your child doesn’t sleep, you don’t sleep. If no one is sleeping, then everyone is cranky. Thus, I’m sharing about the Ok to Wake Clock because it may help you and your child get a little more sleep.

  1. I have prepared 3 ways to use the Ok to Wake Clock to improve your toddler’s language.

Three Ways to Use the OK to Wake! to Improve Your Toddler’s Language:

1. Talk about the clock as part of your child’s nightly routine.

Infusing language techniques into your daily routines is essential to vocabulary growth and carryover. Every night, especially when you first introduce your child to the OK to Wake, use self-talk to explain the functions of the clock as well as your own actions. Click here to learn more about the self-talk technique.

  • For instance: “Look at the clock. When the clock turns green you get out of bed.”

  • Try to use the same or similar phrase each evening so your child remembers hearing it and begins to anticipate it.

  • Color association – Using the Okay to Wake clock may also increase your child’s ability to understand colors because the color green has meaning (green means okay to wake, go, or get out of bed).

2. Use pauses and waiting expectantly to elicit language.

After your child has become familiar with your phrase (e.g. “Look at the clock. When the clock turns green you get out of bed”) strategically pause and wait expectantly for certain choice words (e.g. clock or bed).

  • For instance, if your phrase is “Look at the clock.” Before saying "clock”, pause...and then wait expectantly for your child to say the word “clock”.

3. Build receptive language.

As I mention on page 4 of My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child's Language Development:

..."a language delayed child or a late talker may first become responsive to communication bids before initiating dialogue. For instance, the toddler may follow directions (e.g. "Stop it" or "Come here"), identify pictures, or even use gestures or motions before saying words or verbalizing his intentions."

If your child is not yet speaking start with building his ability to understand and follow directions.

Please click the image below (or click here) to download a PDF of How to Use The Ok to Wake to Improve Your Toddler's Language.

OK to Wake! Improve Your Toddler's Language

OK to Wake! Improve Your Toddler's Language

  • Make it fun by acting out what you want your child to do! Set the clock to turn green in two minutes. Remember while setting the clock, say the familiar phrase “I’m setting the clock.” Next lie in bed pretend to sleep (snore and make other fun sounds) and then get out of bed when the clock turns green!

Caveat: Ok to Wake will probably work best with children who have some symbolic thought, meaning they will understand that the colors have meaning (e.g. green means go or wake up and red means stop or stay in bed).

Note: There are several other versions of this clock put out by Patch Products but I only have this one so I can’t vouch for the others…if YOU or someone you know has another version, please comment below to share your feedback…yay or neigh…why or why not?

I hope this post has been helpful to you!

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Sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, and typical development: a population-based study Paula Krakowiak, M.S.,1,2 Beth Goodlin-Jones, Ph.D.,2,3 Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Ph.D.,1,2 Lisa A. Croen, Ph.D.,4 and Robin L. Hansen, M.D.2,5