If you’re a new or expecting parent, odds are you’ve been thinking a lot about what tools you’ll need to successfully raise your child with as few headaches as possible—though some headaches are inevitable.
If this is a feature you’re curious about, read on, because we’ll be taking a close look at two-way baby monitors today, and what they can offer you and your child.
Here’s If Baby Monitors Work Both Way:
Baby monitors are usually designed to work one way only: from the parent unit to the baby unit (or vice versa). The parent unit is usually placed in the room with the parent while they sleep; it has a speaker and microphone so that they can hear their baby crying, and an LCD screen to see.
Can You Talk to Your Baby Through a Baby Monitor?
It depends! Depends on which baby monitor, that is. Two-way baby monitors are definitely out there, and it’s a feature that’s growing in popularity, but not every monitor has it.
Simpler, radio-based, audio-only monitors that used to be the standard (and still exist as an option) will generally not have any two-way talk features, though there may be some exceptions.
Video-based baby monitors, especially models that use Wi-Fi for communication, very often have two-way functionality, meaning you’ll be able to broadcast your own voice and let your baby see your face on camera while you see and hear them at the same time, like a video call.
That being said, not every high-tech video monitor will have two-way features, and some old-fashioned radio devices may feature the option.
All this to say: there are exceptions to every broad rule, and the best way to find out is to look for “two-way communication” as a feature on any model you’re considering purchasing.
Further, the exact method of two-way communication can differ from one model to another.
An audio-only monitor with this feature will act as a walkie-talkie, letting you hear your baby and your baby hear you, but no more.
A video-based monitor with this function will be more like face-timing someone, provided the monitor has a screen; some models may only feature a screen on the receiver, meaning you can see and talk to your baby, but they can only hear you, not see your face.
In short, each brand and model with two-way communication may go about it differently, so read the fine print and make sure your monitor does exactly what you want it to before you make your decision.
Read our blog here about do baby monitors need wi-fi to work?
How Do Babies React to Baby Monitors Talking?
One study suggests that infants as young as 3-5 months may know the difference between a video chat and TV.
While it’s no substitute for in-person interaction, your child will likely respond positively to seeing your face and hearing your voice, even through an electronic device.
Many parents with two-way monitors like to use them to calm their baby down when they wake up in the middle of the night, without having to actually get out of bed and go to their baby’s bedroom.
If you’re using an internet-based monitor (Wi-Fi connectivity is fairly common for baby monitors these days), such a feature can even be used to allow your baby to meet relatives who live far away, before they’re able to come to meet in person.
It probably won’t mean much to a newborn right away, but as soon as your baby is at least 3-5 months old, there’s a good chance they’ll have formed enough impressions about how the world around them works.
To figure out that the person on the screen is actually talking to them, unlike a character on a TV screen.
This means that once they’re a few months of age, they might recognize their parents talking to them through the monitor in the middle of the night, or even recognize their grandparents the first time they meet them in person because they’d seen them on the baby monitor before.
Of course, it’s difficult to say exactly what babies do and don’t understand for sure, and every child is an individual who grows and learns in different ways and at different rates.
Furthermore, a lot of the understandings babies build in the early months are done without the ability to speak, so it’s hard for us to know exactly what they’re thinking.
But they are thinking, learning, and forming conclusions about the world around them.
So while we can’t say for certain, there is evidence to support that your baby may be cleverer than you might think when it comes to understanding what a face on a screen or a disembodied voice actually mean.
And if nothing else, whether they “get it” or just think it’s more TV, the use of a two-way monitor does help many parents calm their anxious children down when they’re unable to be there in person, or in the middle of the night when they’d rather not get out of bed unless they have to.
Are Vtech Baby Monitors Two-Way?
Vtech makes a variety of baby monitors, and while we have not reviewed the functionality of every single model they sell, it is clear that many of them, if not all, do feature two-way communication.
It is worth noting that we were unable to find any Vtech baby monitors which allow two-way video communication.
That is to say, Vtech offers many video baby monitors with two-way audio, but the monitor itself has no screen, so while you can see and hear your baby, they can only hear you.
This isn’t to say this is a bad thing, however, as depending on your specific needs as a parent, you might want two-way video, or two-way audio may be enough, or even no two-way features at all if you’re not living in a situation where they’re necessary or terribly helpful.
Vtech offers audio-only monitors, Wi-Fi video monitors, and non-Wi-Fi video monitors, and most of the video monitors also feature two-way audio.
So unless you’re specifically looking for two-way video communication with your baby, Vtech should have a model that suits your particular needs.
5 baby Monitors that Work Both Ways
With all this in mind, if 2-way features in baby monitors interest you, you may be wondering what the best options are when it comes to choosing a monitor with this feature.
As such, take a look at this handy bulleted list showcasing some of the best 2-way monitors. As a disclaimer, we got all these picks from this great blog post, so go check it out for even more products and information!
- Hiseeu Baby Camera Monitor: A non-Wi-Fi model with an impressive 900 ft coverage range for its wireless video receiver, and of course two-way audio!
- Ifamily Large Display Video Baby Monitor: This model features multi-camera expandability and a 960 ft range! In addition to two-way audio, it also offers a pre-recorded lullaby feature to help soothe your child when needed.
- HelloBaby Camera Baby Monitor: This non-Wi-Fi monitor features extra security features like frequency-hopping to make it practically un-hackable. And of course, two-way audio features are included.
- Kidsneed Video Baby Monitor: This model features remotely-controllable camera angles and night vision, along with two-way audio and more!
- Vtimes Video Baby Monitor: In addition to two-way talk and other features, this monitor has a temperature sensor that warns you if your baby’s environment becomes too hot or too cold for them.
It’s worth noting that all of the monitors on this list are non-Wi-Fi options. Naturally, Wi-Fi baby monitors with two-way talk also exist, but a lot of parents are looking for alternatives to these because Wi-Fi monitors are so easy to hack.
If you really want the longer range and convenience of a Wi-Fi monitor, there are plenty of options in that domain as well, just be sure to follow some basic internet security guidelines, and check out our other article on how hackable Wi-Fi monitors are, and what you can do about it.
Check out this other blog about how do wi-fi baby monitors work?