Apple Watch for Kids: School Time Mode, No iPhone Required

The Apple Watch for kids is something that parents are increasingly accepting. Last year, the New York Times published an article about the use of Apple Watch by children as young as five. Parents consider the Apple Watch more suitable for children who need smartphones.

Apple Watch gives kids the ability to stay in touch with their parents, share their location, and take charge without the full cost and complexity of a smartphone. With the holidays approaching, it may be time to consider expanding your connectivity options without using a smartphone.

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Apple Watch for Kids

Apple Watch gives kids the opportunity to stay connected with their parents, share their location, and take charge without the full cost and risk of with a smartphone.

With very limited internet access and a lack of social media apps, the watch can be a great starter device for kids if parents are looking for a convenient way to introduce technology early.

Family setup for Apple Watch

Apple's Family Setup feature allows parents to set up Apple Watch SE or Series 4 and later cellular watches from their iPhone. A family member does not need an iPhone.

Although the monthly connection fee is typically around $10 plus fees, T-Mobile has a kids plan with unlimited calling and 500MB per month, which is half the price with auto-pay. This is useful if you're already a T-Mobile subscriber and want to save money on your child's data plan.

School Time Mode »

Family setting even has a special mode called School Time that limits Apple Watch use during school hours. Parents can control this remotely from their iPhone. You can learn more about Schooltime here, including how to incorporate it into your after-school time for study groups and other activities.

See bands that fit kids

I also have a five year old. While I don't think it's quite ready for the Apple Watch, I was curious if the watch band would be compatible with kids' wrists. He was happy to let me borrow his small wrist for testing.

Any straps I already had were not suitable for small wrists. However, trying to use an Apple Watch band specifically designed for children worked great. For under $15, this Nike Sport style buckle strap was perfect.

Best prices for Apple Watch for children

As a taster into the world of semi-smartphones for kids, the new Apple Watch might be a little pricey. The new Apple Watch SE 2 with 40mm screen and cellular support sells for $299. This is why used cellular watches are great for family setups.

Another option is to buy a used Apple Watch from places like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Amazon Refurbished Products. I found the 40mm Cell SE for $120 locally, and the updated Amazon store has very similar deals.

Best comment from sunhou

I liked 9 people Last year I tried to do this for my son. But I have a Verizon prepaid account. They will add the Apple Watch as an additional device (with its own phone number) to my account (which will cost about $10 per month) if I upgrade to a postpaid plan. This conversion should have cost MORE than the extra $100 a month. That's the whole idea. (To make matters worse, I went to a local Verizon store to see if I could do this; they said yes. I bought an Apple Watch and went back to Verizon to set it up about a week after the first time I talked to them and then they gave me the above information. So I returned the watch.) View all comments

Just be sure to look for GPS + Cellular if you want to use the family setting. The 40mm or 41mm sizes are also more child-friendly than 44mm or 45mm.

Alsoavoid the Apple Watch Series 3if you want to customize the watch for a child who has no iPhone. You can find cheaper models with cellular support, but they no longer receive software updates. More importantly, theydo not work with Family Setupand require the owner to own an iPhone.

In September, Apple released watchOS 10 as a free software update for supported Apple Watches. models. This includes Apple Watch Series 4 and later, Apple Watch SE (first and second generation), and Apple Watch Ultra 1 and 2.

Do you have your own experience setting up your kids on Apple Watch? Share your tips and suggestions in the comments!

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