Amazon is offering the $70 Echo Dot Kid’s Edition with built-in parental controls. But you can turn any Amazon Echo into a «Kid’s Edition» model and get the same kid-friendly features for your kids.

Kids learn technology as fast as they grow up.

Alexa is great for answering questions, playing music, controlling your smart home, and telling random, groan-worthy jokes. Once your kids can express themselves well enough, they will start using Echo in a very short time — maybe even faster than you!

Your little one can ask for Echo in their room, but that creates problems. You’ll want to control what they can hear, what music they can play, and when they can use their echo. Clear and present limits and moderation are the cornerstones of parenting, and technology is no exception. Amazon saw this need (and, to be honest, such a business opportunity) and introduced the Echo Kid’s Edition.

Amazon Parental Dashboard

This echo has parental controls that include time and content restrictions. With the Amazon Parent Panel, you can prevent Echo from being used before bed or early in the day. You can set age limits for content and revoke access to SmartHome.

Children’s edition costs extra

But the Echo Kid’s Edition is $70, not $50 for the standard Echo Dot. That extra $20 gets you a case and a year’s subscription to FreeTime Unlimited, which offers ad-free radio and hundreds of children’s books. If you have a tablet, you will also have access to movies and series suitable for children. After that free year, FreeTime Unlimited costs $2.99 ​​per month.

If you don’t want to use FreeTime Unlimited then you pay $20 per case. Echo dots are not devices that you take with you or even take with you for any reason. You don’t need a protective case, but if you want one, you can get a colorful case for about $9. Unfortunately, the Echo Kid’s Edition also looks like a second generation Echo, so you’re even paying extra for older technology.

You can often buy a Kid’s Edition with two for one deal — you’ll still spend $70, but at least you’ll get two units, making each one cheaper than the current Echo Dot. Again, Amazon sometimes sells the Echo Dot for $20 or $30.

If you already have a spare Echo or want to save a few bucks, consider converting your stock Echo to a Kid’s Edition model. Best of all, this will work with a full-sized Echo; it doesn’t have to be a dot. If your kids love music, you can give them the best sound out of the box without the need for additional speakers.

How to Convert an Existing Echo to a Children’s Edition

Open the Alexa app and click «Devices» in the bottom right corner.

Alexa app with an arrow pointing to the Devices option

Click «Echo and Alexa».

Alexa app with arrow pointing to Echo & Alexa

Highlight the echo you want to convert and click on its name.

Alexa app with border around "Kiddo" echo entry

Scroll down to find «FreeTime» and tap it.

Alexa app with border around

Click the toggle to the right of Disabled.

Freetime screen for Alexa app with toggle disabled

Click «Amazon FreeTime Setup» at the bottom of the screen.

FreeTime screen with border around Amazon FreeTime setting

If you don’t already have a child set up for free time, you’ll be prompted to add one. Enter a name, gender, date of birth, select an icon, and click Add Child.

Alexa Add child dialog with fields around name, gender, date of birth, icon and

If you need to add more children, click «Add child» and repeat the procedure. When all are added, click Continue.

Alexa permissions screen with a border around the Continue button

Log in to your Amazon account, enter the text verification code, read the parental consent text, then click I agree.

Scroll through the list of options and turn off any features that your child shouldn’t have access to either, tap Continue at the bottom of the list.

Freetime screen with boxes around radio buttons and a Continue button

If you want to try the free trial of FreeTime, click «Start Free Trial for 1 Month», otherwise click «Cancel».

Freetime unlimited offer screen with borders around Start free trial for 1 month and cancel options

Click the «X» in the top right corner to close the intro video.

You can change the time and age limits in the app, but it’s easier to go to the Amazon Parent Dashboard instead.

Once you’re signed in, click on the option you’d like to change, such as Set Daily Time Limits.

Then configure the relevant settings. In the case of time limits, you can turn the limits on and off, as well as set the time at which the echo turns off and when it turns back on. You can even customize settings for weekends and days of the week.

Once you’ve set everything up to suit your preferences, it’s time to surprise your child with your new Echo. If you decide you want FreeTime Unlimited, you can always subscribe to it later.

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