Friday, January 15, 2010

Favorite Thing Friday: Tot Clock

The most transformative gift we received this Christmas was My Tot Clock for Kal-El (thank you Grammy and Bumpa!).

A clock was a good idea for Kal-El for several reasons. One was that he had appropriated a tambourine from his toy stash and was carrying around the house and propping it up next to his bed claiming it was his clock. He also has a deep interest in what time it is at any given time and what people "should be doing" at that time. Decidedly less cute was that fact that his 6:15 a.m. wake time was creeping earlier and earlier. We were spending about an hour every morning going in and out of his room to remind him it was still night time and he needed to stay in bed.

I won't say that this product is perfect, but it turns blue when he should be sleeping and yellow when he is allowed to be awake. We have not had to go into his room prior to 6:15 since Christmas.

The pros: It can be programmed to do anything you could possibly want it too and it works. The feature list is impressive, but that information can be found elsewhere so I'm not going to get into it here. Customer service is great. We thought we were having a problem with the clock. This turned out to be user error. We received a nice, long personal e-mail explaining what we were doing wrong with an offer to replace the clock immediately if this didn't solve our problem. One of two features it has we thought we would never use was the "tell me a story" or "play me music" feature. However, the absolute latest the boys can successfully go down for naps is 2 p.m. I always read them a story myself, but if we get home from an event right at two I tell the boys it's too late for a story. Me Too is fine with this, but Kal-El (who just "rests" most of the time anyway) gets rather disgruntled. SO, this week I tried using the "tell me a story" feature when that happened. He really enjoyed it and I got to get started on my one hour of peace and quiet immediately. I guarantee we will never use the feature that plays "cheerful music" at the wake-up time. The last thing I want is for Kal-El to actually sleep late one day and be woken up by music at 6:15 anyway. If you had to get your kid up to go to preschool or daycare I could see where that might be useful.

The cons: What made this clock more attractive than the Teach Me Time! clock by American Innovative (our runner up) was the sturdy look and handle for carrying. Unfortunately all the parent programming controls are exposed right on the back and Kal-El learned how to randomly change settings in less than ten minutes. Therefore, the clock is up on a high shelf in his room and must stay there. This makes the whole handle/sturdiness/battery operable trifecta unnecessary. You wouldn't want to run this thing on batteries anyway. They are good backup for a power outage, but even if you don't use the song/story feature the batteries only last a couple of days if the clock isn't plugged in. If the controls were covered by a screw-on panel in the back it would work better for us. I think I understand why they left the controls exposed. In addition to the obvious, you use these controls to set nap lengths (which may vary daily), time-out lengths, etc., It would be annoying to have to take a panel off all the time if you change settings a lot. We do not change settings often so I would prefer a panel. If they made it with a panel, people who didn't like it could leave it off and maybe everyone would be happy.

At any rate, we love the clock. It is a brilliant idea and we are so glad we have it.


  1. Wow...I could have really used this clock when sweet boy would wake up at 5am wondering if it was time to get up yet! The color change is a great idea! I agree on all of the buttons exposed. I got my kids a simple digital clock but they kept playing with the alarm button. Alarm would then go off in the middle of the night. Not good...

  2. Just letting you know that I have an award for you on my blog.