Between swollen body parts, hands full, and plenty of bodily fluids, as a new mom I was spent. I remember sitting at my kitchen table, and sobbing with what I now know to be the “baby blues.” The days, weeks, and months after having a baby are not easy. But being a parent in our vastly connected world gave me some extra boosts at times when I wasn’t feeling my best.
Here are four life hacks I discovered for using Amazon’s Alexa for new parents.
When you have been home with your child alone for too long, say, “Alexa, play lullabies.” I kid you not, this Amazon Music playlist is a gift from the heavens above. Be prepared though, it’s not exactly a bunch of traditional lullabies. You might find yourself crying as you listen to Lullaby by The Chicks, or Rainbow Connection by Sara McLachlan. Not only will this lullaby mix be a great first introduction to dreamy tunes for your baby, it should calm your nerves too. My child is 2 years old and I still ask our devices to play lullabies when I need to take a minute to calm down.
Second, say, “Alexa, play Baby Shark on repeat for ten minutes.” Mind. Blown. You can literally play those songs on repeat instead of asking your device to play it once at a time! No longer will your toddler tug at your leg, begging you to ask for more. And what’s better, your toddler might get a super excited look on their face when they realize that yes, Amazon Alexa is indeed going to play Baby Shark again!
Third, “Alexa, play songs by Daniel Tiger.” You may not feel ready to turn on shows for your child, but when you do, I recommend Daniel Tiger. Our child is obsessed with watching Daniel Tiger, so sometimes we pivot by playing the songs for her instead of watching on the TV. It’s a win-win: she loves the songs and is spending quality screen-free play time.
Not only does Amazon Music have a very wide selection of playlists (without ads, if you have Amazon Prime, I might add), if you enable certain skills, it will do other fun things for you too!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has developed a skill called “Gospel Voice” that you can download onto your Alexa app. Then you can say things like, “Alexa, ask Gospel Voice to play ‘Give Said the Little Stream'” and it will find the song and play it for you! It’s not just for those who are members of the church, anyone can use it! It accesses the church’s hymn and children’s songbook libraries and has a number of classic Christian hymns.
My other favorite command with “Gospel Voice” is to ask it to play “Saints Channel Radio” or “Tabernacle Choir Music Stream” when I want to listen to some relaxing Sunday music in the background.
Or you can ask, “Alexa, ask Gospel Voice to play Matthew Chapter 5” and listen to some scriptures if your hands are full and can’t pull out your heavy scripture set.
Drop In Features
When our baby first started sleeping in her own room, I would use our two Echo devices to drop in on her. Eventually we switched to a camera instead of audio monitor, but dropping in was a really nice tool in the early days. You say, “Alexa, drop in on _____” and name the device you’re planning to drop in on.
Now we use drop-in features to drop in on her while she’s playing in the basement (which is never for more than about 5 minutes at a time since she isn’t independently playing yet).
So, what are your favorite features of the Alexa for parenting? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.