A Gadget that is Helping Me Parent Smarter, Not Harder

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iluv-workstation-pro-1

When we discovered a way to turn my the family iPad into a “TV” with The Work Station Pro, I was excited. Not only did it save me money because I didn’t have to buy a TV for Whistler’s room, it also bought me time. As you can see, just above on the shelf we also have a portable DVD player set up for Friday evening movie treats just before bedtime. With more toys than necessary and a fenced in yard for play, Whistler is by no means a couch potato. But like most toddlers he can be lured into 30-60 minutes of quiet with the beckoning lines of “The Doc Is In..” or “Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog..”

PS If you could instantly name either of those Disney Junior cartoons, you’re not alone. 

Conveniently, an hour is about the same time as it takes me to write a couple of articles, whip up dinner or straighten the house without putting the same toy away 50 zillion times. Total blessing, right? Well it was until about the time that he discovered that being a couch potato had it’s perks. I’m pretty sure this is directly correlated with his new method of avoiding sleep and/or trying to sneak into mommy and daddy’s bed – the I’m helpless and can’t turn off my movie trick.

Belkin WeMo Switch (2)

Yes, his bedtime movie “treat” has turned into a ritual fiasco because when the credits start to show, he yells and starts crying for one us to come in and turn off his movie because he “can’t sleep with it on”. Sigh. This, of course, ripples into the “I did it last time” game between Ben and I and honestly, parenting is already hard enough work. If there is a way to resolve even the small issues like this one, why not?

It’s better to parent smarter, not harder, right? So, thanks to today’s awesome technology and gadgets, his portable DVD player is now plugged into the Belkin WeMo switch. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s a gadget that has the potential to be the next best thing since the “clapper”.

belkin wemo switch 3

I am a Verizon #VZWBuzz Lifestyle blogger and have been provided this product to facilitate this review. All opinions remain my own.

The Belkin Wi-Fi enabled WeMo Switch lets you turn your electronic devices on or off from just about anywhere – all you need is an internet connection and a free app on your iOS or Android device. Once connected to your Wi-Fi network, you can then wirelessly control the power to anything you can plug into it – TVs, lamps, stereos, heaters, fans, etc!

Belkin WeMo Switch

The installation is fairly painless and straight out of the box. Just plug it in, connect to the wi-fi signal it emits, instruct it to connect to your home wi-fi and you’re finished. Upon entering the control app, you’ll find it to be just as simple – after all, you’re basically just flipping a switch. While the process seems straightforward enough, I do have a few tips for you.

  1. If you are having difficulty with the unit accepting your network’s password and connecting, you can try moving the plug to a spot where it is closer to your router for setup purposes. The only downside to this is that when you unplug it to move it back, it *might* lose that information. If this happens, what worked for me was to perform a reset by removing the unit from the outlet and holding down the reset button located at the top of the unit. While holding this down, plug it back in and while continuing to hold down the reset button for an additional 15 seconds. Release and wait for the blue light to come back and try to connect directly to the WeMo wi-fi signal again and then open the WeMo app. I expected to have to re-input the network info again, but it “remembered” and was able to establish a connection again. PHEW!
  2. This gadget is large and in charge. Not only does it have some serious height/width, it also has depth. Consider this extra room that is needed for areas that may be confined – like behind the couch.

Now, I’m happy to report that we can easily turn off Whistler’s DVD player from the comfort of our bed the next time he screams for help. And we can also decide when “it’s time to go to sleep” by shutting it off if and when it gets to be too late. Without us having to make the trip into his bedroom and face having him get upset at us leaving again, Whistler knows that whenever his movie turns off, that it’s time to go to sleep.

Belkin WeMo Switch (1)

 

*NOTE* The WeMo switch has the ability to be set on a schedule (which I would LOVE) but unfortunately I haven’t been able to use this feature. The appears to need an update to activate this setting and there appears to be a glitch where I am unable to download this update. (sad face) While we haven’t had to use it yet, I’m sure this feature would come in handy if he ever tries to pull a fast one on the baby sitter.

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