The boys are at that age. Sleep patterns are getting really engrained. We've been looking into an alarm clock for kids to help regulate things since we're trying to ease into the kindergarten idea, and smart home tech has been making its way into their room.
It started with the Logi Circle that I mentioned we've been using to keep an eye on things around the house. I got an extra one for their room and thought it would be brilliant to use the intercom feature to play my morning music when it's time for them to get ready.
They weren't super-big fans of that.
Then they visited a friend and came back raving that this kid had a bunch of glow-in-the-dark stars all over his ceiling. I wasn't about to go to all that effort – seriously, you guys – but I did oblige by hooking up some Bliss Lights in a corner and setting them on a timer to come on precisely at bedtime.
BAM! Mom of the century. Suddenly, the boys were freaking stoked to hop into bed at night. That was such a giant success, I started mulling over the idea of lighting as an alarm clock for kids. That's when our ongoing sponsor Best Buy brought up the idea of the Philips Hue lighting system.
I started picturing a whole house full of multicolor smart lighting. I could arrange the bar lights to gently illuminate just after I get the kids in bed, then ease my way into my regular Netflix-watching position with some mood lighting and a glass of wine. Oooooooh yeah.
Using the Philips Hue as an Alarm Clock for Kids
This is not about me, though! It's about an alarm clock for kids. Which is exactly what I rigged up with this system. I put all three bulbs into the boys' main overhead lamp. They were SO excited watching me set the lights up, testing them out on various disco modes. It was PARTY TIME, y'all.
There's a WiFi communications bridge that plugged into our router, allowing me to control all of the bulbs with an app on my phone. I can set all three to different colors, so we can go from under-the-sea…
…to Valentine's Day!
I set it up so a soothing color comes on half an hour before bedtime, indicating to them that it is time to start doing the nightly bedtime routine. They're like Pavlov's dogs, I swear! The light comes on and out come the toothbrushes, jammies and books. That light is timed to slowly fade just as we're saying prayers, and then it fades back on gently when it's time for them to start getting ready for school.
Just after we leave for drop-off, the thing shuts itself down to conserve energy. How cool is THAT? I'm totally getting extra bulbs and putting them in my own room…and the living room…and throughout the entire house.
The one strange thing is that we've had to get used to controlling the lights with our phones instead of with our old switches. Turning them off directly means that they aren't powered and won't respond to our timers and commands in the app. Hue does have tap switches available, though, that will let you turn the lights off without killing the connection to the WiFi bridge. If you keep your standard switches and flip the light source off and then on, these do respond by turning off and on just like any regular fixture. I love that simplicity of use (so I know there's no special “light tutorial” needed if Nana and Papa come watch the kiddos for the night). For the more advanced user, they can be synced with online IFTTT features to – for example – turn blue when the forecast calls for rain and turn red if there's a fire warning in the area.
Aside from the alarm clock components, I've found that having remote control over the kids' lights has decreased the amount of hovering and nagging I have to do. I like to give them space to play independently, but they always know I'm watching on the Logi Circle monitor even when I'm not in the room. If playtime gets out of hand, the Hue lights are one more tool in my arsenal. A yellow flicker of the lights serves as a warning if someone isn't making a smart choice. Switching the lights to red means it's time to separate and take a brief break, and lights out means playtime is over.
Have you found an alarm clock for kids that you love?
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.