When I first started looking at the many fitness trackers kids might enjoy a few years ago I had no idea that they would become a big thing. My kids were young teens and there was not anything suitable for them that didn’t focus on more adult themes. Many people have also asked me whether Fitbits are good for kids so I figured an article about this exact subject might be worth writing!
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Fitness trackers are great for getting kids more active but adult trackers may well have features that might be harmful to kids (for example having a calorie focus). Specific kids trackers are definitely more recommended and there are a lot around nowadays.
How old should you be to have a Fitbit or fitness tracker?
It’s such a personal question this one and it really does depend on the child I think. As well as that, it depends on the kind of fitness tracker you’re looking to purchase. There are some really good trackers that are aimed at ages 4 upwards which definitely aren’t the same as the older kids versions or adult trackers.
TIP – When looking for older kids definitely check whether it is just a normal adult’s tracker that is being marketed to kids – I see that a lot, especially on Amazon. A regular tracker has ‘kids fitness tracker’ in the headline to pick up a greater amount of people searching. It DOES NOT mean that it’s suitable for kids!
I’m really pleased to see that Fitbit has started making trackers solely for kids now too as I do really like their trackers and have had good experiences with them. For older kids wanting the brand name, it’s good to know that you can get something that looks just like a normal adult version but aimed at kids.
Here are some ideas of things to think about when deciding if your child is old enough:
- What is the strap size – will it fit my child’s wrist?
- Does the tracker need an app – if so is it parent-controlled (most are) or does the child need their own account and app?
- What does it track?
- If calories burnt is tracked it’s definitely NOT a kids tracker but for teens, it could still be a good option
So, are fitness trackers good for kids? The pros and cons:
It does encourage them to get moving – reminders work!
They are fun – many have activities and games
The games help to keep the novelty of the idea fun for longer
I like that they track sleep habits – a good one for kids to see, especially those who like to stay up late
They can feel part of the family if the adults all have one
Most are customisable with different straps so great for multiple kids
Buying adult versions can have calorie emphasis which isn’t suitable for kids
Some schools don’t allow them so might be hard to get into a habit of using outside of class
Some people think they can be expensive for what you get – many compare with adult features on cheap trackers though which I don’t feel is fair
Overall I am a huge fan of these devices to get kids more active, but I do think that a little bit of research is needed before blindly buying a cheap tracker thinking that it would be good for kids.
If you’re at all worried about excessive screen time or just your kids being more sedentary then it’s got to be worth a try. Pair it with an open conversation with your kids about why it’s a good idea to be more active and they’ll likely relish the novelty – then the kid-specific ones come into play since the games will help prolong the interest!
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