I would say in 2019, a large number of homes have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or an equivalent device. I use my Echo almost every time I cook. Setting up multiple alarms and reminders with Alexa helps me to stay on top of just how long things have been baking and I don’t have to wash my hands each time I touch a timer. Being able to be hands-free is the bee’s knees!
“Alexa, you are not listening to me!”
We got the device right around the time our daughter, Quinn, was really starting to form sentences. She found it so fun to try to grab her attention and ask her to play “Baby Shark” or “Shake It Off by Taywer Sift”. We used Alexa to set bedtime times or reminders to brush our teeth in the morning. Quinn got better and better at making ‘requests’ from Alexa. As time went on she would start getting so frustrated and upset when Alexa wouldn’t understand what she was asking for. It was when she said ‘Alexa, you are not listening to me’ when I had an epiphany.
Please and Thank You
My daughter was not requesting things—she was demanding them from the device. As parents, we work diligently to instill good manners. Even if Alexa is a robot, my fiancé and I knew we needed to make a change in our home to correct the attitude. Our solution was so simple, it was silly. Anytime anyone of us asked Alexa for something we included a please and then a thank you after she delivered.
Did it work?
We weren’t sure it was going to work at all. My goodness, it was incredible how fast my daughter actually started showing respect to this object. Then I kinda felt bad thinking why haven’t we been doing this all along? Anything that makes our life easier deserves the same kindness that we show for living breathing things. It takes intention from each of us to note the manners we want to give to our tools and to each other. Ever since incorporating those manners and that type of kindness, our home has been a happier, more respectful one.