It’s hard to keep kids away from technology these days. While many parents track and limit screen time for their kids –whether that is the television, a smartphone, or a tablet – there is no escaping technology out in the world. Restaurants now have devices on the table that allow you to play games, call your server, place your order, and even pay your bill. Fast food places are experimenting with kiosk ordering instead of register ordering. Kids see their parents using cell phones to order and pay for things. It’s a new world.
Instead of thinking of this as a bad thing, I like to find the positive applications for smart home technology for those that have families with children. When used under controlled circumstances, parents can find that smart home technology can help enhance storytime and playtime, without using the technology as a crutch or a babysitter. Whether you are looking for ways to connect your own children, or ways to engage a group of kids at a play date, smart home technology can offer you a partner that entertains and educates, while fueling the curiosity of the world’s young minds.
On the most basic level, you can use a virtual smart home assistant to read an actual story out loud. Kids might be more interested in this simply because it is using technology. Dig deeper, however, and you’ll find there are even more exciting ways to infuse technology with story time. As your children are learning how to read, they will be building their vocabulary. One thing a virtual smart home assistant can do is help them in this area. They can either read along in the physical book to learn how words are pronounced, or they can just ask for a word to be defined.
Smart home assistants can also help give kids more information about person, place, or thing. Whether it’s learning more about a person’s history or more about the geography and facts of a place, storytime can easily become a learning experience.
Playtime can be both fun and educational when you tap into smart home technology. Both the Amazon Echo and the Google Home can launch several games that are kid-friendly. From things like 20 Questions that rely on building up their skills for logic, to things that focus on chemistry, music and math, playtime with technology can make learning fun. Parents can get very creative and incorporate exercise into these games too – just let your smart home assistant host the game and do all the work, and make up your own rules to keep your kids on the move.
As a bonus, smart home technology can also help during nap time. If you kid falls asleep on you and you don’t want to move and disturb them, you can use your voice to turn off lights. If your kid has trouble sleeping through noise, you can turn on nature sounds or white noise.