Does your child get up at the crack of dawn?

By Clare Fahey

Lots of the families that I have worked with have had problems with their children waking up super early. This is a common problem and stems from being overtired. One way to combat this is an earlier bedtime. Another way of tackling it especially with toddlers or slightly older children is by using a toddler clock. A toddler clock is a clock that uses a picture or coloured lights to signal to the child that it is morning. This means that they know when they are allowed to get up because of the colour of the light that is showing.

There are lots of different toddler clocks around and recently I was sent one to review. This was Pam the Penguin from Zazu Kids.

I love how cute Pam is, but apart from looks Pam is also very functional. Pam is a nightlight, a toddler clock and a Bluetooth speaker.

Pam has buttons on the bottom to set a time for your child to get up, just like a regular alarm clock. But instead of sounding an alarm Pam turns orange half an hour before your set time, letting your child know that it is almost time to get up…during this time they could play quietly in their bed, or in their room, then Pam turns green at the time you have set, when they are allowed out of their room. Pam has a soft glow, so shouldn’t wake your child if by some miracle they are still asleep at this time.

When used alongside family sleep rules, rewards charts for staying in bed and consequences for getting up early, a toddler clock could be the difference between having breakfast at 5 or having it at 7. An age appropriate time for young children to be waking up is anywhere between 6am and 7am. If your child has been waking earlier than this you could start off with it set at 6am, then creep the time forward by 15minutes every couple of days until they are waking at a time that you are happier with.

As well as the orange and green lights that come on in the morning there is also a nightlight setting. This can be plugged in and go all night, or use the rechargeable battery and go for 10min. There is a choice of colours for this light…, red, white or pink. While all of the colours look great, I would recommend using the red or pink settings as these colours won’t affect the body’s production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) Melatonin is needed in high enough levels to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is why screen time before bed isn’t advised.

The other feature of Pam is the Bluetooth speaker. I love the idea of this as you can play white noise or soothing music from your phone. Keep in mind though that the Bluetooth only reaches so far. If you have a large house, it probably won’t reach from one end to the other. I tried out the speaker at home and it worked from anywhere in the house, but cut out when I was outside. When I tried it at preschool it cut out when I went out to the hallway.

Overall I think Pam the Penguin is a fantastic product and is perfect for children aged 2 and up. Before that age the speaker would be handy but they wouldn’t understand the concept of the lights.

Disclaimer: Zazu Kids have sent this product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.
If you would like to find out where you can buy Pam or another Zazu product visit where to buy.

Clare Fahey
Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Sleep Harmony NZ Ltd