A smart plug, IR sensor, and Echo in the midst of Lego blocks and other toys.
Josh Hendrickson / How-To Geek

You may have set up your own smart bedroom, but what about your children? Kids have different needs, so you’ll want to take a different approach. With the right devices, you can give them a smart bedroom that benefits everybody.

Why a Child’s Smart Bedroom?

If you already have a smarthome, your children may already love the voice controls and convenience it affords them. As they grow and want more and more independence, it may be time to trust them with that same control in their bedroom.

And convenient access to smarthome controls doesn’t just benefit them; it can help you enforce schedules and keep in contact when you’re traveling.

Consider an Echo Dot Kid’s Edition for Voice Controls

An Echo Kid's Edition in a child's bedroom, with the question "How long do bears hibernate?"

All voice assistants come with privacy implications, so when considering adding one to your child’s bedroom, you want to keep that in mind. To that extent, an Echo Dot Kid’s Edition is tailor-made for children.

With this Echo Dot, you get many of the same capabilities as the standard Echo but with more granular controls. You can prevent explicit songs from playing, set daily time limits and schedules (no Echo use after 8 P.M.) and monitor your children’s activity.

One area concern is Amazon’s practice of having humans review what you and your children say to Alexa. But, you can tell Amazon to stop, and we recommend you do that for at least your children (if not yourself too).

If you already have a spare Echo, you can convert it to a Kid’s Edition instead of buying a new device.

Voice Controlled Smart Lights Solve Out of Reach Problems

Four Wyze bulbs in a row

Does your child still have to hop for the light switch? They may be able to say “turn off the lights” well enough for an Echo Kid’s Edition to understand. Smart light bulbs and smart light switches make all the difference here, as they can be voice-controlled.

Even when you children can reach the switch, they’ll appreciate the convenience of voice controls when they’re already in bed, getting ready to sleep. And you can set a “lights out” schedule both for nighttime, and when they’re at school. That’s something you’ll appreciate if your children tend to leave the lights on.

Smart bulbs are dropping in price rapidly. Wyze Bulbs are as little as $10 a bulb with shipping.

If your child’s bedroom has a ceiling fan, with just a few changes, you can add smarthome controls to the fan blades and the integrated light.

Smart Plugs Enforce a Schedule

A GE, iclever indoor, and outdoor smart plug arranged in a triangle.

Lights aren’t the only things you can make smart in a child’s bedroom. If it plugs into the wall, you may be able to control it with a smart plug. That includes fans, lamps, and even rechargeable toys.

With the right application, smart plugs can pay for themselves. Using schedules and routines, you can prevent devices plugged into an outlet strip from using energy all day long. Anything you want to be charged by the time your children arrive from school you can schedule to turn on an hour or two before school lets out.

Pair an Echo Button with your Echo Kid’s Edition, and your children can even turn off their smart bedroom with a single button press.

And while it’s fun for your children to turn on a floor fan by calling out a command, you can continue your “lights out” rule by cutting power to unnecessary devices when it’s bedtime.

Nest Protect is Also a Night Light

A mother and child reading a children's book in bed, with a Nest Protect mounted on the wall above their heads.

A smoke detector might not be your first thought when planning a smart bedroom for your children, but Nest Protect includes a secondary beneficial feature: a bright night light.

It’s so bright; we don’t recommend placing one directly in your child’s room, especially if they’re light sleepers (or if you do, turn off the night light feature).

In either case, place one in a location just outside the bedroom and one near the closest bathroom. When your children get up at night, they can make their way to the bathroom with enough light to see, but not so much they get blinded.

Nest Protect is motion-activated, so just walking to the bathroom activates the night light.

A Wi-Fi Camera Lets You Check-In

An iPhone showing a Wyze Cam feed of a child playing in her bedroom.

If you travel for work or have to work late frequently, often the hardest part of the job is not seeing your children. And sometimes the biggest obstacle to “date night” is building trust in a babysitter. Wi-Fi cameras can help with that.

While it’s true, you can call or video chat with your children, that’s not always appropriate when you want check on your little ones, especially if it’s past bedtime.

With a Wi-Fi camera, you can feel present when you can’t physically be there. A quick load of the feed and you’ll know the babysitter got the children to bed on time, or that they’re having a good time playing. It’s a peace of mind that doesn’t unnecessarily interrupt your kids.

And when you do want to interact, most Wi-Fi cameras have microphones and speakers so you can talk with anyone in the room.

Admittedly, Wi-Fi cameras in your children’s bedroom is a privacy concern, and that’s why we recommend Nest and Wyze cameras. Both companies offer two-factor authentication for securing your account. According to Microsoft, two-factor authentication blocks 99.99% of account hack attempts, so that’s a first you should take with any Wi-Fi cameras, no matter their location.

As a secondary benefit, Wyze cameras are compatible with the company’s sensor products. If you add an IR or door contact sensor to your child’s room, you can completely automate their room. Smart lights and plugs can turn on and off simply because they entered or left, negating any need for a voice assistant.

You’re the best judge of your children and what they can handle. But don’t forget to talk with them to see what smarthome devices they’re interested in—if they’re even interested in any at all! You may be surprised with a suggestion you hadn’t even considered.

Profile Photo for Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code.
Read Full Bio »