How Working Parents Can Use Technology To Monitor Their Child
ParentCircle brings to you a series of articles on the Do’s and Don’ts of using technology to monitor your child. In this first part, we discuss monitoring infants using a baby monitor.
By Dr Meghna Singhal • 5 min read
As an expecting parent, you have probably made extensive lists for what you need for your baby. Diapers, blankets, and baby clothes probably figure on top of your list.
Have you given a thought about whether or not to buy a baby monitor?
Some of your friends swear by their monitor, saying that it helped give them sanity. Whereas others said it was not at all necessary. How can you know if it’ll be helpful for you?
There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to baby monitors. The decision to invest in a baby monitor depends on a number of factors. Below we list a few questions you can consider to help you decide if you and your partner require one:
1. How big is your home?
If your apartment is small, you will be able to hear every time your child whimpers or cries. But if you reside in a big house, or in an otherwise noisy locality, where you’re likely to miss your baby’s calls for attention, it makes sense to get a monitor.
2. What will you be doing when your baby naps?
If your baby sleeps in the same room as you, you probably don’t need a monitor. But if you’d like to keep tabs on your baby’s cries while you’re taking calls or working from another room, a monitor might be just the thing you need.
3. What else could you use a monitor for?
A monitor is useful to give you a breather (read: not obsessing about whether it was your baby’s cries you heard while showering or a dog’s bark!) in many situations:
- You could use it while running errands during your baby’s sleep (e.g., taking your dog out for a walk, working in the garden, working in the kitchen)
- You could use the monitor if your baby is a light sleeper and regularly checking in on him causes him disturbance
- You could use it during naptime if you want to take your older child outside in your garden or balcony
- You could continue to use it when your baby grows up and enters toddlerhood, to supervise him during independent playtime for brief periods of time
- You could also use the monitor when you’re in a new place travelling.
If you do decide to get a monitor, there is a wide range to choose from.
What kind of baby monitor would you choose?
- Based on your requirements, you could pick an audio-only monitor. You could choose to get one with a light-up sound indicator, to visually monitor the noise level. Just looking at the lights can help you know how loud your baby is, while you’re working from home.
- You could also choose from a wide variety of camera monitors. A camera monitor with a night vision feature helps you see your baby clearly at night without switching on the night and risking waking him.
- Some camera monitors can connect to WiFi and can be used to provide live feed to your smartphone. This feature is appreciated by working parents who leave their baby in care of a family member or nanny at home (or to ensure things are going smoothly at home while they enjoy a well-deserved date night).
- You could choose to get a monitor that can send and receive audio, much like a walkie-talkie. You can use it to calm your baby with your soothing voice.
- Some monitors also come with a music option, which you can turn on to soothe your baby back to sleep, and some have a temperature alarm, so if your baby (or toddler) goes out of range you’ll be alerted.
When you get a baby monitor, there are a few things you should keep in mind while putting it to use:
- Use it to monitor your baby fussing or crying in his crib
- Choose a model with strong security features. Since video monitors don’t encrypt their signals, others can peek into your baby’s room
- Continue to use the monitor beyond six months of age, if your child has certain sleep problems or illnesses that may need longer or interim monitoring
- Be fooled into believing that movement monitors (ones that are motion-sensitive) can prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Research has shown no evidence of their efficacy in preventing SIDS and they are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) either
- Keep the monitor too close to the baby’s crib, lest your baby nibbles on its cord or worse, accidentally wraps it around her neck (sounds strange- and scary- but this has happened!)
- Go rushing to check on your baby every time he makes a sound at night, especially after six months of age. This might not only disturb him, but reinforce the brief, normal night wakings, making it harder for him to learn to sleep through the night
- Use the monitor to replace caregiver supervision.
Using a baby monitor to check in on your baby can offer reassurance and help getting things done while your little bundle of joy naps away. However, since every family is different, you need to decide on whether a monitor is a necessity for your family or a luxury.
In a nutshell
- The decision to buy a baby monitor rests on a number of considerations, including how big your house is, what you’ll be doing during baby’s nap times, and what else you could use a baby monitor for.
- There are many different kinds of baby monitors to choose from, depending on your requirements.
What you can do right away
- Reflect on whether or not to invest in a baby monitor, based on your home, habits, and requirements.
- If you decide to get a baby monitor, seek recommendations from family and friends who may have used one. Explore baby shops, online stores, and even social media mom groups to see who might be selling a second-hand monitor.
About the author:
Written by Meghna Singhal, PhD. on February 15, 2021.
Dr. Singhal is a clinical psychologist and Parenting Coach at ParentCircle. She has a doctorate degree in clinical psychology from NIMHANS (Bangalore) and holds a post-doctorate in parenting from the University of Queensland (Australia).
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