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5 IFTTT recipes to help your kids excel when they go back to school

Pencils are being sharpened, backpacks are being filled. But these five IFTTT recipes are sure to get your smart home ready for the best school year yet.

We're back with another handful of tricks to make your home smarter using IFTTT. In case you missed the first part of this series, IFTTT is an app that uses what it calls "recipes" to let your apps and devices take action without you having to lift a finger. After a recipe is activated, it automates your life and your smart home. You can set recipes to trigger based on the location of your kids, the weather, or even the news of the day.

With school just around the corner, here are some ways to help your kids stay safe and get more out of their education.

1. Know when your kids arrive at and leave school -- and when they get home

You can't be everywhere at once, so IFTTT is your eye in the sky. It knows where your kids are even when you don't. Set a recipe that monitors the location of their phones and sends you an email when they get to school and a text when they leave. Know that they got home safely by having a text and photo sent to your email when they get to the front door.

What you'll need:

  • Nest Thermostat
  • Neurio
  • Homeboy

2. Set the right mood -- and temperature -- to study

When it's too cold, according to one study, we make 44% more mistakes than when the temperature is at an optimal 77 degrees. With IFTTT, just press a button to activate the ideal study hall environment. Add some smart lights and Amazon's Alexa to the mix and you've got a recipe for setting the lights just right, too. All it takes are these magic words: "Alexa, trigger study time."

What you'll need:

  • Nest
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Philips Hue

3. Sleep well to excel in school

Your kids can't learn if they're falling asleep at their desks. Two out of three children don't get enough Z's -- or A's! -- and not getting enough rest can contribute to issues with behavior, attention, and learning. IFTTT's got your back. Track what time the kids go to sleep, have the lights turn on automatically when they wake up -- and set them to blink if they've slept too long. You can even set your kids up with a personalized wakeup call and morning weather report.

What you'll need:

  • WeMo Light Switch
  • Fitbit
  • Philips Hue
  • UP by Jawbone

4. Make the inbox another classroom

A good education requires that your children learn outside of school, too, and IFTTT can automatically deliver volumes of knowledge right to their inbox: a weekly vocabulary list of Wikipedia "words of the day," weekly education updates, random Wikipedia articles, even a weekly digest of all science articles from the New York Times. For you savvy parents who use Pocket to save articles your kids should read, these recipes will add articles and send them to your kids automatically: a random How Stuff Works article every day, New York Times articles based on a search term they are studying, and any top science or history story from Time.

What you'll need:

  • Wikipedia
  • Email Digest Channel
  • The New York Times
  • Pocket
  • Date & Time Channel
  • Time

5. Never miss an urgent call from your children after school

If your child has an emergency and is trying to call you, you can't afford to keep your ringer on mute. But you can't keep it turned up all day, either. With this handy recipe from IFTTT, you don't have to remember. When your child leaves school, it automatically turns the volume up for you.

What you'll need:

  • Android phone
  • dondeEsta Family Channel