How Smart Homes Can Help Parents
While some products might look intimidating, smart homes can help your parents in a variety of different ways.
If you’ve got kids, you don’t need us to tell you how tough it can be to get things right. As the old cliché goes, there’s absolutely no instruction manual.
Today, we’ll take a look at how smart technology can help you as a parent. We’ll also explore some of the myriad ways in which it can help your kids.
Since children are the future, it makes absolute sense to harness futuristic technology when you’re raising them. Tech can often get a bad rep but, if it’s used effectively and in moderation, the advantages seriously outweigh the drawbacks.
We’ll launch right in with a brief overview of just a few of the ways you can harness smart home devices to make your life easier as a parent while also keeping your kids safe and sound.
Lighting: Keep Your Kids Safe at Night
Smart lighting is perhaps one of the first things to go into any connected home.
If you have more ambitious plans than a simple smart bulb and you want automated lighting to put paid to your kids worrying about heading to the bathroom in the dark, you’ll need to invest in a hub and some sensors, too.
You can easily mix and match brands as long as you check first that they’ll play nicely together. Philips Hue is the default option for smart lighting with just cause. The range is broad and you can find a lighting solution customized to your precise needs from a brand you can rely on. There’s no right or wrong choice with smart home hubs but Samsung’s SmartThings is a flexible gateway that offers great third-party support. Samsung also makes some highly effective motion sensors too.
All you need to do, once you’ve chosen the kit that makes the best fit, is to install the smart lighting down the hallway between your kids’ bedrooms and the bathroom then attach a sensor to the bedroom doors. As soon as they open their door at night, the lights will be triggered. Make sure you program them to come on dimmed so as not to overstimulate your children. Set the lights to turn themselves off perhaps fifteen minutes later so you don’t end up wasting electricity.
With this simple trick, you can make sure that midnight bathroom runs hold no fear for your kids and they stay safe at the same time rather than stumbling in a darkened hallway.
Streamline Morning Routines
Getting ready in the morning is tough enough anyway, but with a houseful of kids it can become downright stressful.
Smart technology can be used across the board to give the whole family a helping hand.
Lighting comes to the fore again since you can program the lights to come on and gradually ease your children into the day before they’ve climbed out of bed. If they need a little extra help, you can get arrange for some upbeat music to start their day the right way.
Smart thermostats save the whole family from waking up too hot or too cold. Nest Learning Thermostat, now into its third generation, is intelligent enough to work out your preferred temperatures and deliver them day in, day out. The inbuilt advantage, alongside convenience, is the savings you’ll make when your power bill comes in.
If you don’t have a programmable coffee maker, all you really need is a smart plug and a regular coffee machine and you can make sure there’s a fresh pot ready when you head down to your kitchen where the lights are on, the blinds raised and the temperature of the room just the way you like it.
All you need now is Alexa or your preferred voice assistant, to fire up the news or traffic report for you and then play some motivating music so you head out to work or on the school run feeling refreshed rather than run down.
Make Bedtime Easier
You can take full advantage of the same tech at the other end of the day and make hassle-filled preludes to bedtime a thing of the past.
Just like you can program your lighting to fire up in the morning, you can ensure it gets dimmer in your kids’ bedrooms as their day is ending.
You can turn brushing those pearly whites into a great deal of fun with Grush, a smart toothbrush that injects a healthy dose of fun into essential dental hygiene. This innovative device uses interactive games to liven up teeth brushing time. Tracking and scoring keep you informed and your kids engaged and determined to win that reward!
You can program TVs and games consoles to switch off and prevent your children from pulling all-nighters on Fortnite or Call of Duty and you can make sure the lights go off so they are fully settled into bed and ready for their beauty sleep while you can enjoy a movie rather than endlessly fretting.
There’s still no substitute for reading your kids a bedtime story and tucking them in for the night but it sure makes sense to let smart technology do all the donkey work for you and you can sail in for the fun part at the end!
Simplify Your Entry System With Smart Locks
Smart door locks come in many configurations and, contrary to common belief, it’s convenience rather than security that drives most people to smarten up their entry system. This becomes even more crucial if you’ve got younger kids prone to losing keys or leaving them at school.
Smart locks with keypads are the perfect solution so you can teach your children the importance of remembering codes – a skill becoming increasingly important with the seemingly endless PINs and passwords of modern life – while ensuring they never get locked out again.
With smart locks, you can also receive notifications on your smartphones when your kids are safely home and the doors have been unlocked and they’re safely inside.
There’s no right or wrong way to go about automating your locks so think closely about what would work best for your family and see your life get much, much easier for a very modest investment.
Video Doorbells To Keep A Close Eye on Visitors
Do your kids spend time at home when you’re still at work?
If so, you might worry about them ignoring your instructions never to open the door to strangers but you can get around that with a video doorbell. You can intercept the visitor yourself and send them packing without letting them know your kids are home alone.
Imagine you’re heading out for the night with your husband and you have teenagers at home. How many friends will they invite over? Is there a chance they’ll host an impromptu party? Staying connected to your home in-app on your smartphone even if you’re enjoying a quiet date night gives you invaluable peace of mind.
For general day-to-day use, video doorbells save you from constantly leaping off of the couch to deal with visitors and help make sure you never miss a package being delivered even if you’re still hard at work.
Security Systems to Keep The Whole Family Safe
You can take security one stage further with cameras both inside your house and out in the garden. Your home should be your sanctuary and you need to take all sensible precautions to keep unwanted intruders at bay.
Motion-activated security lights are one of the biggest deterrents for burglars. After all, if someone is skulking into a darkened garden intent on gaining entry, the last thing they want is to be bathed in light with a sharp siren alerting neighbors to a would-be prowler. Floodlights and spotlight cams, both available from the industry titan Ring give you an extra line of defense at a very reasonable price point.
While there’s no substitute for a full home security system, if you’re on a tighter budget you could just invest in a solar security sign to make potential intruders believe your home is fully protected.
Whatever your approach to smart home security systems, do yourself and your family a favor by not leaving things to chance and thinking “It will never happen to us.”
Keep Medicines Out of Harms Way: Smarten Up Your Cabinet
If you’ve got kids, you don’t need telling that their curiosity often gets the better of them, even if you’re warned them not to do something. Especially if you’ve warned them not to do something!
If you have medication lying around or potent cleaning products, it pays to keep them safely out the way of prying hands and inquisitive little minds. While you might think popping them in a locked cabinet or drawer constitutes adequate safety measures, think back to when you were young. Did you ever go hunting for a key to a locked drawer, assuming there must be something exciting inside?
If you add sensors to any stash spots with products like this inside, you’ll be pinged an alert on your smartphone if the cupboard is compromised and you can rapidly snap into action. This could literally be the difference between life and death so why leave things to chance?
Set Boundaries With Geofencing
A great way to teach your kids the value of boundaries the smart way is to consider geofencing your garden.
The word may or may not be familiar but the concept is super-simple…
By using GPS, you can create virtual boundaries and you can receive alerts in-app whenever anyone enters or leaves these customized zones.
Trax Play offers geofencing and means your child won’t need a spanking new cell phone either. This makes it particularly useful for younger kids you don’t want to unleash with a new iPhone. You can set a number of geofences so it’s ideal for both home and school. Scheduling allows you to tweak times and days to suit. These GPS trackers are also tailor-made for shopping missions in crowded malls when your child might suddenly dart away. Proximity sensors mean you can avoid that heart-thumping moment when you look around and your child is gone.
Teach Kids About Energy Conservation The Easy Way
If your kids are becoming more aware of environmental issues and starting to show an interest in saving the planet in small but important ways, you can use smart tech to help them become even more engaged.
By installing smart devices that show how energy is being used in your home, you can encourage your children to waste less water, keep the TV turned off when it’s not in use and to switch off lights when they leave the room if you haven’t already scheduled them to power down automatically.
Even if you have your home fully automated with a thermostat to maximize energy-efficiency, you can use smart devices and smart meters to impart some valuable lessons without needing to make it seem like a boring science lesson.
Amazon’s impressive Echo stable includes a kid-friendly smart speaker so you can introduce your children to digital assistants the safe way.
Although Alexa is a powerful tool, it’s far too risky to allow your little ones unfettered access. You don’t want them stumbling across adult content, their security could be compromised in any number of ways and then there are the huge bills they can easily rack up and which you’ll have little choice but to pay.
Echo Dot Kids Edition allows you to prevent voice purchasing while also imposing restrictions on any content you deem unsuitable. If you want to ease your children into the world of Alexa without any headaches, it’s well worth thinking about this cute smart speaker for youngsters.
21st Century Baby Monitors
Regular baby monitors are essential and smart versions give you even more robust functionality than ever.
The Cocoon Cam Plus gives you full HD night vision on the camera and even packs a breathing monitor. You’ll be able to see and hear your baby in-app and talk to them as well as an added bonus. All you need to do is pop the camera well above the crib then you can check in without needing to force your baby to wear any kit that might disturb their sleep or become detached during the night.
This is just one option in a crowded market so take your time to think about what you need from a baby monitor and you might be amazed at just how far these devices have come.
Home Theater: Something For All The Family
Installing a home theater system in your connected home is the perfect way to bring everyone together for movie nights or just relaxing with some good music.
While convenience and security are the twin reasons for most people investing in smart tech, you should never overlook the importance of taking time out to relax and enjoy time with your family.
From huge projector screens to voice-activated TVs, from music streaming services to hard-hitting soundbars to make the most of those tunes, imagination is your only limitation with home theaters. And budget of course!
Switches + IFTTT To Control Media Use
If you find controlling the way your kids watch TV or hit the PlayStation when you’re not at home, how about opting for a smart plug that allows you to turn devices off remotely?
While your children might very well decide to turn the TV back on again, you can use IFTTT applets to receive notifications about usage. Turn this into a valuable lesson when you get home about being honest. Give them the chance to admit they went behind your back and if – as kids are prone to do – they’re a little economical with the truth, presents them with the evidence and make it clear that Big Brother might not be watching them but Daddy certainly is!
A Glimpse Into The Future: Robot Helpers
Having given you a solid overview of just a few of the ways smart home technology can be invaluable for parents and children alike, how about smart homes of the future?
Robot technology is advancing at warp speed and it’s not too fanciful to imagine that you’ll be able to get some robotic assistance for some of the mundane tasks in the home in the very near future. In fact, Aido Robot is due to ship in early 2019 and will be able to deal with routine housework as well as entertaining your kids so the future is almost upon us.
Come back and get all the smart home news all throughout the year as we’ve got plenty more value-packed content lined up for you and as we spring into 2019, we’ll also soon be back with plenty of product reviews so you can pack your smart home with the very best devices without too much time or trouble.