Donal Skehan
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Busy Family Life Routines & Nesting

November 25
Busy Family Life Routines & Nesting | DonalSkehan.com, There was a time in our lives when we could just cook what we fancied, clean up when the mountain of washing got too big, and basically had a fairly loose list of household chores that eventually got done. That all came crashing down a couple of months into Noah, our son, arriving into our lives. Very quickly we realised that in these early days of parenthood we needed routines run like military operations just to get through the day!

This post is sponsored by Amazon Devices & Services.

There was a time in our lives when we could just cook what we fancied, clean up when the mountain of washing got too big, and basically had a fairly loose list of household chores that eventually got done. That all came crashing down a couple of months into Noah, our son, arriving into our lives. Very quickly we realised that in these early days of parenthood we needed routines run like military operations just to get through the day!

We’ve had Amazon’s Alexa in our lives since then and make use of Alexa in a whole host of ways to make life a little easier for our busy family life! I want to walk you through some of the features we use and how they might help you and your family get through the week! 🙂

Mornings for us are probably the busiest and before the day takes over and catapults us into action my first thing is to ask Alexa via our Echo Dot to start our morning Routine. It’s a cool feature that you can customise to carry out a few different tasks that can set the mood. In our morning Routine, Alexa gives us a flash briefing with news from back home in Ireland on RTE News and the headlines from the New York Times. Next she turns on the bedroom lights and starts a morning jazz playlist which is my attempt at bringing some element of calm to the day.

I also use Routines around Noah’s evening schedule, by simply saying “Alexa, it’s Noah time”, Alexa starts the TV for cartoons while we get dinner ready (there’s an auto switch off function after 20 mins, so we can actually peel him away from the screen!), switches the lights on in the living room using an Amazon Smart Plug and turns on an evening jazzy playlist to bring a little peace to proceedings! There’s something all very “Back To The Future” about it but we are HERE FOR IT!

Now let’s talk about household chores. In a zombie parent state, keeping some sort of rhythm to maintaining a clean house is next to impossible but of course with Alexa there’s a skill for that. We’ve set up all the things we need to do in the house like vacuum, clean surfaces and windows, changing bed sheet etc, into our chore chart with Alexa Skill Blueprint. Then either Sofie or I can open the skill on my Echo Show to hear or see our daily chores, log completed chores, and get the chore score. It might sound like overdrive but it actually helps us keep it all consistent and like any new parent will know, it’s all about whatever works!

They are just some of the basic features that we use in our regular routines but there’s so many more and I like the idea that you can customise functions to fit family life as it changes. During Sofie’s pregnancy we loved creating countdowns in the How Many Days skill, where we could check how long left till family was arriving and how long was left till the due date. It’s great for holidays, vacations and other big family events.

A skill I really loved which gave us peace of mind for when we knew we had to rush to the hospital was the House Guest Alexa Skill Blueprint, which allows you to input key information like important contacts, how to lock the door, where to find the remote and how to use the TV for any people who were staying with us and helping take care of Noah. Yes a note might suffice but it really does help make life run a little smoother! All they have to do is say, “Alexa, open My Houseguest Guide.” One in the app family and guests can ask questions like “Where do I find the remote?”

There are so many ways to make use of Alexa in busy family lives and I’m pretty sure there’ll be plenty more skills to be adding to our routines in the coming years. Let me know what skill you like best in the comments sections below!

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