Use technology to get into a new back-to-school routine

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(BPT) - Heading back to school is an exciting time for students, but after over a year of being flexible with home, hybrid and in-person study, your family might feel a bit overwhelmed at the idea of having an everyday routine again. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help your crew have positive and productive school days — whether they happen at home or in the classroom.

Commissioned by Amazon Devices and conducted by OnePoll, a study found nearly two in three families (63%) have lost any sense of a morning routine during the pandemic. However, more than a third of all parents (33%) agree technology can be a helpful tool for morning routines.

“Introducing small changes and helpful tools, like technology, to everyday routines will help families start the school year strong and stay on track for months to come,” said Kunal Patel, Head of Product, Alexa Proactive & Routines. “Everyone deserves a little time back in their day, so start planning now to establish an efficient routine in your own home before the back-to-school pandemonium begins!”

The technology tools you have in your home can help make the transition back to the classroom go smoothly and start your day on the right foot if learning from home. Consider these tips and tricks for using Amazon Devices, Amazon Kids+ and Alexa to help your family create an A+ routine.

1. Customize a morning routine

Customize a morning routine that will get your kids’ days off to a good start with an Alexa Routine. Routines are shortcuts for Alexa that group together actions so you don’t have to ask for each one individually. Designed to make your day easier, Routines consist of a single trigger (such as a voice command, alarm, a scheduled time, geolocation and more) and are followed by actions. For example, kids can choose to be woken up by their favorite Disney character on Echo Dot Kids Edition, have the lights slowly turn on with Philips Hue Smart Bulbs and get reminded it’s time to brush their teeth.

Routines are useful for the whole family. Parents can choose a featured routine that is ready to go, such as the “Start My Day Routine.” Alexa will update you about the weather and traffic (perfect for the back-to-school carpool) and then brief you on your day's activities.

2. Use reminders to never miss a beat

Struggling to remember everything during the back-to-school season? Alexa Reminders can keep you on task and remind you of all the important things this fall and beyond. Just tell your device what you need to remember and you'll get a reminder to help keep you organized. Some examples include:

  • "Alexa, remind me to pick up the kids from school every weekday at 3 p.m."
  • "Alexa, remind Josh he has soccer practice every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m."
  • "Alexa, remind me to check on Annie’s virtual schooling at 11 a.m."

3. Make memorable announcements

Get the whole family out the door (or out of bed and at their virtual school desks at home) with an Alexa announcement with sound effects. With multiple Echo devices around the house, you can announce that it’s time to get to school, just like a modern-day intercom. You can also use the Alexa app to make announcements on-the-go and add fun sound effects including a kiss or dinner bell. Just imagine "It's time to learn!" announced promptly at 8 a.m. followed by your favorite sound effect to catch your kids' attention.

4. Learn beyond the school day

Learn new skills, play educational games or take a study break by saying, “Alexa, help me with school.” You can also access tons of educational content from National Geographic, Rabbids Coding, LEGO and more via Amazon Kids+ with the Fire HD 10 Kids tablet (for ages 3-7) or Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet (ages 6-12). The tablets come with a Learn First feature that allows parents to block access to games and cartoons until after educational goals are met.

5. Remember to practice reading before bed

Set a reminder to practice reading before bedtime in order to keep up the good summer reading habits into the school year. Reading Sidekick is a helpful feature that helps kids grow into confident readers by taking turns reading with Alexa on Echo Dot Kids Edition or another Echo device with Amazon Kids enabled (requires Amazon Kids+ subscription).

6. Set up privacy for kids' devices

Alexa and Echo devices feature multiple ways to manage privacy protection from microphone controls to the ability to view and delete your voice recordings, so parents can feel in control. Once Amazon Kids is enabled, Alexa will give kid-friendly responses, filter songs with explicit lyrics and give you access to the Amazon Parent Dashboard where easy-to-use parental controls let you review kids' activity and set time limits at no extra charge.

Discover more of what Alexa and Amazon Devices can do for you at amazon.com/top-alexa-picks.