Can Home Automation Help Parents with Kids?

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Has this ever happened to you? I bet there are more than a few of you out there that can sympathize.
The other night, my wife and I were out late at a Christmas party.  We have a two year old, and anyone with young children knows that sometimes that car ride home is the best thing to get your child to sleep.  When you get home you struggle to get the child out of the car seat, inside the house and into bed without waking them.
This got me thinking.
We have a keypad at our front door, with the usual “Home” and “Away” buttons.  Home turns the house into home mode, turns on certain lights and runs other scripts.  Away puts the house into Away Mode, turning everything in the home off, activating motion sensors and cameras, and running a few scripts.

TriggerLinc by Smarthome

TriggerLinc by Smarthome

I started thinking, what if the house knew when I got home, and if it was after a certain time, say9PM when we got home, it would assume we had a sleeping child with us, and would react differently.  Say, dimly light a path to the child’s room, and turn those lights on just enough to allow you to get them to bed without waking them up.
So I set out to make this happen.

I started with a simple contact closure.  I used the TriggerLinc by SmartHome.  This was set up at the front door.  Then came the more complex part.
First, I set a trigger for when the door is opened.  The problem is I only  want to recognize that the door is open when the house is set to “Away” mode.  This took a little bit of maneuvering.  Next I set up a variable in my list of variables to set to true when it is anytime after 9PM.  Then, I wrote a custom applescript to finish the deal.
So what happens is this, when the front  door is opened, the system checks to see if the home is in “Away” mode.  If it is, it then checks to see if it is after 9PM.  If it is in away mode and after 9pm, it lights the path to the child’s bedroom, so my wife and I can put them to bed.  If it is before 9pm, the home simply goes into home mode as it normally would.  It greets me with a greeting, turns on several of our main lights in the home, changes the house into “Home” mode, adjusts the thermostat and several other things.
So far we have been really happy with our newest little addition to the home automation system.  It sure makes it easier to get the little ones down to bed without waking them!  I am sure there are millions of people out there that have gone through the same scenario and could benefit from this system.  There are probably hundreds of other cool uses for this type of configuration.
If you would like more information or a copy of the applescript, just email me.  I hope you enjoyed this post, as I have enjoyed creating it.  Thanks again for reading, and don’t forget to check out our website at and follow us on Twitter at

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