There are more fitness tracking watches on the market today than most people know about. You and I have the ability to choose specific models for swimming, running, and just about any other form of exercise we can think of. What about kids, though?
It’s no secret that children love to ride their bikes and play outside with friends, but it seems as though today’s kids have so many amazing pieces of technology that it’s hard to get them excited about staying active. So, how can you encourage your child to get up and get moving? Well, that’s where the Garmin Vivofit JR comes in.
The Vivofit JR is an activity tracker geared towards encouraging children to stay active while having fun at the same time. It is encased in a silicon wristband which is safe and simple to slip on or off as it does not require the use of clasps. Don’t worry, if the band gets lost you can easily pick up a replacement from Garmin.
Inside of the box, you will find the chip-like device already inside the band of your choice (it comes in broken lava, digital camo, or real flower), along with the instructions on how to set everything up via the one button interface. While these color schemes ought to be a smash hit with children, there are plenty of solid colored Garmin Vivofit JR replacement bands out to choose from if your child doesn’t like any of the featured ones.
The interactive screen itself is the same size as the Vivofit 3, which means your child can also grow into it by just adding a larger sized band. The screen displays the time and their name but will react to the completion of activities. The device can be set to reward “coins” for completed tasks, which will make a piggy bank pop up with their total coins tallied below.
The step counter also features cute animals like a T-Rex, and individual tasks even pop up with an icon. For instance, a book can pop up when it’s time to study or a fork may appear when it’s dinner time. Every aspect of this wristband has been designed with fun, education, and fitness in mind.
Aside from the appeal to younger children, there are plenty of things to get you excited about this fitness tracker as well. From a simple to use smartphone app to integrated fun with your child, the both of you can enjoy this nifty little device.
- Auto goals help to set daily play goal limits. These are perfect for burning off excess energy and keeping your child healthy.
- The design is waterproof, which means there won’t be any accidental mishaps that ruin the device. You know, like forgetting to take it off before going swimming.
- This watch is made with durability in mind for playful, active children. It is stain-proof and ready to take a beating.
- The bands come in a regular and extra-large fit, accommodating four to nine years old and older.
- Some children may need an adult sized Vivofit 3 band. While there are two separate sizes for the JR model, they do not fit everyone. Luckily, the adult bands are also highly customizable.
- There are only three initial colors to choose from, which means you would have to buy a different color if your child did not like any of the standard designs. However, chances are they will think at least one is cool. My children enjoy the Broken Fire design with their dinosaur step counter.
- It will probably need a screen protector, which Garmin sells, to keep it from scratching during active play. There similar models to what you find for a smartphone that peel and stick on.
Must Have Features
The Garmin Vivofit JR takes into account its user, children, with plenty of features made for simplicity. For starters, the band is one solid piece. This eliminates the need for them to fuss with clasps or buckles.
The device itself is “swim safe” with a water resistance rating of 5ATM, or up to 50 meters deep, and safety is taken one step further by making it a little harder to get the device out of the tinier band. They can even enjoy their watch during bath time without fear of damaging it.
The battery is made to last for one whole year and does not need to be recharged. Once it dies, they are inexpensive and a breeze to replace. Add that to the waterproof capabilities, and you have a virtually hands-free, hassle-free device.
Monitoring tasks and daily activity is an easy feat with the mobile app, which allows you to sync up to 8 Vivofit JRs. Once you install it on your phone, it will send you notifications to let you know what your child has completed. Plus, it features the same move bar that the Vivofit 3 does, telling your child to get up and get moving after they have been inactive for too long.
The band is designed from a soft silicone. While this makes it easy to stretch over the hand, it also makes it comfortable to wear whether your child is at school, soccer practice, or going to sleep. They’ll notice it’s there when an activity timer beeps, but it won’t bother them while they’re completing the activity.
While most Garmin fitness watches sync up with the Garmin Connect mobile app, the Vivofit JR has an app all of its own. There are several features to set up, but it’s an incredibly fun process if you and child do it together. They can choose a custom cartoon avatar, different background colors, and what they would like their name to be on the app.
You also get to customize a few aspects, like the tasks and rewards section. These will be set in stone and only able to be changed by your administrator account. These features make up the bulk of interactive activities for your child and act as a great parenting tool to help make your life a little easier.
The app comes pre-loaded with a list of common chores such as feeding the dog or cleaning their room, but you can remove any of those and create the list of chores you would like your child to complete instead. After a chore is complete, your child receives in-app coins.
A number of coins for each chore is set by you, which means one chore could be worth more than another. Those can then be turned in for rewards such as having ice cream or watching TV, each of which you can make worth a different amount of coins. So, taking out the trash and picking up the living room could be worth 2 hours of TV, or two coins, just for example.
The actual physical activity is monitored by their time spent being active, what times in the day they were active, and how many steps they have taken. The device also monitors how well they sleep at night by showing when they were in deep and light sleep, as well as when they were awake.
All of these charts are bright and colorful to encourage your child to stay active, but linking your own Garmin device adds another level of positive encouragement. By linking the devices together in the app, you and your kids can compete with one another to see who took the most steps each day.
Adding to the reward system are safaris, which are unlocked with every 60 minutes of active time. Each part of a safari unlocks a tiny clue about the next animal to be discovered, with the fourth clue revealing what exotic creature they have come across.
These safaris work their way around the globe to educate children about different animals in different regions and countries. These animals can be added to their journals, much like badges for fitness achievements, and stored for them to read about again later. It takes time to unlock animals, which will keep your child looking forward to the next day they can work towards unlocking another one.
Last, but not least, the app lets you set timers for chores and rewards. That could mean two minutes for brushing teeth, 20 minutes to study, and one hour to watch TV. Afterwards, you can reward them with a coin for their hard work or assign another chore to be done.
Top Features and Specs
- The 5ATM waterproof rating is probably a more useful feature on the JR model than the adult version. Accidents happen, but at least you can rest assured the device is safe.
- The app is an incredibly useful tool for parents who want to teach their children good and healthy habits. Every feature is geared to make staying active a fun game.
- The pre-loaded chores are easy to manage and reward with the touch of a screen, not to mention fun for your child. The days of arguing over getting their chores done can finally be over.
- Tracking your child’s sleep patterns can give you better insights into their moods, academic success, and more. Sometimes, nothing is as healthy as a good night’s sleep.
- Replaceable bands mean even if your child manages to break theirs, the device isn’t ruined. They also offer plenty of styles to choose from.
- They are non-staining silicon, which makes them mess friendly.
- The watch face is customizable with plenty of fun designs. It also features their name, should it happen to be left somewhere, and teaches them the importance of keeping track of time.
What Customers are Saying
There are hundreds of products that come out year after year designed specifically for children, but how many of those are just cheap gimmicks? What you want to know is if this device lives up to all of its promises and is worth the purchase, or if this is just another piece of junk. Well, here’s what parents who have purchased them have to say.
An overwhelming number of parents agree that this product offers an amazing set of features designed specifically for children. “My daughter loves it…and it motivates her to keep moving,” said an ecstatic father. As for the interactive app, “The App is easy to use…more uses than we had originally planned!”
As with any product, it is important to consider the negative critiques that surface. Several noted the step counter was nowhere near as accurate as the adult counterpart Garmin models. Also, some users reported that the screen could become scratched easily when children are playing, though there are screen protectors for these devices.
No product is without a downside, but the ocean of positive reviews and happily raving parents prove that the Garmin Vivofit JR is an excellent way to encourage children to stay active in a fun and engaging way. Several parents who integrated their Vivofits with their children even noted that it made a perfect way to bond and spend time together.
Being able to set daily fitness goals and chores that are rewarded through fun activities is a wonderful way to keep your children busy and healthy. The ability to set timers for certain activates, and the added safari bonuses make using their wristband a challenging yet exciting game. Plus, you can join in on the fun yourself!
All in all, Garmin’s JR model is a great choice for any parent who wants to encourage good habits, healthy living, and family fun. With an educational aspect built in and plenty of care-free safety features included, you and your child are sure to love it.