Nobody ever said parenting was easy. At times, it can be downright stressful. But there are ways you can make the day-to-day grind of parenting much more manageable.
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Any busy parent needs to work IFTTT into their lives. For those who don't know, IFTTT is an abbreviation for "if this, then that." It's a web-based tool that lets you set up automated actions or "recipes" using apps, websites and functions on a smartphone.
Here are seven quick and easy IFTTT hacks to help ease the burden of busy parents.
1. Receive a Text When Laundry Is Done
Laundry is one chore that can be hard to keep track of, particularly if you're already busy keeping track of the kids.
To make it easier, set up an IFTTT recipe to send you a text message when the laundry is done or you need to switch loads.
For this hack you'll want to incorporate littleBits, a platform of electronic building blocks that allow you to create smart home devices.
If your washer and/or dryer buzzes when a cycle is complete, simply place a Sound Trigger littleBit next to your laundry machine. Using this IFTTT recipe, you'll receive a text message on your phone when the littleBit is triggered.
This will free you up to take care of other tasks while the laundry is going without worrying about forgetting your load.
2. Monitor Your Teen's Facebook
Supervising your teen's social media use is a balancing act. You want to provide them with a certain amount of privacy, but you're still the parent, and it's important to know what your teen is up to.
With this IFTTT recipe, you receive a simple notification when your teen is tagged in a Facebook photo.
Using this hack, you don't need to search Facebook to get an idea of when and where your teen is tagged in a photo. Rather, you will be notified every time they are tagged, which can give any parent some peace of mind.
3. Automatically Turn Lights On or Off
Forgetting to turn off lights can be an energy waster that impacts your monthly electric bill. On the flip side, sometimes it's nice to have the lights turn on in the evening so your home doesn't appear empty to potential burglars.
To remedy the lighting dilemma, purchase a smart lighting system for your home, which allows you to control your home's lighting remotely. You can then set up IFTTT recipes to have your lights turn on or off in certain situations.
For example, if you have the Philips Hue lighting system, there are many IFTTT recipes to choose from. You can have lights turn on automatically at sunset or at a specific time of day. Or, you can have your lights turn on or off when you are a certain distance away from home.
4. Get Reminders to Pay Bills
When you spend most of the day managing your kids' lives, it's easy to forget to pay certain bills on time. Sure, remembering to pay rent on the first of each month can be easy, but you likely have many other bills due on different days during a given month.
One straightforward way to manage bill reminders is with an IFTTT recipe that sends you a text message when a bill is due. Setting it up is the initial chore, but afterward, you'll be automatically reminded each month when it's time to pay the bills.
No, it's not a recipe that will save the world. But parents always welcome anything to help make life simpler.
5. Monitor Kids Playing Outside
With new technology, it's now much easier to keep track of your kids even if you aren't physically near them. One way to do this at home is using a smart security camera with an IFTTT recipe that begins to record when it detects motion.
Home security is the most common use for these types of cameras, but you could also set one up to "watch" the kids when they're playing outside on playground equipment. After all, 75 percent of children's playground injuries are the result of a simple fall. You may not always be available to be outside while the kids play, and in those instances, keeping an eye on them with a smart camera is a good option.
6. Get Notified About New Craigslist Postings
The classifieds website, Craigslist, is a useful resource for parents, especially if you're in the market for items such as a used car for your teen or textbooks for your college freshman. Scouring Craigslist can be time-consuming, but IFTTT can help make it less tedious.
Simply set up an IFTTT recipe that will send you an email whenever a new Craigslist post matches your search. It's a quick and easy way to stay on top of what you're looking for without having to constantly search the site manually.
7. Get Nudged to Meet Daily Fitness Goals
Parents know how hard it can be to keep up personal fitness. When your day-to-day priorities are most often the kids, it's sometimes easy to lose track of keeping yourself in shape.
If you have a fitness tracking device such as a Fitbit, you can set up an IFTTT recipe to send you a reminder if you haven't hit your daily fitness goal by a certain time each day. This recipe gives you credit for the amount of physical activity you might have endured throughout the day, which may be enough to meet your fitness goals on their own.
If you happen to be a bit less active on a given day for whatever reason, the recipe will nudge you to get moving.