Parents, we don’t blame you if you’ve forgotten what an alarm clock is!
Though it may sound counterintuitive at first, getting an alarm clock for your little ones can help train them in good sleep habits — including staying in bed until you’re actually able to open your eyes!
On reaching their school years, a good alarm clock can help them track time to be sure they’re out the door each morning, and when the teen years approach, that loud buzzer may be the only thing that drags them out of bed.
We’ve run the gamut looking at kids’ alarm clocks and have chosen the best of the best, so let’s read on.
In this article:
Does my child need an alarm clock?
While having a clock around is always handy, whether or not your child needs an alarm clock depends a lot on their sleep habits.
Although kids are less likely to need an alarm clock, those designed for their age group are cool and learning-centric.
Often, these alarm clocks will include ok-to-wake features that prompt the child to look at the clock and immediately know whether it’s okay to get out of bed without needing to tell time.
The way your child sleeps will determine if they need an alarm clock in their elementary and middle school years.
Some children are naturally early risers, while others tend to linger in bed. If your kids fit into the latter group, an alarm clock might just save you the time and energy you’d otherwise spend dragging them out of bed.
As the teen years begin, alarm clocks become a wise investment for most kids.
It’s a developmental stage full of changes that demand a lot of sleep, and a less-rigid bedtime means your child will test boundaries by staying up late.
If you’re tired of hearing, “Mom, I missed the bus,” an extra-loud alarm clock (or even one they have to chase, like Clocky on Wheels!) could be a wise move.
What is the right age to introduce an alarm clock?
Here’s a situation where your mileage may vary, even between your individual kids. If your preschool-aged child sleeps late, you may never need to make use of those ok-to-wake features.
Likewise, if your elementary school kids naturally stay on schedule, there’s really no reason to add alarm clocks to the mix at all.
The teen years are an equalizer for sleep, as hormonal and physical changes tend to turn former early risers into sleep-till-noon “lazy” kids — but remember, they’re probably not really lazy, as all that extra sleep is an important part of their development.1
If they don’t have a kids alarm clock by 13, it’s something they’ll certainly make use of for the next few years, especially if it has cool features like Bluetooth streaming, USB ports, or a phone dock.
What are some special features to look for in alarm clocks for kids?
- The ability to play music: Whether it’s an old-school clock/radio hybrid or a newer model with Bluetooth functionality, alarm clocks that can play music adds entertainment to their room.
- Night lights: Night lights are a soothing and convenient addition to alarm clocks. A few of the picks on our list have lights which illuminate with multiple colors, letting kids adjust their aesthetic on demand.
- White noise machine: Whether it’s time to sleep or study, white noise can go a long way in helping some people focus or snooze — especially babies . If your child works or sleeps better without complete silence, consider an alarm clock that doubles as a sound machine.
- USB ports for charging: We live in a tech-driven world, and, especially as kids get older, they’ll have USB devices that need charging. Alarm clocks with USB ports, or a USB dock, that allows for charging and streaming let them juice up their batteries while keeping devices close at hand.
- Smart functionality: Though less common, some kids’ alarm clocks have smart functionality and can be adjusted remotely through an app. This is especially handy for nursery lamps, as parents can adjust brightness or sounds without entering the room and disturbing baby.
- Nap timer: Keeping kids in bed throughout their whole intended nap period is made easier by a nap timer. If your child has issues staying in bed, check out some alarm clocks with ok-to-wake features, like a nap timer or changing display, that tell them it’s okay to get up.
Our picks of the best kids alarm clocks
Whether you’re trying to keep toddlers in bed or get teens out of theirs, the right kids’ alarm clock can help keep them on a healthy sleep schedule.3
The alarm clocks on our list are feature-packed and user-tested, and there are options here for all ages. Time to get started? Let’s take a look at these ringing endorsements…
Learning to tell time is an important part of cognitive development, and the PlayMonster Teach Me Time (check price on Amazon) acts as both a teaching tool and an alarm clock for kids.
This tabletop clock has a built-in time-teaching educational game that talks, while the display sports both digital and analog faces, helping kids learn to read the clock either way.
It’s great for early risers, as the color display changes from yellow to green when it’s an okay time for kids to get up. They can even change the appearance of their clock’s face with enclosed blue, pink, or green plastic rings.
Finally, a dim backlight offers some illumination, making this clock easy to read.
What we love
- Not just a clock, but also an educational game that helps teach time
- The clock’s display changes from yellow to green, letting kids know it’s okay to get out of bed
- It features both a digital and analog-style display, so it’s great for learners
- Although this clock can use AC power, it comes without an adapter
Best smart alarm clock
Adjusting alarm clocks and lights in the nursery once baby has fallen asleep can feel like a clandestine spy mission, but picks like the Hatch Baby Rest (check price on Amazon), that can be triggered through smart app functionality, help to quell that anxiety.
The device acts as a combination ambient lamp, white noise machine, and alarm clock, pairing color and sound combinations chosen by sleep experts to help lull your little one into a peaceful sleep.
It continues to soothe as they get older, and the design isn’t childlike, so older kids and teens won’t have a problem with it in their bedroom.
Light, color, sounds, brightness, and volume can all be customized to create the best sensory experience possible for your child, eliminating the need for other appliances.
What we love
- A multi-functional alarm clock, doubling as a night light and sound machine
- Has smart functionality, so can be set up and adjusted remotely, via app, to avoid waking your child
- The preset sound and color combinations are chosen by sleep experts
- The remote functionality is Bluetooth-driven, so settings can’t be changed on the go
Best alarm for budget
The cute bunny shape of the Anmones Alarm Clock (check price on Amazon) will add a sweet touch to any nursery or kids’ room without seeming overly childish.
This simple little clock is colorful and durable, and its magnetic body means it can stick to the fridge, or any other magnetic surface, for your convenience, especially handy if your child has a metal nightstand.
The reasonably-priced clock alternates between displaying the time, date, or temperature (which can be adjusted from Fahrenheit to Celsius as needed).
One thing to note — this clock has an energy-saving feature that turns the display off when the room remains quiet, so not the best pick if you’re checking the time in the middle of the night.
What we love
- The sweet bunny design looks great in any nursery
- The display alternates between time, date, and temperature (adjustable from Fahrenheit to Celsius)
- It’s magnetic, so will stick to refrigerators or metal surfaces
- The energy-saving feature means the display turns off in quiet rooms, not helpful for kids who need to see the time in the dark
Best alarm for preschoolers
If your sleepy kid’s signature move is slamming the snooze button, a clock that makes them give chase might just get their juices flowing on those early school mornings!
Clocky on Wheels (check price on Amazon) is a traditional alarm clock, offset by two large wheels which protect its body as it rolls, jumps, and scoots away from users as it sounds. Designed to get snoozers up and out of their beds, eliminating continued demands for ‘five more minutes’.
The alarm itself is loud, so even the soundest sleepers will get a jolt when it goes off. A great alarm clock for kids, especially the younger ones, who’ll get a kick out of this active clock which feels more like a toy. The battery-powered clock is available in a wide range of colors, so is also an easy fit for any bedroom.
What we love
- Extra loud, so the alarm should wake even heavy sleepers
- The wheeled rolling design is unique and lots of fun
- Ends chronic snoozing by making kids get up to find/chase the clock
- Clock doesn’t roll so well on carpeted surfaces
Best alarm for night lights
Staying in bed till the sun is all the way up is a likelier feat for toddlers with the LittleHippo Mella (check price on Amazon), which uses both colors and facial expressions to help little ones master the appropriate time to get up and go.
The traditional round design has a sleek, futuristic aesthetic using a dark face, white text, and expression display for high contrast plus an LED ring night light that changes colors on demand.
In addition to five soothing light colors, the Mella also has three sleep sound options, doubling as white noise or sound machine, with adjustable volume.
Finally, this cute, modern pick is made of ABS and silicone, so it’s safe for them to handle and will withstand a short fall.
What we love
- Features six nightlight colors with three brightness options
- A time-to-wake color change and fun, facial expressions let kids know when it’s okay to leave bed
- It also works as a sound machine, playing three peaceful sounds with adjustable volume
- The cord this clock comes with is somewhat short, so you may wish to swap it out for a longer USB cable
Best alarm for toddlers
Teaching the concept of time to toddlers can be a bit overwhelming, but handy devices like My Tot Clock (check price on Amazon) help them to learn both how to read the clock and how to understand a schedule in a way that’s both age-appropriate and fun.
The clock’s durable body can sit right on their nightstand, and also features a kid-friendly handle that makes it easy to carry. This clock is also customizable, coming with a moon and stars faceplate which can be changed out for other designs (sold separately).
The clock features both digital and analog displays (good for teaching,) and color-coded time periods show when it’s time for napping, fun, or time-outs; even when it’s time to go to sleep or wake up.
What we love
- There’s a handle built right in, so it’s both an alarm clock and a portable learning toy
- It doubles as a night light with a selection of five colors
- There’s a weekend wake-time feature, helping keep kids in bed so parents can get some extra sleep
- The dark blue shade of the display at nighttime can be tough to read from far away
Best alarm for teens
If searching for alarm clocks for older kids, you’ll find a good fit with the JBL Horizon (check price on eBay). It skips over the time-teaching and colorful nightlights present on clocks for younger kids in favor of a high-quality speaker with rich, room-filling audio, a digital date/time display, Bluetooth streaming, and two USB ports for convenient device charging.
The clock’s sleek design is compact and unobtrusive, fitting easily onto any nightstand. The only possible flaw is that the control buttons are a bit smaller than some users would like.
What we love
- An LED ambient light provides some night time illumination
- Wireless Bluetooth streaming lets kids enjoy their favorite tunes
- It features a high-quality stereo speaker for rich, room-filling sound
- Some users may find the control buttons too small
Best alarm for tweens
A clock with features both kids and teens love is the perfect blend for a tween, and it’s exactly what this Extra-Loud LED Digital Clock (check price on Amazon) has to offer.
It uses a large digital display to show the time, so the face can be read easily, even from a distance.
A top LED panel doubles as a colored nightlight, and can be changed to light or dark blue, purple, green, yellow, pink, or red on command.
Two USB ports on the side of the clock make it easy to charge up phones, tablets, or other devices during the night, and the loud alarm buzz is perfect for waking sound sleepers.
It’s also easy to use and set because the control buttons are large and clearly labeled.
What we love
- The large digital display is easy to read, even from across the room
- Features a night light with seven changeable colors
- Has two USB ports, so multiple devices can be charged at once
- The device is lightweight, so changing settings or plugging in a phone may require holding it down
Best for Lego enthusiasts
Parents of LEGO and Star Wars fans, rejoice — you’ve found a kid’s alarm clock they’ll always remember.
This battery-powered Stormtrooper Alarm Clock (check price on eBay) has arms and legs which can be moved and posed into whatever position your child desires for display, with no outlet required.
The clock uses a digital display that conveniently shows both the current time and that for which their alarm is set.
It skips over bells and whistles such as lights and sounds in exchange for aesthetics, durability, and functionality, making it an ideal pick for an older kid’s room.
What we love
- The fun Stormtrooper design makes it one of the best kid clocks for an LEGO enthusiast
- Digital display shows both the current time and the time their alarm is set for
- It’s battery powered, so they can display it wherever they like — no outlet required
- No nightlight or music features
Looking for a kids alarm clock that can transition from their childhood bedroom to their college dorm? The Betus Twin Bell (check price on Walmart) is a true classic alarm clock, featuring a fully analog face and real top bells which sound when it’s time to wake up.
A dim, but functional, backlight makes the clock easy to read, even at night in a dark room. It’s battery powered, so there’s no need for cords or outlets, and its compact design fits easily onto most nightstands.
It’s not as heavily featured as other picks on our list, but for those looking for a genuine classic that holds up for years and works as intended, this is a great pick.
What we love
- Retro design is timeless and stylish
- The display is backlit, so although the clock is analog, it’s still easy to read at night
- The classic bell alarm is loud enough to wake very sound sleepers
- The face of the clock is made of glass, so is breakable
Our top pick is…
Whether you’re shopping for a toddler, tween, or teen, the right alarm clock for their room depends on its features.
Of our picks, the PlayMonster Teach Me Time (check price on Amazon) is the best kids alarm clock for younger users.
It doubles as an educational game that helps users learn to tell time, a function enhanced by its choice of either digital or analog clock faces.
What’s more, the clock’s overall appearance isn’t childish, so it will continue to look great on their nightstand even as they get older.