Raising a toddler is a wonderful experience that most parents look back on fondly. But when you’re in the trenches of the “terrible twos,” you might feel overwhelmed. Use these home automation gadgets to help lower your stress level, save time, and create a safer environment for your growing toddler.
Here are six SafeWise-recommended home automation products to help you happily survive the toddler years.
1. Amazon Echo
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The Amazon Echo is a Bluetooth speaker that also uses Wi-Fi. Alexa, Amazon’s helpful voice assistant, communicates with you through the Echo. Alexa interacts with you when you give her voice commands, allowing for hands-free control of your Echo-compatible smart home devices. Alexa can also play music, answer questions, and perform thousands of tasks—like ordering pizza on family movie night.
Works With: Echo works with Fire Tablets, iOS, and Android devices, and it’s managed through the Alexa app.
How It Helps: With the Echo, you can benefit from a number of parenting hacks. For starters, you can tell Alexa to set a timer that reminds your potty-training toddler to visit the bathroom, or have Alexa tell them a personalized story while you clean up after dinner. As bedtime approaches, you can tell Alexa to turn off the TV and stream calming music.
2. August Smart Lock
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The August Smart Lock makes digging for your keys a thing of the past. It installs over your door’s deadbolt and is controlled through the August Home app. With August, you can create virtual keys to give guests like the babysitter temporary access to your home, and you can monitor when they come and go. You can also set the device to unlock your door as you approach and automatically lock once you’re inside.
Works With: August Smart Lock works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Nest, and other popular home automation products.
How It Helps: Keeping your doors locked is always important, but it becomes a top priority once your little one starts to walk. A smart lock can help increase the security of your home, especially when paired with a monitored home security system. Plus, the August Smart Lock makes life more convenient and less stressful: if you’ve ever tried to unlock the door carrying bags of groceries and a feisty toddler, you know what we mean.
3. Philips Hue Starter Kit
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Philips Hue smartbulbs put a twenty-first century twist on Edison’s brilliant invention. Swap out your traditional lightbulbs for Hue bulbs, then use the Hue app to wirelessly control and customize the color and intensity of the bulbs, set timers and alarms for individual bulbs, and recreate lighting environments you love. Pair Philips Hue with the Philips Hue Motion Sensor, and lights will turn on as soon as you enter the room and off after you leave.
Works With: Philips Hue works with Android and iOS platforms. It’s compatible with If This Then That (IFTTT) technology and integrates with several smart devices we love, including Beddi Smart Alarm Clock and Nest Learning Thermostat.
How It Helps: Create a calm atmosphere with Hue’s preset, relaxing color profile to help your rambunctious toddler settle down for a nap, then set the Philips Hue to gradually turn on their bedroom light when it’s time to wake up. Install Philips Motion Sensors in rooms your kiddo frequents so you never worry about them entering a dark area and getting hurt or scared. Who knew a lightbulb could help make parenting easier?
4. Samsung Family Hub Wi-Fi Refrigerator
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Samsung’s Family Hub Wi-Fi Refrigerator is packed with features to help busy parents. It has a touchscreen where you can manage your family calendar, leave notes and reminders, and even watch your favorite show when the fridge is paired with your Samsung Smart TV. This high-tech fridge also boasts built-in speakers for streaming music, and it has three built-in cameras that take pictures every time the doors close. With this feature, you can always see what’s inside the Family Hub—right from your phone.
Works With: The Family Hub works with Pandora, TuneIn Radio, and a number of other apps and Samsung devices.
How It Helps: We don’t need to tell you that preparing meals is especially stressful—and potentially dangerous—when your toddler is underfoot. With the Family Hub, your little one can listen to their favorite tunes or watch a show while settled safely at the kitchen table. As a bonus, you can use one of the fridge’s delivery apps to order your groceries online so you never run out of your toddler’s must-have snacks.
5. Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor
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According to the EPA, the air inside our homes can be more polluted than outside air, even in big cities.1 Foobot is an indoor air quality monitor that identifies your home’s pollutants in real time and gives you actionable tips to help remove or reduce them. With the Foobot app, you can track pollutants over time to understand the sources of pollution in your home, like toxic cleaners, dust mites, and aerosols. Foobot uses IFTTT and works with a range of smart products—including ventilation systems and air purifiers—to automatically turn on these devices when pollution levels rise.
Works With: Foobot works with Android and iOS platforms.
How It Helps: Foobot can help you create a healthier home environment for your toddler, which can help them feel more comfortable and get a better night’s sleep—so you deal with less meltdowns. If your child has asthma or allergies, cleaner air might help reduce their symptoms. The EPA advises that young people are particularly susceptible to the effects of indoor air pollution.2 This is one reason SafeWise recommends that parents monitor their home’s air quality and use an air purifier to help reduce pollutants.
6. Nest Learning Thermostat, Third Generation
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Nest Learning Thermostat communicates over Wi-Fi so you can adjust the temperature in your home right from your phone using the Nest app. But that’s just the start of what this smart thermostat can do. After one week of using Nest as you would a traditional thermostat, it learns your temperature preferences and programs itself accordingly. Nest’s motion sensor determines when you’ve left the house, then triggers Nest to switch to Eco Temperature mode to save energy.
Works With: Dozens of smart products work with Nest, including Alexa. Nest is available for Android and iOS.
How It Helps: Nest monitors and manages the temperature of your home, meaning you have one less thing to worry about. That’s a big plus when you’re parenting a toddler. According to Nest, it can also help you save money by reducing your energy bills an average of 10%–15%,3 and what parent doesn’t want to save money? The third generation of Nest t also boasts a large display that illuminates when it detects motion—making it a built-in nightlight for wandering toddlers.
For added safety and convenience, consider pairing home automation with a home security system. Take a virtual tour of today’s affordable automated home, then find the best home security system for your needs.
1. United States Environmental Protection Agency, “The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality”
2. United States Environmental Protection Agency, “The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality”
3. Nest, “How the Nest Thermostat Savings Calculator Works”