As a parent, you may ask yourself if you should use a device to track your children’s activity. The fitness tracker trend is hot right now, and it’s understandable to ask yourself if this device can benefit your kids. Studies show that around 40% of Americans are using a fitness tracking device and the trend has slowly started to expand to children.
The greatest benefit these devices bring is that kids feel more motivated to be active when they are wearing trackers. The sad news is that less than 20% of children exercise for more than an hour daily.
What does a fitness tracker do?
There are numerous devices for kids you can buy, and the models range in design from themes like Disney to Star Wars. Most of them have simple, swim-friendly designs, and bands that perfectly fit children. Their design allows changing the band when the children grow.
The average model is used to track your children’s steps, their sleep patterns, and to notify them to complete the 60 minutes of exercises daily. Depending on the brand you choose, the device can also challenge your children to do different exercises and activities. Some brands create games that ask the user to complete certain daily goals to complete a mission from the game they play.
The great part about the device is that you can track their activities and sleep by simply synchronizing the tracker with your smartphone. Depending on the model you buy, you can even assign them certain tasks they have to complete. When syncing the devices you can create challenges all family members should complete.
Why should your kids wear a fitness tracker?
Tracking your activity is an effective way to change your behaviour. Fitness trackers are created with the purpose to generate behavioural change in both children and adults. The user can clearly see how active they’ve been during the day, the challenges they took part in, count their steps, and receive rewards when they complete a certain mission. Fitness trackers encourage children to adopt positive habits and behaviours because it helps them be aware of how active or inactive they are.
Fitness trackers send notifications to the user to stand, be more active, and go outdoors. Because many devices promote an active life through games, children improve their socialising and teamwork skills because they have to complete certain missions together with other users. Kids are more active when wearing these devices because they want to complete their goals and see the results on their watch. Self-monitoring and goal setting are two essential factors in changing their habits and behaviour.
How can you help children make the most of a fitness tracker?
They should wear the tracker when they feel ready
Only because they are old enough to go to the kindergarten, it doesn’t mean that they are ready to use a device that tracks their activity. Before introducing them to the device you should present them the idea of wearing a tracker that helps them understand if they are active enough. Children in first grade are good candidates for a tracker, but you should make sure they completely agree to use it, and they don’t feel obliged.
Purchase the right fitness tracker
Even if they fall in love with the colour your device has, it’s advisable to purchase one specifically made for kids. The range of models available on the market is astonishing. From trackers that feature a camera, to devices that send notifications and messages, you may have no idea which one to choose. It’s important to find one with a light design, your children should be comfortable wearing it. Depending on the age of the child, you may want to purchase one that has a pet avatar on the screen to encourage them to be active in a friendly manner. Parental control features are necessary because they allow you to set challenges and record their activity.
Movement-based games are the most effective solution to encourage a child to be more active, so you should choose a model that includes this characteristic. Totbliss recommends reading products reviews before purchasing one. There are numerous fitness trackers made especially for children, so it’s understandable that you have no idea which one to choose. Doing research will prove helpful.
Wearing a fitness tracker should be fun
Your children will make the most of wearing it if they find it entertaining. Once they will start wearing it, you should regularly send them new challenges to keep them interested in using the tracker. Racking the number of steps or missions will keep them entertained. If all family members are wearing bands, you should design challenges all of you must complete. Setting a goal can help children keep children excited. Reward them when they complete certain missions.
Some games may turn complex and if your children have difficulties figuring them out, so you should help them because they can easily lose focus and interest in an activity they cannot complete.
Check the results
You should periodically review the numbers the trackers show. You should talk to your children daily about the activities they had on that day, and what they would want to do differently the following days. For example, if one day they spend only 30 minutes playing soccer, you can suggest them the following days to also have a bike ride before or after playing a team game. Having a pet can encourage children to be more active, so if they don’t feel motivated to use the band, a dog can work as a trigger. You should agree to adopt a pet only if they are willing to feed, walk, and clean him. You should tell your children how important is for the dog to be active and walk daily, and you will motivate them to run and play with their new furred friend.
You should also ask them for ideas to design new challenges and missions for the entire family. If you involve them in the process, they will find more interesting and challenging to wear fitness trackers.