Tech Tuesday: How I use Siri for discipline

I’ve been an iPhone owner for about two months now and have been enjoying the ability to dictate a text while I’m driving — or simply too lazy to type. People make all kinds of fun of Siri, but I think she’s splendid.

I want to share a few truly useful scenarios and would love if you share yours.

1. Time Out. You don’t have to believe in time out as a discipline tool; I’m not even sure I do, but occasionally it happens that I banish one of my kids from the room for a certain number of minutes. So as not to lose track of time, I say to Siri, “Remind me to get Scarlett out of time out in 4 minutes.”

iphone siri screenshot

2. More reminding. It’s unlikely I’d totally forget about a kid sitting alone in his or her room, but it’s quite likely I’ll forget any number of other tasks or calendar events. I find it quite handy to dictate dates to Siri verbally. I say, “Remind me to buy Teacher Bill a birthday card.” Even though what she hears may be “Buy teacher belletristic card”, it’s close enough. She then invites me to tell her when I would like to be reminded, and it gets saved on my calendar.

3. Parking Meter. For a law-abiding citizen, I have a terrible track record with parking tickets. It’s truly embarrassing to confess how many I’ve had in the past six months.  Something that’s helping me keep my car from overstaying its welcome on the street is to tell Siri, “Set a timer for 42 minutes” or whatever length of time I’ve paid on the meter. You can use this timer technique to let a baby cry for a few minutes before they fall asleep, without going crazy wondering if it’s been three minutes or 15 minutes.

4. Opening an app that I can’t find. Much of the time I can’t be bothered to look for the app I want. I’m not good at recognizing the icons, so I might go back and forth between pages a few times before I notice it. A solution is to just tell Siri, “Launch ‘Map My Run'”. Simply say “Launch” and the name of the app to make it open.

5. Even more reminders. Heather impressed me with her smart use of iPhone reminders that can be location based. When she was pumping for Sawyer, she had instructed her phone to remind her to pump when she got home. The phone knows what “getting home” means in terms of GPS, so it can remind you to make a phone call, switch the laundry, put your library books near the door. Alternatively, if you are forgetful about getting gas, when you notice your tank is low, tell her to remind you to get gas when you leave the house.