Technology is here to help us, and it's not just for being lazy. As a dad to two boys (now 5 and 2) we're constantly using our smart home to our advantage whilst raising our kids as busy working parents.
Here's some real life examples from my own smart home that have helped us along the way.
Technology can't solve every parenting issue (sorry!) but it can make some a bit easier...
1. Smart Cameras
I don't know about you, but before I had kids I rarely worried about security at home. Once my first son came along though that soon changed and I started worrying about people breaking in!
Now I get alerts if anyone was to enter our garden, day or night.
Another great advantage of smart cameras is when I'm working away I can see and talk to the kids over the speaker when they are playing in the garden, they absolutely love this, especially my youngest - he'll often go out in the garden and start talking to the camera!
Completely not what they are designed for, but has been great seeing the kids reactions when I'm away at the shows we regularly attend.
Overall our smart cameras have given us all a bit of peace of mind at home and away knowing that they are visible, the floodlight will light if someone enters the garden and we can then set an alarm off (built in) and also talk through the camera via the built in microphone.
2. Smart Light Bulbs
Imagine that you're sat on the sofa, your little one's finally falling asleep but the light's still on and it's keeping him from drifting off. You know that getting up, crossing the room and turning the light off is a risky move so instead you quietly say....
"Alexa, turn the lights off"
Smart light bulbs give you the ability to turn your lights on and off with your voice - perfect for when your hands are full.
We also use a smart bulb in our kids bedroom, getting them to sleep was a bit of a nightmare and we found ourselves having to sit on the floor until our 1 year old finally fell asleep as he'd cry if we left the room. However since adding a smart bulb we set it to purple (their favourite) and can happily leave the room, once they're asleep we just ask Alexa to turn it off.
3. Smoke & CO2 Alarms
This one isn't so much as a hack, but a safety consideration, and this one is really important.
Your home should have smoke alarms and at least 1 CO2 alarm.
Whether you go for smart alarms or standard smoke detectors is irrelevant, but you need to ensure you have them and that they are in date and tested working.
All smoke alarms have dates printed on the side, much like food - it's a best before date for the built in lithium battery. We moved recently and our home is about 20 years old, the smoke alarms were all 10 years out of date!
As mentioned you can either go for standard mains interlinked, battery powered or if you want some extra features then go smart alarms such as the Nest Protect smoke alarm which also features a built-in CO2 sensor, pathway light and you can also tie it in with other systems.
To keep in with the smart home hack topic you can set your Nest Protect to turn on compatible lighting if the alarms sound, that way in the unfortunate event of a fire your lighting would turn on aiding a safe exit.
4. Smart Doorbells
Another one that bridges security with convenience, the smart doorbell.
It's a great help though whether you are at home or away.
Whenever someone rings your doorbell you'll get an alert on your smart phone, you can then talk to the person at the door.
This is great for fielding door to door sellers and unwanted visitors, you don't need to go downstairs and physically open your door so 1) it's easier to get rid of them and 2) you don't need to drop what you're doing to go downstairs.
It's also a great help when you are out and about, expecting a delivery? You can talk to the driver and ask them to place the parcel in a safe place so that you don't miss the delivery.
Smart doorbells are a great day to day assistance and a must-have for your smart home.
5. Smart Speakers & Voice Assistant
You might not be too surprised that a voice assistant connected speaker is on a list of smart home hacks for new parents, but our smart speakers are genuinely the most used smart home items in our home!
We have various Amazon Echo Dot's connected to Lithe Audio Bluetooth Ceiling Speakers, and some are just stand alone.
They are used daily for turning lights on and off, playing music for the kids, timers (we actually use Amazon Alexa to set a countdown timer for when the boys are on the naughty step!)
We also use them to turn the kids bedroom lights on when they wake up at 6am in the morning without getting out of bed! Ideal for getting an extra few minutes!
So there you have it, some smart home hacks that we use at home to help us day to day.
Got your own smart home hacks? Comment below to let us know or tag us on Facebook.