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25 ADHD Parenting Hacks with Alexa You Need to Know About
Last year when I opened an Echo Dot for Christmas, I halfheartedly thought “Cool, I’ll probably hardly use this”. Oh, how wrong I was. Not only do I use Alexa daily, I use her multiple times a day. I joke that she’s my best friend, because as a parent, I feel like I talk to her more than my real friends. Or adults. I digress.
Not only do I use her often, I use her for so many things. Some of the things in this list might be obvious to you. Others maybe you weren’t aware of. Regardless, I hope if you have Alexa in your home you gain something useful from this list in your ADHD parenting journey. I’m certain Alexa isn’t the end of the list of technology that helps ADHD, but it’s a great start. Who knows, maybe I’ll put together a smart home system for my ADHD household. I’m sure there are more ADHD parenting hacks with Alexa than just the ones listed here, but I’ll have to add more as I find them. Here are the Alexa skills and tools we use most often:
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I really cannot recommend audible enough for the ADHD brain. My kids use a variety of different tracks to help them drift off to sleep (See number 8) but they also enjoy listening to a book being read to them at night time. I can ask Alexa to read me the specific book from my Audible library, and then since they are usually asleep within 25 minutes, I simply ask Alexa to stop playing after 25 minutes. We just recently finished The Magician’s Nephew from The Chronicles of Narnia, but I’ve also listened to several books myself. And it’s nice to not need to have headphones in my ears or on my head to hear them.
If I need to put a time limit on the boys video games, game playing, pretend playing, really any activity they are doing. I simply say “Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes” (Or however many minutes I need) and she does. She will go off when the timer is up and the kids know it’s time to either come see me for whatever they are to do next, or switch turns for activities and the like.
3. Chore Reminders (Skills)
I found this skill in the skills section of the Alexa app on my phone. It’s nice although I wish we utilized it more. The kids have the option to complete their chore and then tell Alexa they have and Alexa will keep track of their chores completed to get points each week. While we haven’t utilized it to it’s full capacity, it’s daily reminders to the kids to do the things I have on the list (make their bed, do the dishes etc.) are very helpful for the always forgetful ADHD brains.
4. Reminders in General
As I stated above, Alexa has skills to remind us about daily chores. But she can also remind you about several things. I ask her to remind me in an hour, next week, specific days to do things I might otherwise forget to do.
5. The Ability to “Drop In”
Inside the Alexa app, under communication I have the option to drop in on any of the Alexa devices I am linked to. We have a fairly large house and rather than yelling all the time, I’ve often simply drop-in on the boys while they play in their room. I can hear them, they can hear me. I use it to call them for dinner, ask them to quiet down, find out what that loud noise was, etc. It’s like an intercom in each room.
6. Creating Announcements
I also use Alexa to announce things for me. I can type them into the app (this trick is also under communications) and she will announce it to all my devices. When I’m not 100% sure which room my kids are in to use the drop in feature, I use this instead. It’s very helpful. And sometimes Alexa’s announcement is my warning.
For instance, if I’ve sent them to do a specific task and I say “I’ll come check on you in 15 minutes to see if it’s complete.” I will let Alexa announce: Mom is headed to come check on you in 5 minutes, hope your done! It’s just a way to break up what feels like me nagging at them to move quicker.
7. To Call Me
They’ve used it to call me, similar to dropping in. Being that Alexa is connected to my phone, it initiates a call to me. It comes through as an Unknown caller on my cell phone, but most of the time I know who it is.
8. ADHD Lullaby
I’ve spoken about how much I love the product ADHD lullaby before, but it’s even better when used with my Amazon Music Subscription. I can simply ask Alexa to Play ADHD Lullaby. She doesn’t always hear me correctly, it takes a few tries or sometimes I have to initiate the playing through the Amazon Music App, but overall it’s a great feature. I can then say “Alexa, Stop playing at 30 minutes”. The boys fall asleep, and she stops playing and I don’t have to do much.
9. Amazon Story Time
Apart from Audible, she also has skills where she can tell shorter stories. There are a few variations of this skill, but the one we use is simply Story Time. But there is also a Disney version. When you use it, she will start to tell you a story sometimes with full cast and other times just simple narration. But you don’t always know which stories you will get, it makes it fun.
10. Whose Turn Is It (Skill)
Talk about settling a sibling dispute- Just ask alexa Whose turn it is to…anything and she will choose for you out of the people you place in her list. This is another Alexa skill our ADHD household uses a lot. Brothers fight and argue and Alexa can do a little bit of my mom-duty lifting for me here.
ADHD kids aren’t always the best plan-ahead types. Especially when it comes to the way they dress. My kids have gotten used to me saying “Check the weather” before they get dressed. They simply ask Alexa, and she tells them the average temp for the day and what to expect. They now understand that 49 degrees Fahrenheit is NOT warm and that if she predicts rainy weather, I will probably give them some extra screen time for my own sanity.
12. Keeping Track of the Time
Speaking of time. I too have ADHD, and struggle with time blindness. In the morning while I am getting ready I ask Alexa what time it is, about 15 times. But you know what? It keeps me on track. I actually sometimes try to guess how much time has passed since I last asked her in an effort to get better adjusted to telling the true amount of time passing. It’s helpful to my ADHD and essential to our morning routine.
13. White Noise
I have a 9 month old, and often times his older brothers are playing dungeons and dragons or pirates right outside his nursery door. I ask Alexa to play ocean sounds to help mitigate the noise level. It works well and doesn’t play too long. This could also be useful for sensory seeking individuals who need classical music to focus (like me) or just help them tune out their own thoughts. Classical music or other white noise has been utilized by many ADHD people I know of during test taking, or anytime they need to shut the world out.
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Alexa has a whole SHLEW (thats midwest speak for A LOT) of games. Trivia, guessing, fun facts games. Browse her skills section and you will find many. We plan to give Mutter Nonsense a try tonight.
15. Bible in One Year
Exactly what it says it is, read by Nicky Gumbel from Alpha. Reads you biblical text in a years time. I’ve added it to my morning routine.
16. Answer Homework Questions (That are allowed)
Stumped on homework? Don’t have a calculator? Ask Alexa. My kids can’t use her for things that I wouldn’t give the answer to, but for correct spelling, simple sums, etc. Yeah, feel free. Ask Alexa to help me out.
17. Answer general questions that Mom doesn’t know
I don’t want to answer “Why the sky is blue?” if I don’t know the science behind it. I direct those to my AI Counterpart. “Hey Alexa, mom never finished college, so…”
18. Notifies of Packages
She blinks yellow when my latest Amazon shipment arrived. And she will tell me whats in the box before I even go get it, if I ask. If at any time she is blinking any other colors (yellow, purple, blue, red…) I can simply ask her what the color means and she will tell me.
19. Create Tidying Up, Bedtime, and other Specific Playlists to Help Motivate Kids
My kids need music to do just about anything. Especially cleaning. I can have them ask Alexa to play them their own playlist (they’ve curated playlists from requesting songs then telling her to add them to their playlist). Or I can simply say “Alexa play a cleaning Radio” and she will probably find me some upbeat 80’s tunes for us to tidy up to.
20. Grocery and Essential Item Ordering/List Creation
Whiile I don’t use this feature, I know it’s a great one. If enabled you can simply ask Alexa to add things to your cart on Amazon. She will and then you simply have to check out. I believe she even has the feature to order it right away. Just be careful the kids don’t know too much about this one. But I do imagine it would help for those of us who struggle to “Remember to do” things. IF you think of something you are in need of, ask Alexa to purchase it. It will be to you in 5-10 business days lol.
She wakes us up in the morning. 5am, 7am, whenever. I can ask her for 5 more minutes to. Or to just shut off so I can go back to sleep. Lol
Ask her to tell you a Joke. The boys like this one, a little too much.
23. Amazon Music for Any Requests
Allow me to introduce Alexa the Disc Jockey! With Amazon Music, she can play most any song. And the greatest thing is, I have parental blocks on explicit songs on the Boys Echo Dot. So they can’t request songs with Explicit content and she tells them when they try. LOL Thanks Alexa for Having my back.
24. Inspire Me (Skill)
I just snagged this one, but I’m excited to try it. It’s different short inspirational monologues from inspiring people like Martin Luther King, Tony Robbins and the like. I imagine it will be just the sort of thing to get my going when as an ADHD adult, I am just NOT a morning person. Whatsoever.
She will countdown the days until your vacation, the weekend, your birthday, anniversary…any date that is important to you that you are bound to forget. She can count it down for you.
Other ADHD Parenting hacks with Alexa that are useful (but I have yet to try):
Out the Door:
Talk about an ADHD parenting hack with Alexa! This skill helps your children get ready and dressed without your prompting in the morning. Sounds like a miracle doesn’t it? It has pretty good reviews, and let me tell you, I’m shocked we haven’t tried it yet. I’m sure it will be a winner in my ‘Things that make ADHD life easier’ book.
Alexa plays Simon Says. Among other games she has, this one seems simple enough. Everyone already knows the rules and she runs the game.
Discipline the Kids:
Not a substitute for actual discipline, reviews on Amazons site say it’s more a distraction tool. Alexa suggests disciplines like “Dance for 2 minutes” and such. Sounds fun and a light-hearted way to get my ADHD kid’s to move off whatever they are stuck on or whining about, and change their mood.