By Juhi Bansal
It’s a cold November evening, well as cold as it can get in Ahmedabad! The doorbell rings and uncharacteristically the husband runs to the door. Another courier delivery, I roll my eyes. The husband is smiling ear to ear (again very uncharacteristically) and beams at me, “Babe, meet our new family member, Alexa”. He sets it up, we say hello and the rest as they say is history.
Echo devices are very easy to set up. All you need is internet. Just plug and play. Ten months on and we’ve moved to the latest model of the Echo devices, the Echo Spot. With a small touch screen, it’s made life even more comfortable.
I am not a big fan of screens and gadgets for kids. Infact, those around me know how averse I am to the idea of kids handling devices but Alexa is like having another person around (without all the mood swings by the way!). Not only is she a companion to Iy (Alexa reads to her, plays her favourite songs and rhymes and even plays games with her), Alexa has been a positive influence on her. She has learnt to be polite. Her sentences always start with “Alexa please…..” and end with Thank You. Whether it is colours, numbers, brain teasers, games or activities, Alexa’s kid skills keep not only Iyra but also her parents amply entertained.
Kid Skills needs to be turned on in the Alexa app on your phones, following which you can select from a plethora of these skills depending upon the age and interests of your little one. Some of our favourite kid skills are:
Chu Chu TV and Hungama Rhymes for music time. Amar Chitra Katha Quiz and Suppandi Brain Teasers for some trivia and mad quizzing. Amazon Story Time and Moshi Twilight for some professionally narrated short stories. I used to think I do voices well but man, these narrators are really something!
Another extremely useful feature of the Echo spot is video calling. When I am at work, all I need to say to my Alexa app is “Alexa, call home” and our living room comes alive. I can chat with little Iy, check on her or simply say “I love you baby”. Similarly, the little one back home can just say “Alexa call mamma” and she does! We are literally one shout away from each other.
I continue to be wary of screens for kids but if there is one device that passes my “fit for kids” test, it is Amazon Echo Spot. It comes with Alexa and she is like a family member we never thought we needed!
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