When my son was very small he had a habit of getting up at some ungodly hour.
He would run into the bedroom shouting "is it time to get up daddy?" By this time damage was done. As there are only so many episodes of Barney (big fan though I was of his work) you can watch at 4 in the morning before you start to go slightly mad from sleep deprivation, I needed a solution.
I racked my brains for some way to let him tell the time for himself, and came up with this.
Step 1: Materials
You will need:
A quartz clock mechanism: you can get these from a craft shop or electroincs retailer. Alternatively you can get a cheap clock from a thrift shop.
Some way to cut out a circle of card.
Some card or other sheet material.
Pens, Glue, craft knife.
Step 2: Cut a Circle of Card
Cut out a circle of card, and a square to make the body of the clock. Cut a hole in the middle for your clock mechanism to fit through.
Step 3: Decorate the Dial
Decorate the dial.
Keep it simple. The most important bit is a bold line which will indicate getting up time. I have added a couple of simple stick figures to represent the concepts of sleeping and getting up.
Step 4: Make a Nice Big Hour Hand
Make a nice bold hour hand and glue it onto the one supplied. Usually these just pull off and push on.
Throw away the second and minute hands. The whole point of this is to simplify the idea of telling the time.
Step 5: Assemble the Clock
Put the mechanism through the holes in the center of the square clock and the movable circular dial. You may need to add some spacers. The last thing you want to do is allow misinterpretation due to parallax.
Step 6: The Rest Is Up to You...
The idea is that you can rotate the central dial to the time you think your kid should get up.
You then explain that they need to stay in bed, or play by themselves, until the the red hour hand has covered up the green line. It may take a few attempts to get this right, but you can go back and show them that it is not yet time.
If you start with the time they naturally get up, you can hopefully slowly adjust it to a more civilised hour. Some kind of positive reinforcement will help. I remember getting my son a small treat after he had done so many days in a row.
You can make this project as elaborate as you like in terms of materials. I would keep it very simple as far as the clock face itself, so as to make it easy for your child to understand.
As well as letting you get a bit more sleep, it is an easy way to introduce kids to clocks in a simplified way. Our son was able to get to grips with this by the age of three.