Looking to up your Alexa game? We’ve got a collection of the best Alexa hacks for parents that will help you get the very most out of your Amazon Echo. Read on for the best Alexa activities for kids, Alexa skills for parents, and all-around ways to make life with Alexa a little easier (and a LOT more fun).
It’s no secret that we LOVE our Amazon Echos. Alexa plays a larger role in our lives than we’d care to admit (I mean, she’s basically our coparent). She’s our kitchen companion, our dance party DJ, and the deliverer of our groceries.
So yeah, you could say we’ve formed an intimate relationship with some AI technology. Welcome, to the future, people. As a result of this relationship, however, we’ve discovered several unique Alexa hacks for parents.
When I first got my Alexa, I was super put off by it. The volume level in my house increased exponentially. I didn’t really know what to do with it beyond playing music (and they wanted to charge me $5 a month to do it!). To top it off, many people told me I had just given the NSA direct access to my home. Let’s just say, I was kind of regretting my purchase.
But as time went on, I discovered that Alexa had a lot more uses. She could set timers and reminders for me, so when I found my arms full of toddler, I could still keep myself on track. She played ALL of my favorite songs at a moment’s notice. And her Yo Mama jokes are on POINT.
At this point, I’m spending a LOT of time with Alexa, and I’ve gotten to know her pretty well. And that includes figuring out some AMAZING Alexa hacks for moms. Read on to discover some of our favorites!
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She Will Announce Dinnertime
For some reason, a simple “Dinner’s ready” doesn’t seem to cut it at our house anymore. But if Alexa announces dinner? Everyone comes running. She’ll also ring an old-school dinner bell before announcing that supper’s on, which just adds a little something.
She Can Play a Personalized Birthday Song for Almost Anyone
No, really. Try it. She has a version for Lila, one for my father-in-law Conrad, and even one for Abram. Not only does it make their special day a little more fun, but saying, “Alexa, sing happy birthday to ___” is one of my kids’ favorite party tricks.
She Plays Music That Matches My Mood
Whether I’m undergoing hardship (“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson), feeling overwhelmed (“Save Myself” by Ed Sheeran), or feeling super fine (“Me Too” by Megan Trainor), Alexa has the jams to match whatever I’m feeling.
Playing that just-right-song right when I need it works like magic to turn my bad mood around. You can get a trial subscription on Music Unlimited to get the music you want, whenever you want it.
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She’s Good For My Anxiety and Habit Building
Sometimes, I get these weird panicky feelings that I’m going to forget to pick up one of my kids. It’s bizarre, I know, but I’m terrified I’m just going to drop them off at school and never go back. Thanks, Anxiety.
So when these moods hit me, I have Alexa remind me to go pick up my kids. I’ll set a reminder for fifteen minutes before I have to leave, and then I’ll tell myself that I can’t worry about it again until Alexa tells me to.
And if you’re trying to do something new- say, drink more water, or put down that cell phone- you can schedule reminders with Alexa to help you establish new habits, too.
She Gives Me Reminders
I’m pretty good with remembering day to day things- my kids regularly brush their teeth and I feed them, like, six times a day, so…Go, me- but the once-in-a-while things are tricky. Like giving my dog his flea medicine on the fifth of the month- that never seems to happen on time.
But with Alexa, I set up a reminder a month in advance. So when I give him his flea medicine, I’ll say, “Alexa, remind me to give Ace his flea medicine on October 5th.” When it’s time to get it done, Alexa will help me to remember.
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She Can Help Me Reduce Screentime with Fun Alexa Skills for Kids
If my kids are begging to watch Coco again, I can sometimes distract them with the soundtrack instead. Alexa can also play your kids’ favorite podcasts, tell them a story using Amazon storytime, or get their wiggles out with songs like the Freeze Dance or the Macarena.
There are also tons of amazing Alexa skills for parents and kids, too. Ask her to play a game (younger kids will love playing guessing games with Elmo, and older kids will enjoy the lemonade stand challenge) or have her play a choose-your-own adventure story by saying, “Alexa, Open the Magic Door.”
And when we do indulge in our favorite television shows, I can set a timer for how long the kids are allowed to watch TV each day. And if Alexa is playing “bad cop,” then that means that I don’t have to.
She Can Keep Me Entertained
Whether I’m cleaning with the kids around, cooking with my husband, or working on a creative project, Alexa can play just about any podcast using TuneIn. We’re working on a list of our favorites (in the meantime, try “Ask Me Another” from NPR), or ask her to play a personal fave of your own.
If you have a little more time- think a big cleaning project, or as your nightly as-I-do-dishes wind down, have Alexa play you an audiobook. You can get just about any book via Audible (get your first two free when you sign up here).
She Keeps My Shopping List
As soon as I realize I’m out of something, I tell Alexa to add it to my shopping list. And since the list displays in my Echo app on my phone, I never have to worry about remembering a paper list when I head to the grocery store. I just ask Alexa to remind me to get bananas, and we’re good to go.
Her Timers Can End Disputes
When my kids can’t agree about things, whether it’s turn taking or who gets to pick what’s for snack, Alexa always acts as a tie-breaker. Not only can she set timers for sharing, but she can also “flip a coin,” which is PERFECT for those times when one wants to go to the park and the other wants to head to the beach.
Not only that, but there are a couple of clever Alexa skills for parents that can help end disputes between kids. The “Whose Turn” skill can keep track of whose turn it is to do a chore or choose the movie, and the “Kids’ Court” skill is a funny way to have an “objective” third party (Alexa!) hand out a verdict.
She is an Amazing Dance Party DJ
Alexa is the best.DJ.ever. She can play old school songs from your childhood (which is how my kids became such big fans of Ninja Rap from the 90s Ninja Turtle Movie), or your kids’ latest Disney hits. And on days when we can’t go outside, I swear Dance Party with Alexa time is the only way my kids get any exercise at all.
She Tells Great Jokes
My favorite are her Yo Mama jokes (they are always family friendly, and actually pretty kind to Yo Mama, if we’re being honest), but she can also tell a mean knock knock joke.
And while they aren’t technically jokes, Alexa has some hilarious responses to our questions. When we’re bored, we like to ask her what her favorite color is, what she wants to be when she grows up, or what she looks for in a boyfriend.
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She is SUCH a Nerd
If you’re a nerdy family, Alexa has got your back. She’s got enough nerdy knowledge to keep up with even the most die-hard geek.
Ask her which is better- Star Trek, or Star Wars? Ask her what House she would be in at Hogwarts. And if you’re a fan of the office, you’ve GOT to ask her “what kind of bear is best.”
She Keeps You Up to Speed
I used to keep up with the news on the radio as I drove, but talk radio has too much “adult” language for me to listen in the car with the kids. But I can usually find a few minutes while the kids are otherwise occupied to ask, “Alexa, what’s the news?” for a quick briefing from CNN.
You can also request to get a news briefing from a different news source. I know we all have unique preferences to how we get our news, and the odds are you can find the source of your choice in the Alexa skills store.
Whatever You Do- DON’T Do This
DO NOT, for any reason or under any circumstances, allow your child to say “Alexa, Play the Poopy Song.” Even if they’re joking and have no idea there is one. Because oh, THERE IS ONE. And you don’t want to hear it on loop every.single.day like I do.
Alexa may take some getting used to, but there’s tons of Amazon Alexa Hacks for parents that will make your day a little easier, and, if we’re being honest, a lot more fun. What’s YOUR favorite Alexa hack? Tell us in the comments below!
And if you’ve decided you now need an Echo of your own, what are you waiting for?? Get an Amazon Echo and use Alexa’s skills for parents to get the party started in your house, too.