Alexa, make my mom life easier.
Wait, is that possible? While it might not be quite that easy, today I’m sharing awesome tips for moms using your Amazon Alexa. I use my Alexa daily for offloading thoughts from my brain and managing tasks for my family. And I’d love to help other moms use their Alexa to do the same!
They regularly run $49 but you can often find deals when you buy more than one or for Prime Day (which is rumored to take place in October of 2020).
I want to share how I use the features and skills on my Amazon Alexa to help take some of the load off my mom brain. If I can add an item to my grocery list or schedule it on my calendar when it pops into my brain, I’m so much less likely to forget it. And there are some great features to help my family get out the door or go to bed at night.
My introduction to Alexa for productivity came when I interview Brittany Dixon of Process for Profit about Productivity Tips for Moms on my “Cocktails and Containers” podcast. (You can listen to Mom Productivity Tips & Cucumber Gin Cocktails here.) Her first tip was to use a digital assistant in just this way. When you free up bandwidth in your brain, you can focus better on those truly important things for your family.
Alexa Features to Clear Mom Mental Clutter
Features are built-in skills that every Alexa comes pre-programmed with. You’ll never have to search for your cell phone or pen and paper when you use your Alexa to create lists and events:
- Creating Lists….By creating a custom list through the Alexa app, you can easily add items to a grocery or to-do list. Simply say “Alexa, add peanut butter to my grocery list” or “Alexa, add mop floors to my to-do list.”
- Adding Events to Calendar… When you connect your digital calendar through your Alexa app, you can add events to your calendar via voice command. Just say “Alexa, add doctor’s appointment to my calendar for July 15th at 1pm”
- Checking the Weather…My final suggestion is to check in on the weather the night before. I like to keep my mornings as simple as possible. If I know it’s going to rain or snow or just knowing the temp, I lay out what’s needed for the next day like hats, boots, etc. That way I’m not searching for things in the morning. I also like getting my weather from Alexa because I avoid getting sidetracked checking the weather on my phone. (Please tell me someone else can relate?!?)
Alexa Features to Make Mom Life Easier
Whether it’s keeping me from screaming up the stairs or helping me transition my kids with routines, here’s how Alexa puts the “assist” in digital assistant:
- Drop Ins….We use this feature like an in-home intercom. From my Alexa device or app, I can tell my kiddos to stop fighting, get in bed, or dinner is ready. You can also drop in on other approved devices like grandparents, cousins, or friends.
- Routines…Custom routines are regular reminders programmed to give warning that a transition is coming or that an action should take place. Routines are great for mornings when you are trying to get your family out the door. You can program phrases like “time to get your shoes” or “don’t forget your lunch.” Or use routines at bedtime to make sure the kids to all the things like brushing teeth, getting water, and picking up toys. (Read more about our specific bedtime routine below). You can customize your routine to start at a certain time, by voice command, or by pressing the Alexa button. The routine can include phrases from Alexa, music played from your connected music source, or even utilize your connected smart home devices like turning lights on and off.
- Smart Home Devices…These connected devices can be controlled by voice through the Alexa devices in your home or via the Alexa app on your phone. Devices include lightbulbs, power strips and outlets, enabled TV, doorbells, baby monitors, door locks and even a sprinkler system. Here is the link to a 4 pack of Smart Bulbs we have in our house.
Building Your Own Alexa Skills
Amazon helps you build your own custom Alexa skills through their Amazon Blueprint website. You can develop a custom chore chart for your kids or design a workout for yourself. Make a task tracker to make sure your to-do list gets to-done. Create custom flashcards to quiz your kids. Or make a custom list of important information for houseguests, babysitters or pet sitters. In a matter of minutes you can have your own custom skill. And it’s FREE!
Our Alexa Bedtime Routine
We started using Alexa at bedtime when I realized that my high energy and my youngest son’s high energy did not create a great environment to slow down and go to sleep. He was much more successful if he had a chance to wind himself down without me creating excitement right before lights out. Here’s our routine:
- Brush teeth and get water.
- Mom comes up for good night kisses around 8pm.
- Boys are permitted to play quietly or look at books during what we have dubbed “half time”.
- Alexa gives a 5 minute warning at 8:25pm that it is time to wind things down and clean up. She also dims our Alexa-enabled bulb to 50%.
- At 8:30pm, Alexa announces its time for bed and turns the lamp a light blue color. The lamp acts as a nightlight which turns off at midnight as part of the routine.
We’ve used and tweaked this routine successfully for nearly 2 years. And it buys me valuable time in the evening with my husband. Most importantly, it helps my 6 year old fall asleep faster.
Ok moms, what are some of your favorite Alexa features or skills you use in your home? Is there something I’ve missed?
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