A Beginner’s Guide to Smart Home Technology for Parents
As moms, we can all use a helping hand or two. Or three. Any mom who has watched the Mickey Mouse Club with their toddler has dreamed of having some “helping hands” of her own.
With smart home technology, it’s definitely getting possible.
The best way to think of smart homes and connected devices is as personal assistants: affordable, easy-to-install little helpers that give you back valuable time. Since magic wands don’t exist (yet) a gradual shift towards smart home technology could be an answer to your prayers. Below is a general guide to get you started as you consider adopting smart home technology for your family.
When it comes to introducing smart devices to your home and family, look for practical applications of the technology. Upgrading to a smart home is all about getting your home to work for you, as well as saving you time and giving you peace of mind.
A robot vacuum can be programmed to clean your floors at the same time every day, allowing you to cross one more thing off your to-do list. Coming home to a freshly vacuumed living room is a great way to end a long day at work.
Pick up a doorbell camera, and you gain instant visibility of your front porch; no need to drop everything to run to the door for unwanted salespeople or solicitors.
Install leak detectors for your sinks, washing machines, and basement plumbing to receive instant notifications the second an issue arises. (You’ll wish you had a leak detector on your baby’s diaper in the middle of the night.) You’ll never come home from the store to find an out-of-control burst pipe has destroyed your guest room. Plus, the last thing you want is an undetected leak causing mold in your home.
You can even reuse old-school technology like smart baby monitors to ease your house into the smart home era. Many baby monitors come with visual and audio capabilities to keep tabs on your kids. Even the lower-end monitors allow you to venture outside your home while still maintaining service. If you’re still not sold on going full smart home, try setting up an old baby monitor to act as a living room action cam. Stay apprised of the comings and goings of your family and decide if you want this level of monitoring full time.
Choose age-appropriate gadgets
Technology exists to automate nearly every function on the home. But just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. A mindful approach to smart home upgrades means understanding which devices work best for your family.
For Doors & Windows
When kids start to become more mobile and learn to open doors, chiming door and window sensors are a lifesaver. Easy to install, these sensors are placed on high-traffic windows and doors to alert parents when an entry point is opened. And when your kids are of school-going age, you can transition your setup to include smart door locks with options like remote entry and monitoring. Know the instant your kids arrive home from school or let them into the house when they forget their keys.
Also, parental-control settings have expanded beyond TVs and computer and now include major home appliances. Set up your smart home devices to “speak” to each other and link up your smoke detector and oven for added protection. Thanks to GE’s oven, your smoke alarm and oven can now work together to proactively turn off the oven when it senses your food is burning. What does this mean for you as a parent? It means you can trust your tweens to cook a frozen pizza without burning the house down. It also means you have more time for date nights!
Establish an open dialog
Knowledge is power, and the same goes for understanding how smart home technology does or doesn’t fit into your family’s lives. Every family must decide on their own how they feel about adding devices to their households. Begin the conversation with your children about connected devices and technology, like the internet and laptop, starting at a young age. Discuss the ways your family uses technology and explain why your family chooses to use certain apps and devices, like smartphones and Netflix. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to set boundaries for how your kids use the technology.
So, you might be wondering: is this all even worth it? Well, that depends. Only you and your family can decide how to use available technology in your home. One size very rarely fits all, and that’s especially true when it comes to smart homes. There’s no one right way to introduce smart home technology to your household; that’s a decision determined by the family relying on and living with these smart devices. Look at what type of lifestyle you want to promote and take deliberate steps to align yourself with appropriate resources.
With the ability to automate everything from cleaning, to ordering groceries, smart home technology has the potential to change the way we live our lives.