• Gregan McMahon

A New Routine - Smart Home Tech to Keep Kids on Track.

As the new school year got underway back in February, we had a number of parents get in touch asking us whether we could help find some solutions to help their kids manage their own morning routines better.


We spoke to a lot of frustrated mums and dads who all had a variation on the same theme:


"I spend so much time asking Johnny/Jenny to find their shoes, or brush their teeth, or pack their bag, that by the time we get in the car we are just fuming at each other! Help!!


So the challenge was set. How could we design a system that used Google or Alexa to guide our young participants through the "get ready fo school" routine, build their independence and confidence and and take some of the load off Mum and Dad?


There were a couple of things to keep in mind:

Make it Tailored

Not all children respond in the same way to prompts. Some prefer visual, some prefer, verbal our sound prompts, others respond better to light.


Make it Flexible

While the morning routine will have the same steps each day, they won't necessarily happen in the same order every day. But the all need to happen! So maybe on Monday, Jenny has a shower then gets dressed and then has breakfast, but on Tuesday she's starving so she has breakfast first.


Make it Simple

To be useful the system needed to be simple. Simple for kids to use. Simple for parents to see what has been done and what still needs o be done.


Solution

1. We secured simple and cheap tablets to the walls in Johnny's bedroom, bathroom and kitchen/family area. Each of these had a visual representation of Johnny's morning routine. For example:


2. We installed a set of smart buttons which allowed Johnny to press buttons to "check off tasks" as he completed them. We placed these in various places around the house - eg bathroom for "teeth" and "shower", kitchen for "breakfast", Johnny's room for "get dressed"


3. Once a task is marked completed, that task on the screen would turn from Orange to Green.




4. And on completion of a task Johnny gets a big "virtual high 5" from Google/Alexa in the form of A "well Done Johnny!" or a sound or a lighting effect.


Pulling it together

So using this system, Johnny is able to keep track of his morning routine without feeling like Mum and Dad are nagging him, and his parents aren't pulling their hair out. This shows the tablet system in all its glory!.



Thanks for listening!


Gregan

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