Keeping kids safe is most parents’ number one priority. Home surveillance systems can help you do that and much more. I recently received a Panasonic Home Surveillance System with two cameras. My husband and I quickly discovered several non-traditional ways it can help us keep an extra eye on our kids. Here are our top five tips.

5 Ways to Use Home Surveillance Systems to Monitor Your Kids

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This is a partial screenshot via the Panasonic Home Network phone app. Photo credit: Lorraine Robertson / Marathon TravelingMom

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always keep our eyes on our children? While many kids believe that moms have eyes in the back of their heads – I did when I was growing up – we know it’s impossible to watch their every move. Since my babies have swiftly transitioned into teenland they’re independence is expanding – often outside of my sight. As a former latch-key kid, I’m far from a helicopter mom and believe that age-appropriate freedom and privacy is important to help my kids grow into healthy, responsible people; however, I must admit taking advantage of today’s technology has it’s benefits. It’s like having that second set of eyes.

Photo credit: Lorraine Robertson / Marathon TMOM

Photo credit: Lorraine Robertson / Marathon TravelingMom

Whether you’re traveling, at work, or out of the house on your morning run, home surveillance systems can provide protection and peace of mind beyond serving as a traditional security system. I was thrilled when I received Panasonic’s new Home Monitoring System to review. My 13-year-old son? Not so much. As my husband and I quickly set up the two-camera system, we realized how it can easily be utilized to help us monitor our kids – and save our sanity. The remote app on our mobile phones allows us to control the system anywhere, and see and hear everything. This just might be a mom’s new best friend.

Here are five ways that work for us when we’re traveling or at home.

1. Seeing them Home from School

While someone is normally home when my kids get off the school bus, having this system has been a huge relief when they do have to let themselves into an empty house. Being able to see them safe and sound, and get a quick update on their, day is great. It’s also nice to make sure they didn’t bring home any extra friends they didn’t ask permission to have in the house. Yup, I remember my middle school days and I’m glad my parents didn’t have this when I was a teenager.

2. Monitoring the Morning Routine

Right after we received the system, we found ourselves in a situation where my kids had to get up and off to school by themselves. My husband was on a business trip and I was leaving early that morning to go on a trip, too. I was able to wake them up and kiss them goodbye as I dashed out the door to the airport, but I couldn’t stay to be their personal snooze button or make sure they had breakfast before the bus. Without the home monitoring system, I probably would’ve called in backup – a family member to see them off to school – but having the camera with the interactive capability to see, hear and talk to them clearly made that unnecessary. With the system, I was able to watch them step up and handle the responsibility, tell them I was proud of them, and also remind them to close the garage door when they left. They also felt more comfortable knowing that I could see and hear everything, too. If only they could only be so self-sufficient when I’m actually there.

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A picture taken with the Panasonic Home Network app on my phone of my daughter reading. Photo credit: Lorraine Robertson / Marathon TravelingMom

3. The Homework Hustle

I have one child who loves to do homework and one who would rather watch paint dry. I can admit to falling for the homework hustle when I’ve been really busy and homework is happening in another room.

“How’s it going?”

“Mom, I’m already on the second page of my science study guide.”

Right. Did I mention the cameras can be mounted or can simply sit on a shelf and be easily moved to different locations? Now I can keep an eye on homework – from anywhere. Homework time just got a lot less stressful.

4. Checking on Chores

If I had a dollar for every time my kids swore they were cleaning their room – but were doing everything except that – I would be a very wealthy woman. Sure, I’d like to tell you that my kids do everything they’re supposed to all the time, but that’s just not true. My kids are awesome kids, but they’re kids. And, like most kids – especially at the middle school age – they try to push limits and test boundaries. They have consequences for not doing their chores – and sometimes I let them meet those consequences without stepping in – but other times I need things done when I ask for it. Pointing the camera toward their rooms during chore time is a big help in keeping them on task. It’s also a motivator. They love the cameras for safety reasons, but not when they’re trying to get one over on us. If they do what they’re supposed to do, then we move the cameras.

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My husband saved this picture after catching my son on his phone after hours. Photo credit: Lorraine Robertson / Marathon TravelingMom

5. Middle-of-the-Night Technology Busts

Oh, yes, this system is fantastic for seeing your teenager trying to get one over on you when they’re supposed to be in bed sleeping – not socializing on Snapchat in the TV room. Yup, we use it not only to keep the kids safe from outside threats but to save them from themselves, too. It’s a scientific fact that teen brains are not fully developed, therefore they’re not capable of always making the best choices. While my son swears he can function fine on four hours of sleep, Mama knows better. The night vision on this camera is clear and capable of showing us any unauthorized use of hidden electronics. The motion sensors can also alert us if he’s up sneaking into the kitchen for a late-night snack.