Heading back to school is an exciting time for students – but after more than a year of disruption, families might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of getting back into a morning routine.

Fortunately, Alexa is here to help with a new ‘School Morning’ Routine that can be customised to help parents juggle multiple tasks, including setting reminders for PE kit and sounding an alarm when it’s time to leave the house.

Start the school year strong

According to new research by Amazon Devices surveying 2,000 parents of school-aged kids, 70 per cent of parents and kids are excited about a return to the physical classroom as they look to reunite with friends, teachers and learn new things.

However, 60 per cent of families admitted to losing any sense of a morning routine during the pandemic, and more than half (51 per cent) named school day mornings as the most stressful part of the day. When it comes to starting the day, 32 per cent of parents struggle to get kids out of bed, and 89 per cent have to set at least two alarms for their household.

Everyone’s morning looks a little different, whether starting the school day in the classroom or at home. The key is to find a method that helps you conquer the morning to-do list.
Dennis Stansbury, Alexa UK & Ireland Country Manager

Additionally, parents will open the curtains (38 per cent), turn on the lights (30 per cent), sound loud alarms (24 per cent) and send in a pet (18 per cent) to get their kid out of bed on time.

Almost nine-in-ten (87 per cent) of parents recognise that technology can be a helpful tool for busy families when at home, and more than half (52 per cent) agree it can be particularly valuable for morning routines.

Commissioned by Amazon Devices, the study aims to inspire families on how introducing small changes and tools, like technology, to morning routines can help to start the school year strong.

"Alexa, let’s get ready for school"

To make busy mornings run smoothly, Amazon has created a new ‘School Morning’ Routine – when parents say “Alexa, let’s get ready for school”, a series of actions are triggered including announcing on Alexa-enabled devices that it’s time to get up, turning on a compatible bedroom light, reading the news and telling you what’s on your ‘School Reminders’ list.

The ‘School Morning’ Alexa Routine can be customised for a range of tasks and reminders, all designed to help the family leave the house on time, have everything they need, and arrive in good time to start a productive day.

“We know that sometimes families need an extra hand, so Alexa is always ready to help make mornings easier, from sounding multiple alarms, turning on the lights, playing music, or even starting the coffee maker – all with the power of voice,” said Eric King, Director of Alexa Europe.

“Everyone’s morning looks a little different, whether starting the school day in the classroom or at home. The key is to find a method that helps you conquer the morning to-do list,” adds Dennis Stansbury, Alexa UK & Ireland Country Manager. “We created a new ‘School Morning’ Alexa Routine to not only help parents motivate children to get ready for school, but to help them tackle their own morning tasks.”

“Introducing small changes and helpful tools, like technology, to morning 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 Alexa ‘School Morning’ Routine is available here and is activated in the Alexa app with compatible devices and smart home products and includes the following actions when you say “Alexa, let’s get ready for school”. A ‘School Reminders’ list must be set up separately in the Alexa app to enable this action.

Back-to-school tips and tricks with Alexa

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. Customise a morning routine

Customise a morning routine that will get your day 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. For example, kids can have the lights slowly turn on with Phillips Hue Smart Bulbs, and get reminded it’s time to brush their teeth.

Routines are useful for the whole family. Grown-ups 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 drop-offs) 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 autumn and beyond. Just tell Alexa what you need to remember, and you'll get a reminder to help keep you organised.

Some examples include:

  • "Alexa, remind me to pick up the kids from school every weekday at 3 p.m."
  • "Alexa, remind Josh he has football practice every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m."
  • "Alexa, remind Annie to pack school PE kit every Monday at 5pm"

3. Learn beyond the school day

Learn new skills, and play educational games – you can also access tons of educational content from National Geographic, Collins Big Cat, Rabbids Coding 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.

4. Peace of mind 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.

Find out more: Easy like an Alexa morning