This post was sponsored by Amazon as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
As a parent of two grade schoolers, I always find that I have a lot to say about screen time.
Of course it was easier when the kids were younger and it wasn’t an option, but those days are now long behind us. In truth, they use screens at school and they use screens at home, and a lot of it is for learning, homework, and discovering more about the world around them. I’ve come to love that screens ARE in our lives, but we can use screen time as yet another teaching opportunity. We can come to agreements about limits and expectations, and we can use screen time for good! We got a Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet in 2018 and we’ve loved discovering all it can do. And I can’t help but love the many different conversations that have come about concerning screen time. It’s a wonderful time of parenting – 1st and 4th grade!
First, let’s talk about the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet and what it can do! It’s the #1 kids’ tablet in the U.S. and we love its kid-proof case. And it comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee. If they break it, which TOTALLY happens, you can simply return it and Amazon will send a replacement for free – no questions asked. We also love the educational and entertaining content that kids love, as well as the one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited – that Fire Kids Edition comes with! That provides access to over 20,000 books, videos, Audible books, educational apps, and games.
They are all age-appropriate and hand-curated by the Amazon FreeTime team.
My kids have access to over 1,000 age-appropriate, Spanish language books, videos, educational apps, games, and Audible books, plus thousands of kid-friendly and hand-curated websites and web videos. And we can’t forget the peace of mind that parents have with the Parental Control settings in FreeTime. We’ll talk more about that soon because it’s awesome!
5 Smart Ways to Manage Screen Time For Kids:
1 – Before even discovering the Parent Dashboard and the Parental Control settings in FreeTime, you can also monitor screen time physically. By this I mean to keep smart devices in central locations. It might be worth it to set up a docking station in a corner of the kitchen or living room and near a charger. Then your child won’t be tempted in their bedrooms.
2 – Use the Parental Control settings in FreeTime! There, parents can set time limits, adjust age filters, enable and disable web browser access, and choose whether to allow in-app purchasing or not. We can also use the Parent Dashboard to review the digital content our kids are using in FreeTime, determine how to manage time limits and educational goals, and remotely adjust their Amazon Freetime settings. No doubt they have a lot of 2019 goals to use the Fire Kids Edition to keep and maintain reading lists, to learn new skills in academic areas, and to do STEM projects.
3 – Create a reward system that rewards the whole family. This will vary with families but in our house it’s chores before screen time. And it’s piano and reading before screen time. Generally Scarlet doesn’t have homework (I know.. I know.. but her teachers don’t see the benefits) but Des does. When the kids come home, they’re hungry and tired. I let them have a snack and do about 20 minutes (Scarlet) and 10 minutes (Des) of screen time before they start homework, piano practice, and reading. They earn more screen time by doing chores, and can also lose screen time too. This has worked well for 2019.
4 – Make it a family thing. We all have our own screens, and we all LOVE our own screens. That said, it can be lonely if everyone is on a different one. That’s why I love when the kids watch a kid-friendly movie or game or app and do it together. And I love when they invite us to participate as well. Scarlet loves Toca Lab – FreeTime Unlimited Edition, Little Piano – FreeTime Unlimited Edition, and Squeebles Spelling Test – FreeTime Unlimited Edition. Des loves Geography Drive USA – FreeTime Unlimited Edition, Lightbot: Programming Puzzles, and Operation Math – FreeTime Unlimited Edition (for ages 6-8).
5 – Be a good example yourself and keep tech-free items visible as well. We love our screens, as you know, and we also love our crafts, board games, puzzles, art supplies, and more. Also, I LOVE to read. Since my kids were born, I’m often with a book in my hands. Devices are important for our lifestyles, but knowing you can put them away for the night is good too!
I love all of the learning things my kids do on the Fire Kids Edition, and I love the ability to monitor and manage their screen time. I like that we’re all learning this new domain together, and that we have goals for screen time limits. Some of my favorite features of the Parental Control settings in FreeTime are the weekday and weekend settings, the way we can set a bedtime for when FreeTime shuts down for the day and turns on the next morning, and blocking access to entertainment content until educational goals are met.
The Parent Dashboard Browser is a mobile optimized website. It provides daily activity reports to help parents review the digital content their kids are using in FreeTime and determine how to manage time limits and educational goals, and can be used to adjust FreeTime settings remotely. And it’s now available in Spanish. There is so much to explore and love!
Check out more about the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet, Amazon FreeTime, and the Parent Dashboard!
How do you manage screen time for kids?