5 Essential Parenting Gadgets for Modern Families: From Wake-Up Lights to Ear Thermometers

5 Essential Parenting Gadgets for Modern Families: From Wake-Up Lights to Ear Thermometers

Attachment parenting often goes hand in hand with requiring less ‘stuff! All those gadgety-things and gizmo-y-thangs fiercely marketed at susceptible, sleep-exhausted (aka desperate) parents can go un-needed with the exception perhaps of a fabulous sling. So we were curious to find out what technology is truly useful to a modern parent and we’ve looked at things beyond the obvious, several of our picks are not even targeted at parents but are sanity-saving wonders of discovery!

1. Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 Wake-up Light Alarm Clock with Extra Audio Options

Wake up to sunshine and birds song every single day and feel great! The Lumie promises to alleviate SAD and works as an engaging sunset and sunrise light-activated alarm clock which children (and parents) love! The design is stylish and the programming is a little tricky at first but you can select 15-90 minute sunrise and sunset options with the warm yellow light fading or brightening over the desired time period. The chemical affect of a simulated sunset and dawn means that children wake-up alert, more energised and in a better mood. Some people use the Lumie as a night light too although we wouldn’t recommend an all-night light that isn’t red spectrum based. What we do love though are the options for waking noises - you can choose the radio but far more fun are the rooster, waves or birdsong - there is even a white noise option for very young children. Medically certified, the Lumie really does transform the quality of waking and drifting off, all year-round. If you love this you might be interested to know there is a cheaper version with a 30 minute sunrise/sunset.

2. Breville VKJ318 Hot Cup with Variable Dispenser

A one-touch cuppa at your fingertips for fuss-free tea! We have discovered people get evangelical about their Breville and here’s why - at the touch of a button you get your required cup of hot water (9 variable cup sizes to choose from with this model) within 40 seconds. If you’re a busy parent with one hand available there’s no pouring involved - you just top up your cup and go. The blue illumination is a handy kitchen night light and the 2 litre tank is transparent so it’s easy to manage re-filling. It has a drip tray and is easy to clean. Some people say the water isn’t quite as hot as that from a kettle which from a parent’s perspective, with young children around, can only be good thing! Oh and it’s very energy efficient too! If you love this you might be interested to know there is a cheaper version which has a set cup size.

3. Meemoobaby Meelight

Helping parents see to feed and care for their baby at night while keeping things soft and snoozy! The designers behind the Meelight understand not only how light affects human activity but also what new mums and dads need in the week dark hours. Meelight's golden glow has been specially chosen for it's very low blue-light content so as not to over-stimulate (not what you need at 3am!). The 3 different soft and soothing light settings are designed to allow for clear visibility which is why it's not a red light. This means you can see the details of your baby’s latch or a dirty bottom without disrupting others in the room by turning on a beside light or using the harsh glare of a phone torch. The Meelight is easy to clip on your clothes and is fully portable which is perfect for providing night-time continuity for baby. The 2-day battery life requires just 1 hour of charge and there’s also a 30 minute timer so you can switch it on when you are woken and not worry about it accidentally being left on all night. A potentially indispensable gadget for those early months and beyond.

4. Andrew James 5 Litre Premium Digital Red Slow Cooker

Take the stress out of the witching hour and make dinner after breakfast! People with slow cookers are the parents who smile knowingly over morning coffee because their dinner is tastily stewing at home! The beauty of the slow cooker is that it means, come dinner time when children are tired and often need us most, we can be more available, without the stress and distraction of preparing a meal from scratch. There are various size options available but the 5 litre is a good family size and one of the best things about this model are the 3 temperature options as well as an inbuilt 20-hour timer. The timer also allow you to delay the start for up to 12 hours (so you could programme it before bed in case you forget in the morning?). It’s economical, produces tasty food and you don’t even need a separate serving dish - just lift your delicious meal out the cooker and serve in the ceramic dish provided - easy! If you love this you might be interested in the expensive but luxurious, does-everything, Sage Fast Slow Cooker Pro by Heston Blumenthal.

5. Braun IRT6520 ThermoScan 7 Ear Thermometer

Reassuringly accurate and much loved by doctors; easy to consider a must-have! Braun seem to be pretty much unsurpassable when it comes to accuracy. Many 'all-singing and dancing' thermometers promise to test water and food temperature but prove too sensitive for body temperature and are too affected by their environment. The Braun has a patented pre-warmed tip meaning the starting temperature is always the same and the technology includes colour-sensitive age adjustable fever guidance. The design also means there is a light and beep alert to guarantee correct positioning and it shows you the last 9 recorded temperatures which is super handy when tracking your little ones fever. A pack of 20 disposable lens filters comes with the thermometer and ensure any potential hygiene issues as well as being BPA and latex-free. The thermometer runs on AA batteries and these seem to have a good life time. One of the big advantages of this model is the back-lit night light. For peace of mind, reliability and hygiene (from birth onwards) this is a top choice.