16 Tech Finds That Will Change Your Family’s Life
You absolutely need sleep.
Enter the SNOO Smart Sleeper ($1,160), which soothes babies to sleep by responding to crying with different levels of white noise and motion. “After night feedings, I could just put my son down in the SNOO and be totally confident that he would stay asleep,” says Anne Fenton, a mom of two in Brooklyn. As for the steep price tag (gulp!), Happiest Baby has begun partnering with major companies to offer rental programs to new-parent employees.
You want to streamline your nursery gadgets.
Keep it simple with the 3-in-1 Hatch Baby Rest ($60). It’s a soothing noise machine, a nightlight, and later on, an okay-to-wake light for your toddler that you can control remotely from a smartphone. We love that you have precise control over the volume and brightness of the night-light too.
You believe in good lighting.
Wi-Fi-enabled Philips Hue bulbs ($15 to $200) deliver. Because you can program them to light up at a set hour, you never have to come home to a dark house. You can also set them to emit a calmer yellow/ orange glow at certain times, which is soothing for both kiddos and grown-ups before bedtime.
You find it impossible to track your baby’s sleep.
An innovative device that mounts above the crib, the Nanit Smart Baby Monitor ($279) records your baby’s sleep, then analyzes it. The app then offers personalized guidance and tips. “It’s helpful to find out what happens in the blur of the night,” says Parents senior editor Julia Edelstein. “It showed me my son had put himself back to sleep twice, which I hadn’t realized he could do.”
You’re tired of running out of printer ink.
It won’t happen again with HP’s Instant Ink printers ($50 and up; plus $3+/month subscription). You’ll automatically receive more ink when yours senses you’re low. Plus, the monthly cost can work out to less than a year’s worth of buying printer ink the traditional way.
Your child needs motivation to brush her teeth.
The Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush E1 ($100) lets you track and reward good brushing through its app. FamilyFun’s deputy managing editor, Tara Lustberg, tested it with her son, and reports: “I haven’t had an argument about brushing his teeth in days!”
You’re germ-aware, part 1.
Solve every parent’s dinner-prep dilemmas (like raw-chicken hands) forever by upgrading to a Moen MotionSense Wave kitchen faucet ($278 and up). You turn it on and off with the wave of your hand. Take that, bad bacteria!
You’re germ-aware, part 2.
Go touch-free with Simplehuman’s Rechargeable Sensor Pump ($50). It dispenses soap when you put your hand under the spout.
You need an easy way to label your kid’s stuff.
Enter the P-touch Cube ($60) app-controlled label maker. You type in “Ellie Walker Sports Bottle” on your phone, select a template, and out comes a label. We’re officially #obsessed.
You’re crafty on the regular.
Whether you’re in charge of a classroom of kids or your own crew at home, a Cricut smart-cutting machine ($130 and up) will take your projects to the next level. It can cut out shapes from materials like vinyl and polished foils. “For Halloween, we used ours to make vinyl window clings,” says FamilyFun editor-in-chief Elizabeth Shaw.
You’ve got a knack for misplacing things.
Attach the Tile Mate ($25), a Bluetooth tracker, to your wallet or keys. Then use the app to locate them. The Tile itself can also find your phone, “perfect if you have a middle-schooler who’s still adjusting to the responsibility of a new phone,” adds tech lifestyle blogger Carley Knobloch.
You still need convincing on the Instant Pot.
Besides the fact that you can cook risotto hands-off or braise beef in as little as 20 minutes instead of three hours, the Instant Pot Ultra ($150) has new parents in mind: You can use it to sterilize baby bottles, jars, and utensils too!
Brilliant ways moms use Alexa
“When I was nursing, I used Alexa’s timer to keep track of when to switch sides. My hands were full!” —Marisa LaScala, Parents news editor
“We use our Google Home Mini to chat with Santa! He’s available year-round, FYI.” —Julia Tortoriello, Parents Latina deputy editor
“I like that Google Home can translate English words into Spanish for us.” —Maya Tank, mom of two, Jersey City, New Jersey
“When my son refuses to wear a coat, I’ll ask Alexa if it’s cold out. When she says yes, he’ll put it on.” —Julia Edelstein, Parents senior editor
“It satisfies kids’ curiosity without using a screen. We’ll ask things like, ‘What is the difference between a manta ray and a stingray?’ ” —Sarah Blaszczak, Parents contributor
“If you ask Alexa to ‘Open the Magic Door,’ she’ll tell an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure story.” —Bianca Strul, mom of two, New York City
“I use Alexa’s ‘to do’ list as our Costco list. I can add things even as my spouse drives to the store. When he arrives, he sees an updated list in the Alexa app.” —Kate Smith, mom of two, Lexington, Kentucky
Amazon Echo Dot ($49.99)
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Take better photos and videos, even in suboptimal lighting, with a LuMee Duo ($70) case. It has built-in lights on the front and back.
If you’re the mom of a toddler...
LifeProof FRĒ cases ($80 and up) are waterproof, dirt-proof, and protect against “impact,” um, tech-speak for drop-proof.