Recently, I’ve set up my old model iPad to play music for our infant son. He loves it! Although he’ll be relatively immobile for months to come, I’m already thinking about how to eventually set it up for his play. I’m not advocating parents stick their kid in front of screens for long stretches of time, but if you can use technology to make some aspects of parenting easier (like playing music for your music-loving son while you take a shower), then I’m all for it. What follows are five ideas or considerations for setting up your iPad for kids.
Go to Settings > General > Restrictions. Here, you can get incredibly specific about what your kiddo can and cannot do with this device. You can turn on/off in-app purchases, allow or not allow them to access the web browsers like Safari, and set rating limits for TV and movies (such as only G or PG movies allowed). You can also make sure your child’s privacy remains protected by disallowing location sharing.
Discover YouTube Kids
I played Hakuna Matata via YouTube for our son the other day. While the first search result was ideal, there were several skits on the first page that looked less than child-friendly. This is when I learned about YouTube Kids for “curious little minds.” It’s a family-friendly filtered version of YouTube that will help ensure your children find appropriate material.
Use Apps to Set a Schedule
There are several applications, such as ParentKit, that allow you to set a schedule for your child’s iPad. So, for example, you can allow the iPad to only be used between 8am and 8pm. That way you know your little one isn’t up and playing in the middle of the night.
Set Up Family Sharing/Syncing
Use the iCloud or your own homegrown system to automatically sync the device and share music, photos, etc. Doing so will allow you to regularly check to ensure the iPad still hosts only appropriate content.
Consider Kid-Friendly iPad Covers
There are some great iPad covers and cases for kids! Kid-friendly cases are often durable, waterproof, and some even stand on their own.