Gearing up for school or summer vacation for the kids can be a source of stress for some parents. You may be worried about leaving the kids home alone during the workday – but did you know that a smart home system powered by Z-Wave is just the answer to put your mind at ease?

To start, your connected home will allow you to monitor your kids' activities even when you're stuck in the office. If you don't yet have a smart home system,'s Advanced Second Home starter kit is a great way to start keeping tabs on the homestead when they're home and you're not. Included in the kit is Piper's NV Smart Home Security System, a subscription-free video monitoring system with motion detection and alert capabilities that keep you on the ball with who's coming and who's going. It even features two-way audio capabilities, so you can get in touch with your kids instantly, even if they can't pick up the phone.

What's more, smart plugs included in the kit let you limit the use of connected electronics with timers, so if you have a rule about no TV before 4pm, you don't have to worry about being there to enforce it; the TV simply won't turn on.

Most importantly, though, this starter kit provides a foundation you can build upon easily over time. Add some Z-Wave enabled smart locks to your system, and not only will you receive notifications on your mobile device when the kids arrive home (or leave again!), but you'll also eliminate the worry of lost house keys, without having to hide a spare under the welcome mat. You could also add a Z-Wave connected door viewer, empowering your kids to see who's knocking at the front door when you're not home and communicate with them safely without opening the door.

Needless to say, any technology that allows you to keep a watchful eye over your kids when you're not home works just as well in allowing you to peek in on things when the entire family is away on a ski trip or a jaunt down to the beach. In either case, being more connected with your home helps alleviate the anxiety of not being there.