Most people hate the sound of alarms.  I’m one of them – it’s why I evangelize the use a light simulation alarm clock that usually wakes me up with light before the alarm goes off.

But for some people, loud noise is a problem anytime of the day.  Buzzers and loud bell rings can cause anxiety and worse in this part of the population.

There are other times where you want a timer, but it’s just not appropriate to have a loud noise.  Think of times where you want to have children in the classroom read for 20 minutes on their own while other students are being taught a different lesson.


The Soft Glow Timer and Light is the solution to both of those problems.

It is a great solution.  The timer is easy to use, feels like it’s built solidly, and is pleasant to look at in home or classroom.

We’ve spent a few days trying out the Soft Glow Silent Timer and Light here at Fractus Learning.  I first put it to the test in my house with my own family and then passed it on to a friend/teacher to use in her classroom.   It’s one of those products that you may not know you need, but once you own find a multitude of uses for it.  We were given a review copy for free to try out the timer, but by the time we were done using it I had someone in mind that I plan on getting one of these for Christmas.  I also bought one for my family – since the review copy went to the teacher/reviewer and I still wanted to use it.

My Personal Experience With The Silent Timer and Light

I wanted to try this product because I thought it might help with an issue we are facing in my household.  One of my children has liked to sleep with the light on for years.  I’m not a big fan of this habit because there is research continuous night light exposure can mess with quality of sleep over the long term.  He’s old enough now were I’d like to help wean him off the light.  The Night Light Function of the Soft Glow seemed like a great solution to my problem.

Here’s how it works: you move the switch on the bottom of the timer to the night light position.  This sets the timer to 30 minutes.  Your child can then select their favorite of the eight available colors to light up the room. (Mine chose yellow.)

SoftGlowTimer - bottom panel

I made a deal with my son: we will turn off the lights and turn on the timer light.  If he’s still awake when the light went out, he can turn on the room lights.  Simple enough.

The first night was a weekend, so I set myself up for failure by letting him play video games a bit too close to bedtime.  That doesn’t lead to him having a restful night sleep.  But here’s the thing – he ended up just turning on the nightlight on when he woke up, rather than getting out of bed to turn on a switch.

That gets me to the goal I’m after – less overall light exposure during the night.  It also shows how easy to use the orb is – if a groggy pre-teen can use it, almost anyone can.

On night two, he slept through the night.  Same for nights three and four.  I ended up ordering one after four nights because 1) it seemed like a small price to pay to give my child the confidence he needs to kick the ‘nighttime overhead light’ habit and 2) I had to give the free review copy to my other reviewer.

It’s been a few weeks now since we started this experiment and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need it anymore, but he seems to like using it at night.  As far as I’m concerned, he can use it forever.

If you have trouble with a child that’s afraid of the dark, you should give the Soft Glow Silent Timer and Light a go.  Hopefully it will work as well for you as it did for me.

Comments From Our Educator Reviewer on the Soft Glow Timer

I also had an educator “Friend of Fractus”™ use the timer in her classroom for a few days.  I asked her to give me her quick impression of the product and how it worked in her classroom.  You should know that when I ask for help from an educator I always give them the option to keep the product after the review – which means their comments have no bearing on whether than can keep the review item or not.    In this case, our teacher-helper decided she’d like to keep the Soft Glow Timer.

Here are a quick summary of her relevant thoughts on the product:

  • Great for anxious and energetic / hyper children: She felt there a calming effect from the idea that the time being up would take away rather than add to stimulation.  In other words, kids seemed to get less worked up as they approached the end of their tasks knowing the light would just go away, rather than a loud noise or another stimulus being added to their environment.
  • Kids like the shape: Numerous kids told her they “just liked” the shape of the timer.  She hasn’t come up with a theory on why that is, but it’s good to know the product is aesthetically appealing – so you don’t have to fight that part of the battle to get them using it.
  • Very easy to use: All of her elementary school-aged children were able to figure out how to set the timer by themselves.  It’s easy for the teacher to see if they did it right by just looking at the color.  There’s a different color for each time-length selected which is very convenient.
  • Quick charging: Our helper admitted she did once drain the battery by forgetting to charge it for a few days of work.  Luckily you can plug it into any USB charger with the included cable and use it while it recharges.
  • Hard to see in direct sunlight: Her only knock on the timer was it’s a bit hard to see if the sun is beaming directly on it.  I didn’t have that problem when I was using it (since it was night) so I asked her more about it.  The issue isn’t that you can’t tell it’s on – there’s a definite color change from white but rather that the color is washed out. This was an issue for some students.  Her solution was simple – take it out of the direct sunlight so the sun wasn’t beaming right on the timer.  With even a little shade you can see the orb coloring clearly.

Who Needs The Soft Glow Silent Timer?

The main benefit from this timer is it’s ability to keep track of time without a violently-loud signal to let you know time is up.  I can see three groups of people that will really benefit from this product:

Special Education Teachers:

There are many kids who do not react well to loud noises.  Considering how many bells and buzzers they are exposed to over the course of a normal school day, it can really raise their stress levels.

“Lots of students with ADHD or special needs have major anxiety with traditional timers,” said inventor/teacher Claiborne Day.  Our review teacher has students both with and without an I.E.P. , and felt the colorful lights and soft glow were especially “soothing” for her special needs students.

Parents of Children With Nighttime Issues:

This is the category I was able to test.  It helps tick all the boxes for a nightlight: it’s easy-to-use, portable, rechargeable, good-looking and bright enough to illuminate a dark room at night.  It’s also robust enough to handle the inevitable fall from a bedside nightstand that happens in real life.

Every child is different, but to me it seemed like the perfect tool for the job.  The child maintains control by having the light close to the bed and with an easy switch available.  That control can be enough for some to get over the hump of their fears.

Elementary School Teachers:

I think school-aged children might respond better to timed work when they are using something new – just like the Soft Glow.  This product is a lot more fun than an average timer – even the tomato shaped Pomodoro ones.   Anything to make learning more fun while still productive is a win in my book.

Best Silent Timer For Kids

Why Was The Soft Glow Timer Invented?

I am always a sucker for a good founder story.   The Soft Glow Timer has one of those.  It’s a great find-a-need, fill-the need example that I like to tell my own kids to be on the lookout for in their everyday lives.  If you are looking to buy from a small family business, you have found your product.

A Minnesota teacher noticed she had a problem in her classroom.  The timers she normally used to keep track of how long students were to read or do other activities would end up being counterproductive.  Their loud buzzer noise would shake a student out of their stream of focus, and put a hard stop to their work.  That goes against the idea of the timer, which was to make sure pupils work at least as long as a time period, but letting them work longer if they were “in the groove”.

She also had a problem at home encouraging her toddler to give up the pacifier for nighttime sleeping.  She wanted a way to let her daughter know she could use her pacifier after a certain time period if she was still awake, yet not be loud enough to wake the child if she fell asleep.

After searching fruitlessly, Ms. Day spent the next 5 years working on perfecting her own solution to the problem.

You can find the Soft Glow Timer and Light on Amazon.com.


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