If your family is on a first-name basis with Alexa, the Amazon Echo Dot Kids might be just what your kids need.

Over the last few years, homes all over the country and world have added another member to their family. And it’s the same new family member in every single household. Alexa, the voice and brains behind Amazon’s line of smart home tech, has made herself right at home and has turned into an integral part of our day-to-day lives. She sets our reminders, knows our favorite songs and playlists, makes sure our shopping lists are up-to-date, and saves our butts when the kids ask a tough question that we don’t know the answer to right off the top of our heads. Alexa is so deeply ingrained in our homes that our kids often ask her stuff first, before they even come to us!

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Technology sure has come a long way since the days of dial-up internet, and we’re constantly grateful for all the ways Alexa has made our lives just a little bit easier. And with the holidays just around the corner, we’re thinking of giving our kids the gift of their very own Alexa and getting them an Echo Dot Kids. This smart speaker is designed specifically for Alexa’s young fans, and it has some pretty cool features.

Here’s how to the most out of the youngest member of the Echo Dot family.

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FreeTime with Echo Dot Kids

echo dot kids
Credit: Amazon

One of the best features included with the Echo Dot Kids is FreeTime, or Amazon Kids+ as it’s now called. If you’re thinking of purchasing an Echo Dot for your kid to keep in their room but have concerns about how and when they’ll use it, then FreeTime should help ease some of those concerns for you. FreeTime is the parental control software coded into all of Amazon’s smart home devices, and it helps parents make sure their kids aren’t accessing games at 3 a.m. or asking Alexa how to spell a bad word. And it’s super easy to set up and manage.

Once your Echo Dot Kids is connected to your WiFi network, you can access the FreeTime controls from either the FreeTime app, the Alexa app, or the FreeTime dashboard in Amazon’s Parent Hub. From there, you’ll set up profiles for each of your kids, and you can manage the settings.

With FreeTime, you can set awake and asleep controls so your kids can’t access Alexa at certain time of the day, you can set an explicit language filter so any music your kids play or questions they ask don’t include profanity, and control the messaging and call capabilities with the Drop In and Announce features. You can also set time limits for time-outs if your kids need to take a break.

Bedtime with Echo Dot Kids

echo dot kids
Credit: Amazon

One of the coolest features of this smart tech is the ability to set bedtime and quiet hours on weekdays and weekends. This is particularly handy if your child has their Echo in their bedroom. You can set these limits in the same dashboard in the parent hub, or on the FreeTme or Alexa apps.

Utilize time limits during the day when your kids should be focusing on other things, like homework or when you’re having dinner as a family. And you can start quiet hours at bedtime and set a wake-up time for the next morning during the week. During time limits and quiet time, Alexa will respond to commands by saying something like, “Sorry, I can’t play right now”.

Music and Reading with Echo Dot Kids

Credit: Amazon

When you purchase an Echo Dot Kids, you get instant access to thousands of hours of kid-friendly books on Audible, as well as the Amazon Music library. Your kids can ask Alexa to read a specific story or play a specific song, or they can take a gamble and ask Alexa to read them a story about, say, pirates, or play a genre of music.

With the kid-friendly filters in place, you can rest assured that Alexa will only respond with age-appropriate content for your kids when they utilize these features. If you upgrade to FreeTime Unlimited (the paid subscription model after your first free year), your kids can access more books on Audible, ad-free music, and premium apps.

Play Time with Echo Dot Kids

echo dot kids
Credit: Amazon

The quiet time controls and access to books and music are all well and good. But let’s be honest – your kids will probably spend most of their time asking Alexa to play games and answer silly, random questions. That’s where the real fun comes in! Alexa is equipped to perform hundreds of kid-friendly skills and tasks.

Your kids can play Hide and Seek, the Animal Game (similar to 20 Questions), ask Alexa to call Elmo from Sesame Street, and play games like the SpongeBob Challenge to work on their memory skills. They’ll get a kick out of asking Alexa to fart (yes, that’s a real thing), sing them a song, or ask for a project to do from Bored Kids.

The new Amazon Echo Dot Kids is available for preorder now, and will be released on December 9, 2020. It comes in two kid-friendly versions: tiger and panda. You can also opt for a regular Echo Dot that comes in three simple colors, or the LED version. You can turn any Echo Dot into an Echo Dot Kids with the same controls.

READ NEXT: Amazon’s FreeTime Will Soon Be Amazon Kids & Amazon Kids+

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Sources: Tech HiveThe AmbientAndroid CentralAmazon

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