The Alexa Skills Every New Parent Needs Right Now
As a new parent, it’s a great idea to take advantage of every hack, tip and trick you possibly can to make everyday life go a little smoother. You probably already know you can rely on the Amazon Echo to make hands-free calls, play music, set timers, check the weather or news, and turn off your lights. Those features are huge timesavers, of course, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the creative and helpful ways you can use Alexa to stay on top of a busy home life. To that end, we’ve rounded up the most helpful Alexa skills to help you knock this whole parenting thing out of the park.
Whether you just brought baby home or are closing in on the end of parental leave, these skills will help you streamline your day to day—no complicated calendars or overly detailed schedules necessary.
- Alexa can help you remember everything from when to call your mom to when to turn off the oven, but this skill is especially useful for parents who trek from work and school to the gym, day care and back again. For example, you could say, “Alexa, remind me to bring the stuffed animal to day care every weekday morning at 8 a.m.,” and the next morning, like clockwork, she’ll give you the reminder. You’ll never be driving back home to retrieve poor, forgotten Mr. Snuggles again!
- Add your shopping and to-do lists to your family’s Amazon account, and say goodbye to lost grocery lists and forgotten plans forever. Just name each list and say, “Alexa, add birthday plans to my to-do list” or “Alexa, add diapers to my shopping list.” These entries then automatically sync to you and your partner’s Alexa apps, so the two of you will always be on the same page. You can either manage your list by voice, or use the app to manually delete an item once it’s been completed, and it’ll disappear from both of your devices—so there’s no risk of doubling up (although when it comes to toilet paper, the more the merrier!).
You’ve probably developed a sixth sense regarding baby’s moods—and that includes deciphering between a hungry cry, a needs-to-be-changed cry and a tired cry. But when you need a little extra assistance, turn to these Alexa skills to help calm baby and set both of you up for some much-needed shut-eye.
- This fun skill tells a short, often humorous bedtime story read by enthusiastic characters (their performance is bound to top your best monster impersonation) to fully capture your little one’s imagination. The stories are the perfect five-minute length, age-appropriate and include realistic sound effects. If baby (or you) fall asleep before it ends, no worries: The skill will turn off on its own as soon as the story is over.
- Ask Alexa to create a relaxing atmosphere with either calming music or soothing ambient sounds that’ll drown out the noise of traffic, your living room TV, or any other stimuli that could keep baby awake. Ask Alexa to dim the nursery lights and say, “Alexa, open Sleep Little Babies” for lullaby music, or choose Sleep Sounds for white noise like storms, lakes, rainforests, waterfalls and more. Your preferred sound will play until you say “Alexa, stop” (you can also set a timer). Pro tip: It works just as well for tired parents as it does for fussy little ones.
Life is busy—even more so since baby arrived on the scene. Not only is staying connected to faraway family and friends a priority, you’re also craving some precious alone time to recenter and reenergize (and who could blame you?). These Echo capabilities have you covered.
- Drop In is an optional feature you can use with compatible Echo devices and the Alexa app on your phone. In your home, you can use it to talk to someone in another room—basically like a two-way intercom. You can “drop in” right to your kitchen Echo to ask your partner when dinner will be ready. Or you can chat with visiting in-laws in the living room while you’re feeding baby in the nursery, without having to raise your voice.
- As a new parent, it can seem like time for yourself too often comes last on your ever-expanding to-do list. This mindfulness skill can help you find balance on even the craziest days: It gives you a guided break during which you focus on breathing; you can choose from hundreds of themed sessions on everything from stress to sleep—and there’s no meditation experience necessary. Because let’s face it: Finding a few free minutes between feedings is much more doable than making it to your hour-long yoga class.
It’s 6 p.m. on a Wednesday, and you and your partner still need to feed and change baby, clean up the house and oh yeah, you’re both starving too. These skills will help you ace the weeknight rush, with time left over to catch an episode of your favorite Prime Video show.
Help With Chores
- Too zonked after spending half the night up with baby to tidy the house? Alexa can help make housecleaning more enjoyable. Ask her to play your favorite cleaning playlist to keep you moving (and singing along), or ask her to tell you a joke or pay you a compliment when you’re so over it. You may even find yourself talking to Alexa as you scrub the tub and getting on a serious cleaning roll.
- No need to bust out the cookbooks or squint to read a recipe on your phone; this skill gives you hands-free access to 60,000 recipes, making the trickiest part of dinnertime—what to cook—easier. Alexa can find recipes that match your desired dish type, the ingredients you have on hand, the amount of time you have and your preferred cooking method. Ask Alexa to add ingredients to your shopping list, save a crowd-pleaser to your favorites list, or have her read reviews to discover tips and tweaks other home cooks made to the recipe. You’ll never have to stand wide-eyed in front of an open refrigerator again.