Technology can help remove stress

Alleviate back-to-school stress with new tools that help you keep kids safe and streamline your day. (copyright Lightfield Studios/

Technology can help remove stress

(StatePoint) Many parents have worries around the back-to-school season, especially if kids will be alone for a portion of the afternoon or in the morning before catching the bus.

What if you could keep a better eye on things when you’re not physically there? Here are some ways to use smart home technology to simplify daily routines and minimize stress knowing the kids are safe.

Start with a hub
A hub is like the brain of your home tech and connects to your router, allowing devices like locks, thermostats and lighting to communicate with one another. The hub can even send notifications to your mobile phone, so you can monitor and control your home remotely. With hubs such as SmartThings, Wink or Nexia, setting up your devices and customizations is simple. However, you may prefer a hub disguised as security panels, such as ADT Pulse or Vivint, or those that work with popular voice speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Scenes are an easy way to sync smart devices to perform a series of actions that make life more convenient. For example, you can wake your kids with a “good morning” scene that turns lights on and plays music via an Echo or Google Home.

Worried about energy bills? Keep kids from cranking the air after school with a smart thermostat, which lets you control the temperature throughout the day.

After homework and chores are complete, a voice control assistant will keep kids entertained with music, and a movie scene can lower lights and turn on speakers. Finish the day with a “good night scene,” that shuts off lights, lowers the temperature, locks the doors and arms the security system.

Think safety
Your smart home can keep a watchful eye on kids. Smart door locks like Schlage or Kwikset eliminate the need for kids to keep track of housekeys, and let you know if they forget to lock the door when they leave. When they get home, you’ll receive a notification letting you know they’ve arrived safely.

Security-focused solutions like the Piper NV camera and hub, or Abode’s DIY security solution alert you when someone enters and exits, and even provide video clips to your phone. Smart sensors, such as those from Aeotec, can notify you whenever a window, door or even a cabinet drawer is opened.

During emergencies, kids can press Fibaro’s Button device to activate an emergency scene that signals an alarm and sends a notification to your phone indicating they need help.

Future-proof your tech
Smart home tech doesn’t have to be expensive; you can start small with a hub and a few devices and add more as your needs change. Just be sure all your devices can talk to one another now and in the future. With Z-Wave technology for example, devices from different manufacturers can communicate, no matter where you bought them, so consider looking for the Z-Wave logo when shopping for smart home technology. For smart home ideas and customer support, visit

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