How Can I Make My iPad Kid Friendly?

What do you need to do to make your iPad kid friendly? Clear off  superfluous apps, and download all the best creative or educational apps for your child. Change the screen saver to something bright and cheerful, then buy a shock-proof iPad mini case (or whatever size is appropriate) to protect against drops, bumps and scratches. Set up parental controls and block dirty content, then choose how much screen time you want to allow your kids.

An iPad can be a great device for kids, but maybe not right out of the box. Here we’ll walk you through everything you want to do before you present your child with their own personal iPad; a kid-friendly device that can help them learn.

Switch Out The Apps

Your child isn’t going to be all that keen on the stock market, and he or she doesn’t need a news app to follow all the wars and riots going on today. But there are lots of apps that are great for your child. One of the first steps in making an iPad kid friendly is to delete or remove the extraneous apps from the home screen, and replace them with apps your child will love.

If you’ve got a preschooler, we recommend Duolingo ABC and Busy Shapes and Colors. For kindergarten or first grade, Pocket Phonics is a great app that will help your child learn to read and write their letters. Another favorite is Khan Academy Kids has math, language arts and more for elementary school kids, and . 

Youtube is a bad idea for kids in general, but Youtube Kids is better, or you could go with a more specialized video app, like PBS Kids Video or Yippee. 

Buy A New Case

A slim iPad case like the Apple Smart Folio is not a good choice for a kids tablet; it just doesn’t have the necessary padding. Better choices are to either go with one of the brightly colored kids iPad covers available on Amazon, or a less color-crazy shockproof option like the ones from Zugu. The best iPad mini 6 case for a child might well be the Zugu, and, as an added benefit, it won’t look horribly out of place if you need to borrow it for the afternoon. That said, some children prefer thick silicon and cartoon shapes for their iPad case. 

Set Up ScreenTime

ScreenTime is Apple’s answer to parental restrictions, safe browsing, and the kind of limitations that keep your child from racking up enormous bills in the App Store. To access it, just go to Settings and to ScreenTime, then browse the options and set it up to fit your child’s needs. 

Screen Time has five different sections: Downtime, App Limits, Communication Limits, Always Allowed, and Content & Privacy Restrictions.  Downtime allows you to choose a time period for which you don’t want your child to be able to use their iPad. This can be for every day, or you can customize days if you prefer to have different downtime for weekends and schooldays. 

Section # 4, Always Allowed, relates directly to Downtime: this is where you choose the apps you want your child to always have access to. This could be Music, if you want your child to be able to access calming bedtime music after lights out. You get to choose any apps from your app list to put on this list. 

In Apps Limits you set time limits on specific apps or categories you want to limit. These time limits reset every day at midnight, so this is a good way to ensure junior doesn’t spend the whole day on the more mindless parts of his iPad. 

Communication Limits provides parental controls for Phone, FaceTime, and Messages. Choose who you want your child to be able to contact during screen time, and who they contact during downtime. You can also turn off contact editing here if you’d like to limit your child to a preset group of contacts.

In Content & Privacy Restrictions you go into the nitty gritty of exactly what your child should or should not see. Are R rated movies okay, or do you want things limited to G? Should books be limited to ‘Clean’, and can Siri speak explicit language?  This is also where you can restrict your child from installing apps or from making in-app purchases.

Once you’ve set everything up exactly the way you want it you’ll want to choose a screen time password and lock it down so that it stays that way. Without that, even a two year old can push enough buttons to override your settings. 

Your Kid-Friendly iPad

Your iPad mini is in a shock-proof iPad mini 6 cover, and you’ve set up all the screen time settings you need to safeguard your little one. You’ve taken off the apps your child doesn’t need, and you’ve added plenty of fun educational apps that will help your child explore the world safely and learn to be creative. Is anything missing? It looks like you’re all set!

iPads and kids go together like marshmallows and chocolate milk, but do be aware that they’re not an end-all meet-all! While there’s nothing wrong with sitting your child down with a tablet you do want to make sure that they have plenty of non-screen time in which to play, discover, and invent. Outdoor exercise is also key to appropriate development, so encourage your child to mix up the tablet time with trips to the park, playtime in the yard, or helping out in the kitchen.

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