Sometimes in the busy day of a toddler, you need to take a break from all the many events over the course of a day. YouTube Kids by Google, Inc. is a great medium to keep the sense of discovery fresh while giving a child a chance to just chill. It’s an invaluable resource for your child to learn the use of language, possibly learn another language, or help them learn to use tools for self-regulation. Bluebee, of course, can be a steady companion during those times when the world gets overwhelming.  Holding Bluebee while he is singing a song or watching your favorite video is a classic play scheme coming from the centuries-old tradition of kids having stuffed animals as friends.

YouTube Kids is a moderated version of YouTube, but as most automated streaming services are not flawless, it’s safest to set up content that you have personally approved. As the parent, you have the choice of what goes on the iPad and open services such as YouTube and YouTube Kids need monitoring to keep little fingers from perhaps stumbling across undesirable content. It’s easy to report questionable content by flagging it for the moderators or remove it from the field of choices. Keep in mind, Google wants your family to be happy and feel secure. They want you to report questionable content.

Under the Hood

Let’s take a closer look at YouTube Kids and just how you can customize it for safe viewing and play. On the initial signing into YouTube Kids, select the screen that best fits your child developmentally. There are 3 choices: PreSchool, School Age, and All Kids for large families or itinerant teachers/therapists on the go. This home screen will display material appropriate for preschoolers. In the Parent’s Section is a well written and easy to follow guide to any question you may have to use You Tube Kids.

Search for content that is age appropriate and enjoyable for your child – and ALWAYS preview the entire video before adding it to the home screen. There is also an option whether to allow a child to be able to search or not. When selecting to turn searching off, kids are limited to videos presented on their home screen. By doing so, you will need to register with YouTube Kids and use a parental consent code to add videos. YouTube Red will remove ads and allow for watching offline for a monthly subscription fee. One nifty feature is a timer that indicates “all done YouTube Kids” to make transitions easier whether you subscribe or not.

There are 4 modes within YouTube Kids – shows, music, learning, and discovery. So have a sing-a-long in a cozy swing or tent, watch a favorite show, or have the adventure to destress the day…all with Bluebee and YouTube Kids You’ll be sure to find some family favorites and add new ones along the way. One of my favorites is the Super Simple Songs (formerly Super Simple Learning) as they make excellent videos for kids not only learning English but also kids that may have processing difficulties. So check out this gem of an app!

Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing on Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.

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