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Every single parent has been there. Your 6-year-old is refusing to get in the bath and brush his teeth. No amount of bribing, screaming, and threatening will convince him that he suddenly wants to indulge your bedtime routine. You’re ready to throw yourself in the bathtub and cry.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
What if I told you there’s a way to use something as simple as a light bulb to encourage (and virtually guarantee) your child’s great behavior.
This parenting hack is so easy that you’ll make it a permanent part of your repertoire. It’s an especially powerful tool to use leading up to Christmas, but kids care about Santa all year long!
Here’s everything you need to know to use a smart bulb and the looming presence of Santa to finally (FINALLY) get your kids to listen and behave.
Step 1: Buy an LED Smart Bulb
We use the KASA Smart WiFi Light Bulb at our house. It’s easily controlled through the Kasa Smart app or voice commands with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Microsoft Cortana.
Whichever bulb you choose, make sure it is multi-color, connected to your WiFi, and easy to control with a few taps or commands. Most importantly, be sure to purchase a smart bulb that doesn’t require a hub. Hubs act like routers for your smart devices but are pretty costly, so if you don’t already have one, purchase a hub-free smart bulb to make this parenting hack more affordable.
Step 2: Connect Your Smart Bulb to Your WiFi
Time to get down to business. Add the smart bulb into the KASA app (or whichever app works with your bulb) and connect to your WiFi. As soon as you open the app, you’ll be able to click on the specific light bulb you need (which we named Santa’s Little Helper) and control the exact color and intensity. We programmed orange, green, and red for easy access.
Now install the smart bulb into a common area of your house and introduce it to your kids as a “Santa Light”. If you’re doing this before Christmas, explain that it’s Santa’s way of using colors to keep track of whether they’re on the Naughty or Nice list. If it’s after Christmas, tell your kids that Santa installed the light bulb while he was delivering presents in order to track their behavior until next Christmas (genius, right?).
Step 3: Start Using “Santa’s Light” and Watch the Magic Happen
When we first introduced Santa’s Light to our five-year-old daughter, you could practically hear her brain spinning to process the concept. Santa can see EVERYTHING? He can control this light? He knows as soon as I’m bad?
Yup, yup, and you bet.
The green light worked on its own for a while. It gave our daughter a constant reminder that she was on the right track with her behavior and Santa knew it. She started purposefully showing better behavior to try to impress Santa.
But hissy fits happen, and the first time she tried to shout “No way, ew!” to the dinner set in front of her, the light immediately turned from green to orange to red.
The neighbors could probably hear her gasp when she noticed the change. She immediately sat up straight in her chair, grabbed her fork, and chowed down.
We didn’t have to say a word! No arguing or raised voices or exasperation. That’s what I call a major parenting win… or a technology-enable Christmas Miracle.
This parenting hack is perfect for Christmas, but it can also be adapted for any other time of year. Is your kid hopelessly obsessed with Paw Patrol or Batman? Make it Batman’s Light or Chase’s Light. As Easter rolls around, it can become the Easter Bunny’s Light.
Whatever you need to do to make parenting just a bit easier.
Do you have other ideas for using a smart bulb to keep your kids on their toes? Share them below!