How to keep kids in bed till wakeup time

Father-to-be Keith has already started filing away parent hacks for future use! This one is sure to come in handy for these crazily early summer sunrises:

To keep their little ones in bed until an appropriate time, some friends of ours have taped a cutout of the number "6" next to the hour-digit(s) of the clock on the night stand.  The kids can't get out of bed until the hour digit matches the number "6".

One can also put a little piece of colored tape next to the appropriate hour on an analog clock.

Related: Clock radio hack encourages kids to sleep later

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  1. Dan Davis says

    We had the same problem with our oldest (now 4). We thought about using clocks, but did not think of using cutout over the hour segment. Our weapon of choice was a countdown timer from One Step Ahead ( At bedtime, we set the appropriate countdown: 10 hours, 12 hours, etc. When the red light turns off, little man is allowed to get out of bed. It worked like a charm from the first day.

  2. Ginger says

    We do the same thing for our 7 and 6 year olds.

    Along the same lines, we had trouble getting our oldest out of bed in the mornings for school. So we got him an alarm clock that he has to turn off himself. It worked wonders! We used to go in several times in the morning and he wouldn’t budge until we pulled him out of bed. Now, the alarm clock is set across the room, and he has to turn it off and come get me out of bed instead!

  3. wdskmom says

    Dan Davis – please tell me more – how old was he when you did this?! I would love to try this with my 2 yr old.

  4. Ann at mommysecrets says

    Great idea! We also started using a clock, when our son was 4. It helped a LOT, but having the matching numbers would work for even younger children!!

  5. Sarah's mom says

    We had one friend who did this – but it backfired a bit. The kid would wake up whenever ANY of the digits were seven. They solved that problem by taping over the minute digits.

  6. Dean in Des Moines says

    We needed to do something a smidge different. We didn’t want the baby to wake so we needed a silent option. So I got a digital lamp timer and a nightlight. When the timer powered the nightlight, the child was allowed to get up. This worked great until he found the button to instantly supply power to the plugged in device.

  7. LisaS says

    We use an alternate approach: after they turned 4, both kids were allowed to get up in the morning whenever they wanted, get dressed, fix their own breakfast (from cereal kept on the bottom shelf & milk in closed cups I pour the night before), and play quietly. It’s worked well–most mornings we get up and find our daughter dressed, fed and happy! (Our son sleeps in now!)

  8. Lauren says

    Our rule is that they can get up “when it’s light.” Sure, that can be pretty early in the summer but it’s completely understandable for little ones.

  9. charissa says

    Our three year old has a cd/radio/alarm clock in her room. We tell her she can come out of her room when the CD plays. She will often wake before the CD comes on, but she’ll just stay in her room, get dressed, look at books, etc. Once she hears the music, she usually starts getting breakfast in the kitchen, and we get up then as well.

  10. Carrie says

    It’s a good idea to young children who don’t know how to read the time yet. Our son used to sleep in our bed when he was still young, so waking up at the right time wasn’t a big deal.

  11. Tia says

    When our daughter was a little younger and waking up around the same time every morning (8am), we would tell her that she could get up “when sun comes up”. Usually that would keep her in bed all night. A few months before turning 3, she started waking a few hours earlier. I got her a digital alarm clock. Told her she may get up when it shows ‘8’, otherwise lay down quietly until then. She has a small basket of books that she’ll read while waiting. So far it’s working!

  12. Dan Davis says

    @wdskmom: He was probably around 2.5yo when we started. One downside so far: It is to the point that if the clock is not set, he won’t go to bed. But that’s a small thing compared to him not getting out of bed at 4:30 am. :)

  13. wdskmom says

    Thanks! I’m still thinking about it. I’m concerned the light might keep him awake though. :)

  14. Danni says

    It’s a good idea. I was also thinking of using an alarm clock to let them know it’s time. But I think this is better if they are already awake and waiting for the time.