For the weak of heart parenting is not. And most parents are more than happy to receive a helping hand, whether it’s entertaining children, helping them with homework or simply simplifying household tasks.
Smart home technology can provide much needed parental support. Why parents would buy a Google Home or Amazon Echo unit Most of us know just how great voice assistants are for things like finding out the weather forecast or hearing the latest news.
But a Google Home or Amazon Echo device goes even a step further for parents, offering both entertainment and a helping hand for children. Take a look at some of the ways Google Home or Amazon Echo can help you as a parent:
- Help your baby sleep. When it’s nap time, ask your speaker to turn on soothing music or white noise.
- Entertain toddlers and kids with stories. Both kids and parents can say, “Alexa (or “Hey Google!”), tell me a story.” Alexa can also read your Audible library of kids books, and Google Home users can access books purchased from Google Play.
- Play music. Music makes everything fun, and smart speakers have a vast library of music to help you as a parent, whether you want to put on the Clean-Up Song to help your kids tidy up or keep them entertained with songs from your own playlists.
- Tell jokes. Want to keep your kids laughing for hours? Show them how to ask Alexa or Google to tell them a joke.
- Help with homework. Parents can’t be expected to remember everything from their school days. When your kids are in a bind and need homework help, your smart speaker can help by answering questions.
- Settle a dispute. If you ever feel more like a referee than a parent, let your smart speaker help. Alexa’s Kids Court skill is a fun way for kids to settle squabbles. Kids tell Alexa their side of an argument, and then receive a ruling. Google Home also has actions that let you roll a digital die or choose a number between one and 10.
- Teach new things. Your smart speaker can also help your toddlers and kids as they learn the alphabet, numbers, times tables, or other skills.
These are just a few of many ways a Google Home or Amazon Echo can be beneficial to both kids and parents.
Google Echo vs. Amazon Home?
Perhaps the best-known in the industry is Google Home and Amazon Echo, when it comes to smart speakers. They offer similar features and can perform the same tasks with voice prompts – such as answering questions, controlling devices, and playing music.
Here’s a quick rundown of the two:
- Google Home has the Google Assistant built in. This works like your own personal assistant. Through Google Commands, you can search for web information, get weather updates, traffic routes, and other local information, and control your smart home devices. Google uses third-party actions, which function like apps, to provide more capabilities.
- The Amazon Echo was introduced in 2014 and was the first smart speaker on the market. The Echo relies on its smart assistant, Alexa, to provide info, music, and smart home integration. Like Google’s Actions, Alexa uses third-party skills, which are also like apps, to give it increased functionality.
So which is right for you? When trying to decide which is right for you and your family, you’ll want to keep a few key things in mind:
- Compatibility. While both devices will work with your smart devices and phones, Android users who use other Google products may find they prefer to stay with the Google ecosystem and opt for a Google Home. As an Amazon product, Echo allows you to order off Amazon and works with Amazon services, such as Audible and Amazon Music (great for parents who want to play kids’ books or songs over their speaker).
- Smart capabilities. Google Home’s Google Assistant leverages the power of Google Search and Maps and provides detailed responses to a wide range of questions. If you want a capable digital assistant, you can add events to calendars, make lists, and shop through Amazon Alexa.
- Voice recognition. Google Home boasts industry-leading natural language processing, so you can ask questions and give commands in a more conversational tone. Both Google and Amazon speakers have far-field voice recognition that picks up voices even across the room.
- Streaming for music. Amazon Alexa works as a bluetooth speaker for any mobile device, while Google works well with Google products like Chromecast. Both will stream Apple Music or Spotify playlists as well.
- Languages. Google Home can understand two languages at once, making it ideal for multilingual households.
At the end of the day, both speakers offer excellent smart home support and similar features, so the one you choose comes down to personal preference.
Here’s a quick summary of the two:
Google Home has built-in Google Assistant. It works like your personal assistant. You can search for web information through Google Commands, get weather updates, traffic routes and other local information and control your smart home devices. Google uses third-party activities to provide more features, which work like apps.
These suggestions include setting limits on digital use and monitoring activity, including the use of your smart speaker.
Luckily, both Amazon Echo and Google Home have extensive parental control features that put you as parents in control of what your child can access and do with your smart speaker. With these parental controls, you can set rules that allow you to:
- Filter and block explicit songs or music services
- Disable features like calling and messaging
- Restrict access to third-party apps
- Set up a pin or disable voice ordering
- Pause the device after a certain amount of time
- Schedule “downtime” with customized times or preset days/times like “School Nights” or “Weekdays”
The step-by-step details of setting up parental controls will depend on your speaker.
- Google Home uses their Digital Wellbeing feature to enable filters and set up downtime.
- Amazon Echo uses Free Time to help parents limit access or disable certain features.
How parents can make the most of their Amazon Echo or Google
Home As parents we are always on the go, at any given time, juggling multiple things. So as well as using your smart assistant to keep your kids happy, parents will find a Google Home or Amazon Echo can also make life easier.
Alarms and setting timers
A timer is indispensable for parents in a multitude of situations, especially when multitasking or chasing after more than one child. Ask Google or Alexa to set a timer to remind you to pick up your kids from school, when to go for soccer practice, or to let you know when the3-minute time-out for your preschooler is up.
Timers can be useful to youngsters, too. Of example, you can set an alarm to go off 10 minutes each morning before the bus arrives, so your kids will know how to hurry. Alternatively, you can set a timer to alert your children that their screen time is up.
It’s all happened — after a trip to the grocery store, you unpack your food just to discover that you’ve missed one of the very items you’ve been running out for. You can draw up a running list throughout the week with your smart assistant, and then trigger it when you get to the store. This is especially useful when you’re in the middle of a job and either run out of an ingredient or you’re thinking about adding something to your to – do list.
Simply say, “Alexa, add eggs to the shopping list,” or “Hey Google, put on my to – do list ‘ pick dry cleaning.'”
To see what a Vivint Smart Home can do for your family, contact our Smart Home Pros today at 302.345.3806 for a free consultation.