Here on the West Coast of Canada, we turned clocks back one hour this weekend. Have you tried to explain to kids they are supposed to sleep in another hour?  Went well, didn’t it?

Sleep clocks are a great tool for helping toddlers tell time.  I couldn’t justify spending $50 on a children’s clock so I made my own.

And it cost me $7! I bought an inexpensive 8″ analog wall clock and took the back off to access the clock face. A little bit of tape to position the pictures I printed on the 7 and on the big hand and Voila!  10 mins of crafting and a clock I could use to explain time to a 2 year old.DIY Sleep Clock for toddlers, Lightening McQueen and the Cozy Cone help you tell time.

For my oldest, it started as as a way to give him a reference for bedtime, he had to be in bed before Lightening McQueen went past the Cozy Cone. Giving countdowns didn’t work, he needed to see how much time he left for his bath and getting ready in order to stop the bedtime stalling.

When he got a older, and actually stayed in his own room at night, he was allowed to get up when Lightening McQueen reached the Cozy Cone. It worked well for him! He likes to know what the rules are and likes the consistency of a routine.

When my daughter turned 3, I made a similar clock for her.  It was faster to make given we had accumulated a large collection of stickers. However, she really doesn’t care about being in bed before the bird flies past Sophia. And she doesn’t stay in her room at night so haven’t bothered with it for mornings. As a second child, the routine doesn’t seem as necessary as it did with the first.

It looks nice and she talks about her Sophia clock, so I think it was $5 (it was on sale) and 5 minutes of time well spent.

DIY Sleep Clock for toddlers - When the bird flies past Sophia, you should be in bed.


To make your own sleep clock, here are the steps.

First buy (or re-purpose) an analog clock.  Trust me, getting the clock is the hardest part.  It goes quickly after you complete this step.


Each clock will be different, this one has 4 screws to undo to separate the clock back from the front cover.
The small screwdriver set kept in the kitchen comes in handy!
The back lifts away from the front cover. Careful with the front cover that you don’t drop the glass!
Access to the front face of the clock to add stickers and other decorations to show the desired time and the position of the hour hand. Replace the back when complete and hang in your toddler’s room!