As children, tweens, and teens, many of us grew up being beckoned back to the house for meals and bedtime. The adage of coming home when the streetlights came on has fast become folklore to many and likely appears in your social media feed as often as it does in mine.
Today, technology has all the appeal and unique ability to keep us, as well as our children, sitting still, captivated by a screen that keeps us entertained for hours on end. It’s become a challenge to get our children out of the house, a problem that lands at the opposite end of the spectrum than years past.
But now, thanks to the technology used for the betterment of health and wellbeing, we can use technology to engage and challenge our children to become more active, get outside, and keep moving.
Enter the fitness tracker.
This simple looking technology has become a common replacement for the traditional wristwatch, and for a good reason. Fitness trackers do so much more while raising a greater body and health awareness to the wearer. Today’s fitness trackers monitor heart rate, sleeping patterns, physical activity, steps, and include coaching activities as well.
Recognizing that community continues to play a vital role in our overall health and wellbeing, may fitness trackers feature competitions that users, typically friends and family, can challenge each other on a daily or weekly basis. People naturally have a competitive nature, and this brings out the best in healthy competition.
5 Fitness Trackers for Tweens
This particular fitness tracker is aimed at children over the age of six. Described as having a “fun, chunky design,” it is also waterproof and has animated watch faces to engage the wearer. The Fitbit Ace 2 includes a step counter, sleep monitor, and tracks fitness.
The Fitbit Ace 2 can also be connected to a smartphone allowing the parent to view progress and give encouragement where it needed the most. While this Fitbit does not have a heart rate monitor, its ability to track overall activity is one of its strong features, and its interchangeable straps keep it an appealing option for tweens.
Garmin is well known for its GPS devices found in many cars, but their venture in the fitness trackers has been a winning tangent. The second generation of the Vivofit includes generic color bands as well as fun and inspiring designs.
The Vivofit makes exercise fun again. As each fitness goal is attained, your tween can move into a larger game on the device, thus keeping them active and engaged.
Parents are also able to connect and monitor their child’s steps, sleep, and activity but keep in mind that the VivoFit Jr. 2 fitness tracker requires a manual sync between devices. One creative perk that the Vivofit features is the ability to set reminders and alarms for such things as chores or homework.
The Sqord Activity Tracker uses a virtual rewards system through its game app to engage the wearer during physical activity. It is described as extremely durable and water-resistant, making it a perfect option for a tween on the go.
This tracker, when partnered with the smartphone app, tracks all movement and connects it to virtual rewards. The smartphone app allows your tween to participate in a “weekly leader-board and in head-to-head challenges with friends.” Parents can also engage with tween by setting up their own rewards.
While some reports describe the Sqord Activity Tracker app as confusing, overall, it is a viable option for tweens and parents to consider when tracking physical activity.
This unique fitness tracker is a mini technology center right on the wrist of your tween. With its unique ability to take pictures and videos, it’s unlike many other activity trackers on the market.
The Kurio Watch can be connected to Android devices and can also share the videos and pictures with friends who have the same device.
Fitness tracking is connected to challenges and games rather than simple counters and trackers. The Kurio Fitness Tracker is also scratch-resistant and waterproof making it an ideal choice for a tween on the go.
Minimal storage space of the Kurio Watch results in slower processing times causing a delay for the user. With today’s technology expected to have faster results in quicker time, this issue may be a deal-breaker for some users. Still, the end result is an overall positive recommendation.
For older tweens, the Gear Fit2 is an ideal fitness tracker with connectivity allowing notifications from social media and the ability to receive and read texts from their wrist. It is compatible with iOS and Android devices, and it is great to have when reaching fitness goals.
While the Gear Fit2 sports that standard step counter, sleep monitor, and heart rate tracker, it also includes a music player with the capacity for 500 songs. It also has built-in GPS!
The Samsung Gear Fit2 is described as water resistant, so a jog in the rain may be in order but be sure to note that it is not waterproof – so no swimming for your active tween unless the Gear Fit2 is safely stowed away in the warmth and comfort of a dry place. Water resistance is not the same as waterproof.
Best Fitness Tracker Buyer's Guide
To find the best fitness tracker for your tween, you want to do your research and find something that will help monitor their movements and connect and sync wirelessly with a computer or smartphone.
Many fitness trackers use an accelerometer that measures footsteps as well as other up and down, side to side, and front to back movements. Some can even track calories burned throughout the day and other metrics to help your tween stay fit and active.
Other sensors you may also find with a kids fitness tracker includes a heart rate monitor that can help track pulse during workouts or throughout the day, a gyroscope that helps determine if you are sitting, standing, or moving, and even GPS to track location. All of these are great for tracking a child's health.
A magnetometer detects specific movements to determine which direction you are moving in, and a barometer can help determine altitude which means it can track how many flights of stairs you may have taken during the day.
Fitness Tracker Versus Smartwatch
A fitness tracker measures how many steps are taken, the heart rate, duration of exercise, how many minutes you are active, and your sleep time. Some fitness trackers can also provide you with more customized information that is specific to your tween's routine. A fitness tracker has a lot of functionality and is less in price than a smartwatch with camera.
If your tween/teen is into productivity and fitness and is on another level, like they are training, then a smartwatch may be more along the lines of what they need to help reach their fitness goals.
With fitness trackers becoming increasingly common in both adult and youth markets, the tween fitness tracker options are as varied as the tweens themselves. With a bit of time and research, you can be sure to find the perfect fitness tracker for your tween and help them on their journey to better health and wellbeing while making it fun and interactive.
Features to Consider
Now that you know what a fitness tracker can monitor for your tween, there are other features you will want to consider before making a purchase.
Fitness trackers are usually designed so they can be worn on the wrist, which makes them more functional to use. They also come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, so your tween is sure to pin down one that suits their style perfectly. It should also be comfortable for them to wear on their wrist for the duration of the day.
More advanced fitness trackers reveal more data and have a display that resembles a watch. Some also have an LED display that lights up. Always take a look at the fitness tracker's companion app before you make a purchase to see if it is exactly what you were expecting.
The companion app is what archives the information saved on the fitness tracker and syncs it to your computer or mobile device.
That brings us to compatibility. The device needs to be compatible with your smartphone or computer so that it is able to sync properly. Some are only compatible with iOS, while others are only compatible with Android devices.
Some batteries can hold a charge for a few days, while others can hold a charge for several months at a time. The more sensors the fitness tracker uses, the more you will find you will have to charge the device.
Also, not all fitness trackers are rechargeable. Instead, they have coin cell batteries that will need to be replaced. These are the batteries you most often see in calculators and cameras.
Waterproof, Water Resistance, and Splashproof
Does your tween's fitness tracker need to have some level of water resistance? Do they work out a lot? If this is the case, then you want to make sure that the fitness tracker won't be ruined by sweat or water.
Some are only splash-proof, so if you are going to be using it in water, then you, of course, want to find one that is waterproof.
Band Material and Type
Many fitness tracker for kids bands are made from silicone because it is a very durable material that won't become damaged when it comes into contact with water, sweat, or the sun.
There are solid bands that are typically more comfortable for kids to wear, but there is also the choice of a traditional watch style band with a clasp that stretches to fit your child's wrist.
More than Fitness
A fitness tracker for kids and tweens are made to track activity, so when choosing one, it is going to depend on what kind of activity your tween wants to track, what the budget is, and what their taste and style is.
As your tween uses their new fitness tracker, they will become more enthusiastic about their fitness goals because they can track their progress. Who knows? They might be asking for a smartwatch in a couple years to have access to even more features to reach higher goals.