This fall, millions of teachers, students, and families are beginning what will undoubtedly be the least traditional back-to-school moment they've experienced. Parents have to find new ways to balance their work, virtual learning for their children, mental load, and the other things that keep the household running.
In a recently conducted survey by Amazon asking parents how they are feeling about their kids' learning and the upcoming school year, it wasn't, unfortunately, surprising to hear that of their energy level heading into the new school year, 44% of parents said “my gas tank is about half-full." About the same number of parents (45%) say they've been working non-stop, juggling family and work needs and 6 in 10 (59%) say they've become their children's primary teacher. This feedback has inspired new Alexa features that may make families' lives a little easier.
Whether your kids are starting off remote learning, going back in person, or a combination of both, technology can help keep you all on track during this hectic time of year. Below are a few ways your family can use Amazon Devices to stay a little more organized this school year.
Build a school schedule with Alexa Blueprints
It’s challenging at times to stay on-schedule while kids are not in their usual classroom environment. The new Alexa School Schedule Blueprint can help your student stay on track and setup is easy! Simply visit the Alexa Blueprints website and open up the School Schedule Blueprint template. You can easily build out your child's weekly class schedule, which also includes Alexa reminders for each class or school activity—such as math class, creative writing, or outdoor “recess” breaks. Now, whenever parents need to know their child’s schedule for the day, just ask, “Alexa, open school schedule.”
"Alexa, enable the focus time Routine"
Sometimes your household may need a little assistance managing its time and Alexa Routines are the perfect helper. With the featured Focus Time Routine, say “Alexa, start focus time" and Alexa will keep a study session on track by playing 30 minutes of focus music. If you have a budding musician in the house, the featured Practice Time Routine is also useful. At the same time each week day, Alexa can remind you when it's time to play your instrument. Parents can head to the Routines section of the Alexa app to enable these featured Alexa Routines.
Curbing at-home distractions
Students will love the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet, and you'll love having parental controls to help find a balance between education and entertainment. With the Amazon Parent Dashboard, parents can set daily goals for educational content and block access to entertainment content until after those goals are met, set screen time limits, and turn on a bedtime for devices to shut down each night. With the included one-year of Amazon Kids+, you'll have peace-of-mind that all of the thousands of books, movies, TV shows, and games are age-appropriate.
"Alexa, are there updates from the school?"
You can now ask Alexa for school updates. Just enable the Alexa skill that matches the learning platform your school uses: Canvas, Infinite Campus, Coursera, ParentSquare, and Kickboard. Parents and students 13 and older can ask, "Alexa, do I have any homework?" and get updates on upcoming homework due from a connected education app. Parents can also opt-in for a Reminder, and Alexa will remind your kids (and you) the day before the assignment is due.
"Alexa, print a math worksheet"
When asked to look ahead to the new school year, more than two-third of parents (68%) say they are even more concerned about supplementing learning at home. With the Jumpstart Alexa Skill and a wireless printer, you can ask Alexa to print math, vocabulary, science, and writing worksheets, coloring sheets, and more.
"Alexa, announce it's time for a study break"
Many kids are missing their friends right now. With Alexa and the kid-to-kid communications feature, you can find ways to stay connected with school friends, virtually. Kids can call and message approved contacts with Echo devices that have Amazon Kids enabled—perfect for also staying in-touch with family you aren't able to see in person right now. Plus, you can use Drop In to check on Amazon Kids-enabled Echo devices while your child is doing homework in their room and use Announcements so everyone knows it's time for dinner.
Work hard, unwind harder
After a busy day, it's a great opportunity for the family to unwind and enjoy watching new movies and shows together on Fire TV. You can say, “Alexa, show me family movies" and she'll share a number of family-friendly picks. On Fire TV, kids of all ages can also watch their favorite shows like Paw Patrol, LEGO City, and Wallace & Gromit, and Amazon Kids+ also has plenty of content kids will love like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Sesame Street.
Keep up with their love of reading
If your child is an avid reader or just starting to explore new books, the Kindle Kids Edition is a great companion. From timeless classics to the latest series, Amazon Kids+, included for one year with every Kids Edition device, gives access to age-appropriate books and audiobooks, all distraction-free—readers can even log their reading hours.
Engine Insights conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,000 U.S. parents with children ages 5-12 about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their attitudes regarding parenting and the new school year. The survey was conducted online on July 23-28, 2020 and included a representative U.S. sample of families, taking into account parents and children’s ages, parents’ gender, geography, race and education.