What is Amazon Kids?
Amazon Kids is a system for children that replaced Kindle FreeTime and works across Amazon devices. This is, essentially, a locked down area specifically for them. Using Amazon Kids means you can have “your” adult/parental side of the device fully connected and “their” side safely locked down with only their content.
For Kindle, Amazon Kids lets you setup a child (or number of children) and then assign books to them from your collection. Using Amazon Kids means you’re buying those books on your account and sharing them, rather than buying them through an Amazon account in your child’s name.
From within Amazon Kids, the navigation controls work very much as they do elsewhere, so you can still go home, search, and change some settings, but it’s all behind that safety barrier. There are awards and you have a reading target to encourage children to read regularly.
Progress through books will also be tracked separately from your reading. If you both want to read The Hobbit, for example, your child’s progress will be tracked separately from yours. If you simply used the same account and were reading the same book, it would be constantly trying to sync that book to the furthest read page, which isn’t ideal when two separate people are reading it.
Importantly, unlike locking down a device with parental control settings above, you still have to assign that content to Amazon Kids for your child. This can be done on the device itself or through a browser, so you can easily buy books and assign them to children, but it’s a deliberate action.
Households and Family Library
Family Library is a Kindle feature that lets you share content with family members. It’s a convenient way for you to share or manage the content you have and you only have to buy things once.
To have a Family Library, you need to create a Household. This can consist of two adults, each with their own Amazon account, and up to four children. These child accounts are setup using Amazon Kids.
As a Household can’t accept more than two Amazon accounts (notionally two parents) it is a disadvantage to have a child’s Kindle with its own Amazon account, as that third account can’t be accommodated and you can’t share content through the Family Library. (Of course not all Households will have two parents, or might not have two parents who want to share content.)
However, once you have a Family Library setup, the two adult accounts can manage the content the children get access to. That means one adult can buy the content and the other can add or remove it from their own account if they need to.
Once you have adults and children in a Household, it’s really easy to manage content through a browser. In your account settings got to Manage Your Content and Devices you can see all your Kindle books and who in your household gets access to them.
What’s the best child Kindle setup?
The range of options and approaches means that settings can be tailored to the age of your child and how much autonomy you want them to have. For the younger children, you’ll want their Kindle registered to your Amazon account, but with all the parental controls engaged, so there’s no access to your account, Cloud or the web browser.
Then you’ll want to use Amazon Kids for that child. If they are getting their “own” Kindle device, you can then remotely control the content they get access to. You can gift books by simply buying them and assigning them to their Kids account.
You remain in control of content at all times and can easily remove books that they’ve finished with or outgrown. Importantly, if you’re buying it through your account, it’s your content and you can then share it with younger members of the family. Equally, as a child grows older, using a Household, you can still share older content in the future you might have bought for yourself.