Today’s smart home technology can put the finishing touches on any space. Just as dimmer switches and built-in speakers became commonplace over the last few decades, smart home products like smart thermostats, intelligent lights, and security systems are making their way into more homes than ever before.
While smart home automation is great, high-tech solutions can be frustrating to young kids. Whereas many household products, like a lamp or a door lock, used to function with a simple switch or knob, many of the latest solutions offer options that aren’t as easy to understand.
With that in mind, let’s look at the best gadgets for kids to make your smart home easier for little hands and the less technically inclined members of your family to use.
Use smart products with traditional controls
While it may be tempting to replace every switch in your home with a touchscreen panel or a smartphone app, these advanced interfaces can cause trouble if they’re the only way to control your products. It can be frustrating to track down your phone every time you need to turn on a light, and children might find it confusing to tap through a list or menu on a wall panel to find the controls they’re looking for.
If you’re replacing everyday items in your home with a smart solution, make sure they can still be operated (at least on a basic level) from a traditional interface like a wall switch or knob. For example, if you’re installing smart lights, go with a smart bulb or lighting system that can be turned off and on from a traditional-looking wall switch. Most systems will still let you access the most advanced functions in a companion smartphone app if you need them.
It’s the best of both worlds. Kids and guests will appreciate the simplicity of the traditional method, and you can still modify the smart features and programming you like through a secondary panel or interface.
Locate controls in kid-friendly areas
Smart home solutions make it easier than ever to give your kids simple ways to interact with the house. A combination of traditional controls and smart home accessories can be a good way for your child to learn the latest technologies. Lights, security systems, and thermostats that used to be tied to just a single switch can now be linked with a variety of remotes and accessories. For example, overhead lamps in your kid’s room can be connected to a remote on a nightstand, and sound machines can be programmed to turn on automatically at bedtime using a smart plug. You can even teach your kids how to change the temperature through an app, so they don’t have to climb on a chair to reach the thermostat.
Every parent would love their kids to be more self-sufficient, and a smart home can give your child more autonomy and control.
Teach your kids to use voice assistants
The final tool to consider for your kid-friendly smart home is to take advantage of voice-activated controls that are common today. Whether it’s using Xfinity’s X1 features to speak into your TV remote or giving orders to a smart speaker across the room, these voice-control interfaces are easy and fun for kids to use.
Consider setting up routines for different times of the day. For example:
- “It’s bedtime” is a great command to dim the lights and turn on soft music.
- “Read a book” can set the mood for story time on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
- “Good morning” can slowly brighten your smart lights and rouse the kids from bed.
As you plan your smart home and shop for smart products, consider how each new item will impact your family. A few simple adjustments can make your smart home a happy home.