Our daughter has recently taken a shine to our Alexa, and now she knows how to get her to do things, she is always asking her questions and making her play her songs for her entertainment. If you have an Alexa in your home and you haven’t used it to benefit your toddler yet, here are a few functions we’ve found beneficial.
- Alexa, count to…: Depending on where your toddler is at in their counting journey, you can ask Alexa to count from zero to a specific number of your choice and encourage your little one to count along with her. Our daughter keeps missing out the number 16, so this is helping her to remember it because we utilise this function each night at the dinner table to help her practise. If you do this once every day, and keep building it up to the next ten numbers, it will support their learning in nursery and set them up well for school.
- Alexa, say the alphabet: Ask Alexa to go through the alphabet and again, encourage your toddler to mimic her and you can always join in too. Make it into a game and they will enjoy learning rather than seeing it as a chore. As with numbers, anything you can do to get your toddler excited about these basic skills will only benefit them later down the line in an educational setting.
- Alexa, play a song: Hokey Kokey is a particular favourite in our house, so if you are worried about your child’s lack of exercise on a rainy day, this is a great way to get the blood pumping and your little one moving but in a fun way. Of course, any song with movements and a fast beat will serve you just as well and the whole family can get involved. Try to alternate between ones that get you all up and ones that help with coordination such as Wind the Bobbin Up, The Itsy Bitsy Spider or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star where your toddler is encouraged to make hand movements to correspond with the words.
- Alexa, spell the name...: By the time your toddler reaches school age, it’s important that they know how to spell and write their own name and Alexa can help with this too! Just ask her to spell out your daughter or son’s name and encourage your little one to say the letters along with her.
- Alexa says it’s bedtime: We have programmed our Alexa to tell our daughter when it’s bedtime, so every night at 7.30pm she says ‘name...it’s time for bed’. If you don’t want to be the bad cop- blame her so you don’t have to take the brunt of their protests!
- Alexa... play toddler songs: If your toddler has some toys in the same space as your Alexa, you can ask her to put on a list of kid friendly songs so you have some appropriate background noise to their playtime. The TV is all well and good for generating some peripheral noise, but the picture can be distracting and if you are trying to reduce the amount of screen time your toddler is exposed to, this can be a nice alternative.
- Alexa... turn off the X Box: Another good cop, bad cop scenario is when you want to turn the TV off without your toddler giving you grief. If you ask Alexa to do it- you are taking the blame away from yourself and your toddler can’t argue with a robot, so everyone’s a winner!
When you have a toddler, you should be prepared for every eventuality- which is why the ‘mum bag’ is always bulging with stuff when you travel somewhere on foot. As a mother who has forgotten some of these key items on occasion- I am now very intentional with what is in our car before we set off on a road trip or even a local drive. Here are just a few of the things I would recommend...