Even super dads have sidekicks. Just like a lot of fathers, my sidekick happens to be technology and smart home devices. In fact, I don’t think you could find a corner of my home that doesn’t have some sort of technology. Is that such a bad thing? I don’t think so. As long as you find a balance (whatever that means), technology definitely make home life much bette, from helping families connect to freeing up your time for memorable moments.
Here’s my list of the best home tech for families, and how I use each one to keep my status as super dad in a household of all women.
Nearly 40 million Americans own a smart speaker, which is insane (in a good way). But, as an owner of a 2nd generation Echo, I am not surprised. These devices are not only useful but fun. My daughter and I love to play games on our Echo, from 20 Questions to Trivia. Alexa will even read my daughter a bed time story. What???
My wife loves to do her shopping and make lists on the Echo while she’s doing other stuff, like crafting, which frees her up on the weekend and allows us to do more fun things like play Family Bingo on… our Echo, of course. I will admit, I have made many phone calls from the comfort of my bed, and a few of those might have been conference calls for work. Nothing beats taking a conference call in pajamas.
So, yeah, the Echo is pretty awesome. You can get the best price available right here.
I almost forgot. If you’re looking for a great extra with your Echo, I recommend purchasing a Sonos One speaker. It hooks up to your Echo and you can put it in another room for full access to Alexa, including the voice controller. The sound is crisp, clean and powerful. I’ve got a Wi-Fi enabled Sonos One in my daughter’s room and she loves it. The best part: you can use the Sonos One and the Echo independently and simultaneously.
iRobot Roomba and Braava
You know your family is odd when you name your vacuum and mop. We did. Their names are Todd and Margaret and we love them. But how can you blame us? They are the hardest working members of our family and they never complain. First of all, I don’t remember the last time a human in our household picked up a broom or a mop – and our floors are spotless.
If you don’t know what a Roomba is, you’ve probably been sleeping under a rock for the past 3-4 years. We’ve had our Roomba for about 2 years and we have no complaints. Sure, it’s a bit loud, but show me any vacuum worth its weight in gold that doesn’t make a little noise. Besides the fact that a Roomba can clean every room in your house with the touch of a button, it can also be programmed to start at a certain time each day and it charges itself – so you literally never have to think about vacuuming. And, it’s so small, you forget it’s even in your house.
I haven’t tried other smart vacuums because I don’t have to. Todd cleans up pet hair with ease and emptying him takes about two seconds. He has been going strong for more than two years and we fully expect him to keep going til my 5-year-old leaves for college.
Several versions are available. However, the Roomba 690 has all the bells and whistles, including Alexa compatibility for voice control and a mobile app for in case you need to clean up while you’re away.
As for Margaret, our iRobot Braava 380t Robo Mop, she sweeps up to 350 square feet on a single cleaning cycle and she’s compatible with reusable microfiber cloths and disposable Swiffer pads. I was going to say, “Now all we need is a smart lawn mower,” but those exist too. Check it out!
Fire TV Stick
It’s hard to believe that something as small as a flash drive can power a home’s entire entertainment portfolio, but the Amazon Fire TV Stick does exactly that — all for under $40. From Netflix and Amazon Prime to Hulu and any other video streaming service, the Fire Stick gives you access to all. Plus, you get access to apps like Youtube, which is a huge deal for my daughter, who must have Chase’s Corner on her lineup of shows.
One of the great things about the Fire Stick is how easy it is to set up and use. I love the parental controls and the access to games like Crossy Road, which can turn any boring get-together into a rager.
Other great features include high speed Wi-Fi and a quad-core processor, which reduces buffering to practically non-existent.
Today’s gadgets makes it pretty easy to be a super dad. These are just a few of the best home tech devices available in today’s supercharged world of technology.
Do you have a tech sidekick I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear about it. Please mention in the comments below and tell me how it improves your home life.