Thanks to Katherine Prescott for providing this guest post on Amazon Alexa Hacks for Parenting.
5 Life-Changing Amazon Alexa Hacks for Parenting
by VoiceBrew founder & editor Katherine Prescott
Amazon Alexa is a great resource for parents with kids of all ages. From offering homework help to keeping household supplies stocked to giving free speech therapy, Alexa can help make parenting a lot easier.
#1. Set up a nighttime Alexa routine
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All sleep experts will agree that having a consistent bedtime routine sets your child up for a better night of sleep. And all parents would agree that a better night of sleep for your children = a better night of sleep for you.
With an Alexa routine, you can keep your bedtime ritual the same night after night… so even a new babysitter can do it right.
Open the Alexa app and tap the Menu icon (3 horizontal line icon in upper left corner)
Hit the Create Routine button (+ icon in upper right corner)
Enter your go-to voice command for starting your nighttime routine (e.g. “Start [insert your kid’s name] bedtime routine”)
Add any of the features you rely on most to get your little one ready for bed
Here’s the bedtime Alexa routine I set up for a friend’s daughter named Lily. When I say “Alexa, start Lily’s bedtime routine,” the below happens:
Dim lights in Lily’s Room
Play “Lily’s Sleep Playlist” on Spotify for 5 minutes
Play “White Noise” from Spotify
Turn off lights in Lily’s Room
Pro Tip #1: When the bedtime routine ends, that means Netflix time begins. Use your Fire TV Stick to turn on Netflix by holding the microphone button at the top and saying “Alexa, open Netflix.”
Pro Tip #2: If you haven’t already, update your Alexa settings to link your preferred music service account (like Spotify) to Alexa.
Pro Tip #3: Check out VoiceBrew’s guide to Alexa Hue lights to find out how to easily set up smart lights in your home and figure out which type of smart lights are the right ones for you.
#2. Get free speech therapy
Between 2 and 4 years old, children can develop a language that only their parents can understand. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents will often ask you to decipher what your children are saying.
With Alexa, children have to speak very clearly to get their desired response.
Let your children control the music selections for the evening, watch a cartoon, or hear a story, all by asking Alexa for it themselves. The more they practice, the more they’ll work on clear diction.
The next time the grandparents come to visit, they’ll be impressed both by their grandkids’ improved pronunciation and their taste in music.
#3. Keep your supplies stocked
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What is it about children that has you going to your local convenience store twice a day to stock up on diapers, wipes, hand sanitizers, sunscreen, batteries, yo-yo’s, etc.?
Use Alexa to keep your supplies stocked, and you’ll never be left without essentials again. Through your Alexa, you can reorder diapers, wipes and other household items.
Simply say, “Alexa, order diapers.”
Alexa will automatically process the sale for the diapers you last ordered. You can also add things to your Alexa shopping list and review them later in your Alexa app and on Amazon.com. So when your toddler has a meltdown because he can’t find his favorite toy, that’s now Alexa’s problem.
Pro Tip #1: You can easily set up Alexa voice purchasing in the Alexa app. You can even add a 4-digit voice code to confirm Amazon purchases and payments if you want.
Pro Tip #2: If you have an Echo Show (with a screen), Alexa works great for ordering things you’ve never ordered before too.
#4. Start a dance party
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On a cold rainy afternoon when you can’t get to the park, you’ve read all the books in your house, and it seems like you’ll never make it to bedtime… let Alexa save the day.
From Nursery Rhyme Party Time to Disney Junior, Amazon Music has playlists for every age.
Simply ask Alexa to play a kid-friendly playlist from Amazon Music or Spotify, and Alexa will be your sunshine on a cloudy day.
Pro Tip #1: If your kids run out of dance moves, you can enable the Animal Workout skill, which prompts your children to play their favorite game of pretend animal house.
Pro Tip #2: Once your children have sufficiently destroyed their entertainment space, have Alexa play the Clean Up song.
#5. Help with homework
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Alexa has a serious number of homework help skills. So no matter what grade your child is in, you’ll never be stumped helping them with their homework again.
Our favorite is the Translated skill, which translates from English to 37 other languages (we use it to translate to Spanish). Other great resources include:
Smart Dictionary skill, which helps children decipher new words
Quizlet Study Flashcards skill, which can quiz you on millions of subject areas
Awesome SAT skill, which helps high schoolers study for the big test
To use any of these skills, tap the link in this post and select “Enable.” Alternatively, simply search the skill name in the Alexa app (or on Amazon.com) and select “Enable.”
Then, you can easily open the skill on any of your Alexa devices by simply saying “Alexa, open Smart Dictionary” (insert skill name of your choice!).
Katherine Prescott is the Founder & Editor of VoiceBrew, a digital media company focused on helping people get the most out of Amazon Alexa. Prior to launching VoiceBrew, Katherine was SVP and Head of Corporate Strategy at Highbridge Capital, a global alternative investment firm. She graduated from Harvard College in 2009.
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