Being that I am submerged in the world of home automation, I would like to tell you about all the cool home tech stuff out there that can assist you in being a parent. From monitoring their departures and arrivals to limiting their usage of games and TV watching, your individual desires can be custom matched.
Most automation systems today have notification options. For example, the systems that I install are compatible to the new deadbolts that have the number pad on them. This means that you give each of your children their own code to the front door. When they get home from school and open that door, you get an email or text message alerting you. Also, you can use this for your teenagers for monitoring when they get home at night, to make sure they got in before curfew.
Nearly every parent that I come across complains that his or her children watch too much TV or play too many video games. This is one of the easiest things to fix. With a little bit of simple programming, we make the TV or game system shut down after, say, 1 hour of use, and not come back on for another 2 hours.
Something a little more fun is a high-tech dinner bell. One client of mine got tired of having to choose between walking up and down the stairs or screaming at the top of her lungs to tell her two boys it was dinnertime. For this reason we dreamed up a lighting trick. She now has a button on her iPhone that makes the boys’ bedroom lights start flashing. This lets them know to come to the kitchen. In the event that they are caught up in a video game and ignore the page, she can shut their game system off from the iPhone as well. A little side benefit for your kid here is that we often add speakers in that bedroom, and turning on the light in there can make their favorite playlist start!
Ever follow your kids through the house turning off light switches behind them? We hear of this a lot too. This area of technology has exploded recently, and there are thousands of ways to address this. For example, we tie the alarm system into the lighting, and whenever the motion sensors stop sensing motion, the lights go out. A more popular solution is placing a “goodnight” button on the nightstand and, when pressed, kills all the lights in the house, preventing the “pajama walk” of the parent having to go around killing all the lights that the kids forgot to turn off.
All in all, kids are the best adopters of new technology. This is no surprise. But you can, however, surprise them with cool home tech that helps you with your duties as a parent!