Smarten Up Your Back-to-School Routine
It’s back-to-school season! If you are anything like us getting back into a routine can be hard. There is always so much to organise and new timings to get used to.
We’re here to help you set yourself and your kids up for success this school year and smarten up your back-to-school routine. In this blog, we’ll show you how smart home tech like voice assistants, smart lights, and smart plugs can help make your days run smoother and get the whole family out the door on time. This is the perfect mini guide if you’ve ever wondered, how can I get Alexa to help me be more organised.
1. Morning Alarm Clocks
Set up voice assistant alarms or use smart light bulbs that slowly brighten to wake you up gently. Having an audio or visual alarm makes getting up less jarring.
Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home allow you to set routine-based alarms with your voice that can play music, give weather/traffic updates, control smart lights, let you know what’s on your calendar that day and much more.
I also have a Fitbit smart watch that has a vibrating alarm that I find a much gentler way to wake up.
Bonus Tip: On the topic of alarms, you can also set a bedtime reminder and routine to help you wind down at the end of a busy day. Why not try listening to a soothing bedtime story on your smart speaker.
2. Organise Your Calendar
Set up a shared family calendar online using Google. Then link this to your voice assistant, so it’s super easy for people to check what’s happening and also add new things with their voice. On the devices with a screen, you can use it like a handy noticeboard.
Bonus Tip: The Alexa devices have a sticky note feature, which I love! Handy for visual reminders for you and your family.
3. Consider a Smart Lock
If your kids are older, you might be thinking about giving, or have given, them a key to be able to let themselves in after school. This is a great step in helping them learn about keeping their belongings safe but can also cause stress if they accidentally lose the key. Smart locks are an alternative that allows your children independence, but without the worry of lost keys. You can set up the lock for multiple people to access and see a record of who has accessed the lock and when.
If you are looking for one, we use the Yale locks, they are really easy to install and set up.
Bonus Tip: A smart lock is also handy for if you have guests staying or if you rent out your home while you are away.
4. Reduce Meal Planning Fatigue
Using your voice assistant to help with food shopping is super time saving and allows you to make and easily share a list so that it’s not just you who knows what items you need to purchase. No more texting back and forth to check when you’re in the shop. All you need to do is get into the habit of adding an item with you voice as you notice it running low or when you go to recycle the packaging.
Your smart speaker can be a great source of inspiration for trying new recipes and guiding you through the instructions hands-free. At dinner time ask your family what types of food they’d like and browse recipes online.
Bonus Tip: The Lists feature on your voice assistant can be used to keep an inventory of what you have in stock as well. For example, if you’re batch cooking you can make a freezer list, so that you can easily check how many portions of meals that you have without having to dig through the freezer.
5. A Load a Day Keeps the Laundry Monster Away
With all the school uniform and afterschool activities, you’ll notice your washing might be piling up. I heard this phrase recently and thought it was both practical and fun. Set a reminder on your smart speaker every day. Even better set up a routine that instructs one of the members of your household to pop on the washing. Would you believe that my children when given an instruction by Alexa are way more responsive than if I ask them?
Bonus Tip: Use a smart plug with a built-in energy monitor and set up a routine to let you know when the washing cycle is complete so that you can hang it up straight away – no more wrinkles!
With the routine-building capabilities of today’s smart home tech, getting the household up and running smoothly for school days can be easy and stress-free. There are lots of things you can do, you could try some of our suggestions and adapt them to suit your family. It’s always nice to have some fun with it too. In our house, we have a motion detector on the snack cupboard that sets off Alexa and says “Oi, you, step away from the biscuits!”
Becoming more organised takes time, and a bit of trial and error to find out what works. Often simple things work best and ideally should build on the routines or habits you already have in place. We hope this short guide has helped you to see how devices like Alexa can help you to be more organised.
If you need any help with upgrading your home and building helpful voice automation routines, we’re here to help, please do get in touch. Also, if you do set up any practical, fun or inventive home management ideas in your home we’d love to hear about them.
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