Fitbit For Kids: Parental Guide To Fitness Tracker

According to NCBI, about 30% of American children between the age of 6-8 are overweight, while the same applies to children aged 7-11 in European countries.

The end goal of using fitbit for kids is not just to get them to stay fit, but also to impact a healthy habit that sticks with them for a lifetime.

Physical activity has been shown to significantly lower the risk of becoming obese and prevent associated disease.

Fitbits, Garmin and other activity trackers are widely used by adults in tracking physical activities, these fitness trackers do not only encourage you to take more steps, some of them can equally pass as fashion accessory.

Fitbit For Kids

Fitbit being one of the leading manufacturer of fitness tracking device in the market is my main focus in this post.

I compared various activity trackers that are suitable for kid and narrowed down on some of the best trackers that will keep your child moving.

CUT THE CHASE: EDITOR’S PICK. FITBIT ZIP

FEATURESYES!
ColorBlack, Magneta, Lime and Blue
SynchronizesComputer, Bluetooth and Tablets
TrackStep, Calories and Distance
Memory7 Days Data
OthersSet Goals, View Progress and Badges

What Are Fitbits?

Fitbits are mordern pedometer. That’s the simplest of term to describe them.

Unlike the old traditional pedometer that count steps alone, mordern fitness trackers such as fitbit are capable of not just counting steps taken by users, but also the amount of calories used during the day, the number of hours spent sleeping and some high end mordern trackers are also capable of monitoring the heart rate.

How Does Fitbit Works?

As explained above, fitbit tracker works basically by measuring your strides or steps (to determine if you’re running, walking or climbing), through the use of modern accelerometer, this accelerometer is in 3-axis, as compared to the old fashioned accelerometer which has only 2-axis, making readings less accurate.

For measuring calories, the device would calculate the amount of energy exhausted based on your activities and other pre-supplied values, like your height, gender, age and weight.

Once the data is acquired by the device, it synchronizes with a mobile or desktop app, through the app, you can monitor your progress, analyze the data and see how you can improve your well-being.

For those trying to loose or gain weight, the data analysis is very valuable.

Some of the other benefits of the mobile and desktop app includes the ability to set a fitness goal and eventually get rewarded when you achieve your goal.

The idea behind this device is very simple; to encourage healthy lifestyle by motivating you every step of the way.

Are Fitbit Kids Friendly?

According to the terms of service posted on fitbit website, the device are not usable by kids younger than 13 years of age.

Sadly… FitBit does not produce a children friendly device. At least as at the time of writing this.

I have emailed fitbit several times to ask them why they’re neglecting such a huge market. I took to their forum to ask them why they don’t have children’s fitbit.

Their response to my inquires is simple; they claim that they are being restricted by the online privacy law.

If you’re familiar with fitbit device; you would know that it synchronizes data online through connected app. Currently; United States law does not allow children under the age of 13 to have such online account, and as a result kids below the age of 13 cannot have a Fitbit account that stores the data accumulated from the fitness tracker.;

Now that you know why fitbit isn’t available for children below the age of 13, let’s explore other possible options to get a Fitbit for kids below the age of 13.

The main reason why fitbit does not allow kids to create an online account is because they are kids, and as such their data (sleep tracking, steps, calories etc) cannot be collected and stored online due to the Online Privacy act…

But there is a way around this.

You can create an account on your kids behalf and they would be able to use the device without any issue whatsoever.

Possible Benefits Of Using A Fitness Tracker?

Fitness tracker has been around for a while now, and it would continue to be around for the next two or three decades, as a matter of fact, fitbit has been recording growth in sales since they emerged, and the previous year (2016) isn’t an exemption.

This is to show that the trend of staying fit with the aid of fitness tracker is no way near it’s end. If it’s not working, I believe the growth trend wouldn’t be that tremendous.

Few of the benefits your child would get from using a fitbit includes:

1. Motivation to get started
2. A healthy habit that would stick with them forever
3. Curiosity about their growth
4. Improved analytical skills
5. Self confidence that comes with good body shape
6. Clean health bill as a result of healthy life style

Choosing The Best Fitbit For Your Child:

Fitbits are quite expensive. However, there is a product that isn’t as expensive as others, and that is what I strongly recommend you get your child.

When they become older and they would like to change for a more expensive one, they would have understood the importance of the device and as such would do everything possible to take proper care of it.

Price: The best fitbit for the price is the fitbit zip. I decided to write a detailed review of the product in this article, since it is what I recommend for kids.

Strong/Resilient: Although all fitbits are properly designed to ensure durability. It’s important to take note that, kids where not considered when the products were designed, and as such, the company expects users to ensure the safety of their device since they’re adults.

A particular fitbit device do stand out for being “rugged” It’s the Flex 2. A bit stylish than the zip, keep in mind that it’s about double the price of the zip.

If you have the purse, then it’s a good tracker for the price.

Other device can also be used by kids once the parent create an account on their behalf and link it to the tracker, they are good to go.

The catch however is that, other fitbits aside the zip and flex 2 are kind of over-priced for kids. Knowing that they have the tendency of misplacing or breaking the device unintentionally.

FitBitZip

fitbit for kids

Best FitBit Device For Kids

FEATURESYES!
ColorBlack, Magneta, Lime and Blue
SynchronizesComputer, Bluetooth and Tablets
TrackStep, Calories and Distance
Memory7 Days Data
OthersSet Goals, View Progress and Badges

Fitbit Zip is the lowest in rank compared to all other fitbit product. It has four basic functions which are:

Steps Count: Fitbit zip is capable of recording the amount of steps taken when you wear them.

It’s fairly accurate especially for kids because it’s much more easy to calculate their step count as it is more distinct than that of adult.

So if your main aim of getting a fitbit is because you want to be able to count their steps. Then fitbit Zip is your best option both in price and functionality.

Calories: Personally, I see no reason why parents should be worried about the amount of calories consumed or burned by their children. They’re young and they shouldn’t be bothered about the amount of calories consumed or used. As long as they’re feeding fine, then there is no point tracking their calorie consumption

Except in cases when the kid has a special need (Chron disease or some other types of disease that requires you to know the amount of calories consumed per day), or if the kid is obese; such that the body mass index is higher than his/her age, then it might be necessary to keep an eye on the amount of calories burned and consumed on daily basis.

Aside from that; I would suggest that you shouldn’t bother about the calories data acquired by fitbit.

Distance: Fitbit Zip is also capable of calculating the amount of distance covered while wearing it. The distance data is also fairly accurate and it’s one of the main feature that kids would be making use of the most.

Because one of the benefits of fitness tracker for kids is to get them to move more, then it would be nice to compare the distance covered on weekly basis to see if they’re actually moving more or not.

The data would help in deciding on how to motivate them the more. If your main reason for getting a fitbit for kids is to get them to be more active; then fitbit zip is a viable option.

Clock: This comes as a perk… It basically display a digital time on it’s screen. Which means the fitness tracker can double as a digital wrist watch as well.

Fitbit Zip Cons:

I have discussed the basic features that comes with fitbit zip, and you’re probably considering getting one for your child, just before you do; let’s look at the few cons of this device.

Wrist Band: Sadly, unlike other Fitbit products, the Fitbit Zip does not have a wrist band, it is designed as a clip-on tracker. While adults might not have an issue with this design, it is not kids friendly as  it greatly increase the chances of children misplacing it or even forgetting to use in on daily basis as required.

There is a way around this; and this is the solution.

When buying your fitbit zip on amazon, you can also order for wristband bracelet which you can fix the fitbit zip into and then be able to wear the device on your wrist like a normal wearable fitness tracker.

This solves the problem of misplacement for kids. The wristband bracelet is sold for the price. All you have to do is fit the tracker inside the wrist band and it automatically because “wrist friendly”.

WoCase ZipBand Fitbit ZIP Accessory Wristband Bracelet

Floor Climbed: Fitbit Zip does not acquire data for the number of floor or stairs climbed. I don’t know why parents would be interested in tracking the stairs climbed by kids, but if it happens to be one of the features you’re interested in, then a Fitbit zip won’t be of value in that regard.

Sleep Quality: It does not track sleep quality and also it has no silent alarm. If you’re interested in tracking sleep quality, then you should consider getting Fitbit One Which has a silent alarm and sleep quality tracker.

Fitbit Zip Pros:

In addition to the features listed in the early part of this post; here are some of the other pros that should convince you into buying a fitbit for kids.

Synchronization: It basically functions as a kids fitness tracker even when you choose not to synchronize your data to any online platform. This is why Fitbit zip is the device of choice for kids below the age of 13.

You can log your data to your personal computer or you mobile device via blue-tooth. So this option provides the perfect solution for children below the age of 13 that are restricted from sharing personal data online through the enactment of the online privacy act.  All you need to keep track of your data is a computer and any other Bluetooth enabled device.

Memory: For a device that does not synchronize data to the cloud instantly, a week of data storage on the device memory itself is a huge advantage. Which means you don’t have to log your data every other day, but rather set a day to get it done, once in a week.

Display: It actively display your data on the screen. What this means is that you can keep an eye on your steps or calories as you progress through the day and actively work towards meeting your goal for the day.

Price: Many parents are concerned with the idea of buying an expensive fitness tracker for kids. Fitbit are a bit expensive of the price end, however Fitbit zip is the cheapest of the fitbit product. But the low price does not in anyway affect the quality of it’s functionality, so I consider it a good bargain for the money.

Step Difference: Just like any other fitbit device, the fitbit Zip can tell the difference between running and strolling.

In conclusion, the benefit of exercise cannot be overemphasized. Kids generally prefer to watch TV, play video games as well as surf the internet, anything that would keep them entertained indoor is just perfect for them. But this kind of lifestyle is not beneficial in the long run.

It’s been shown that kids that are more active tend to recall information more than those who are not. Exercise increase blood flow into the brain cells, which means more supply of oxygen and other vital nutrient to the brain cell resulting into their optimal functioning of the brain cells.

Encouraging kids to pick interest in fitness and healthy living is a good thing; and if you consider getting a fitness tracker for them as one of the means to encourage them, then I strongly suggest that you get them a kid friendly fitbit.

For children above the age of 13, teenagers and youth in general, they’re allowed to have an online Fitbit account which means the online privacy act does not directly affect them.

You can go ahead and get them any of the other Fitbit products, depending on your budget and the features you’re looking for in a tracking device. However, I recommend Fitbit one because it is budget friendly.

What Makes A Good Fitness Tracker?

This section will discuss the practical details of what makes up the best fitness tracker for kids and few recommendations as regards kids fitness trackers.

A larger percentage of activity trackers in the mainstream market are designed specifically for adults and as such cannot be used by kids. However, considering the benefits of fitness trackers for kids; one should try as much as possible to get a fitness tracker for their child.

In this section, I will discuss what you should look out for when buying a fitness tracker for your child; and hopefully the information provided in this post will help you in buying the best fitness tracker for your child.

BEST FITNESS TRACKERS FOR KIDS:

best fitness tracker for kids

A typical fitness tracker made for either adult or kids is expected to have certain functionalities; such as calories count; step counts; sleep tracking; goals settings and in some cases heart rate monitoring and gaming features.

I would highlight each of these features and tell you whether it is important for your kids or not.

Calories Count: What this feature does is to measure the amount of calories burnt on daily basis or per activities. Depending in your reason for getting the fitness tracker in the first instance; calories count might not be a very important factor in choosing the best fitness tracker for kids. The reason for this is very simple; they are kids and generally, they require more calories to aid their growth process.

Counting the amount of calories they consume at such early age is of little or no use at all. Exceptional case is when you are trying to adjust your child weight because their body mass index is above the normal for their age range. Then the calories counter feature in a fitness tracker might come handy.

Although most kids’ activity tracker comes with the calories counting features; except you intend to get a pedometer, this feature is on all activity trackers now; so either you want it or not; you would get it anyway.

My point here is that; you do not have to worry about this feature when getting your kids fitness tracker because it is of little importance to them. Except you are working on their weight.

Recommendation: Pedometer + Calorie Counter Fitness Tracker Watch – The JoyBand by Life in Charge

Step Counts: What this feature does is to measure the amount of steps taking by your kids on daily basis or per activities.

This is one of the most important features that make a good fitness tracker for kids. Because you want to be sure how active they are; you want to know how many steps they’re taking per day; you want to keep an eye on their motor skills activities.

When buying a fitness tracker for your kids; make sure you’re going for a tracker with high sensitivity. Some fitness trackers don’t get accurate step counts when the arms are not swing largely; you would naturally want to stay away from such because their metrics would not provide accurate information.

Our Recommendation: Misfit Wearables Flash Fitness and Sleep Monitor (Reef)

Sleep tracking: The sleep tracking features measure the amount of hours used in getting quality sleep. A larger percentage of adult fitness trackers does quality job in this area; most kids fitness tracker lacks silent alarm and they keep record from the hours of 7pm to 7am, hence the data are fairly exaggerated because of poor and inaccurate timing.

Some of them however are capable of acquiring accurate data. Example of which is the:

In choosing a good kid fitness tracker; it is recommended that you buy a tracker with good review as regards to the sleep tracking features.

Our Recommendation: Misfit Shine – Activity and Sleep Monitor NOT FOR CHILDREN UNDER AGE 3

Goal Setting: You generally want to get kid fitness tracker that allows your child to set goals of each step and provides a reward for each completed goal. When a goal is achieve; they are rewarded for the completed goal. This model is very much common for kids below the age of 13 years old; they can be a very good means of motivating the child to work towards achieving their goals

Our Recommendations are: iBitz Kids Activity Tracker, Pink

Heart Rate Monitoring (HRM): This features is not necessary in a kid fitness tracker; as a matter of fact it’s advisable to go for a device without the HRM because they are cheaper and less sophisticated for children.

Recommendation: Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band – Black

Gaming Features: This feature has several game console that encourage kids to work towards completing their set goals. The gamin features is common is Kids fitness trackers designed specifically for kids; the likes of KidFits and LeapFrog.

Fitness Tracker Comparison Table

Name/FeaturesGarmin Vivofit JrFitBit ZipJubouryGarmin
Step CountYesYesYesYes
Calorie CountNoYesYesYes
Water ResistantYesYesYesYes
Goal SettingYesYesNoYes
WatchYesYesYesYes
Parental ControlYesNoNoNo
Display Rating8/108/107/109/10
Recommended Age4-9 Years Old12+12+12+
AlarmNoNoYesNo
Battery Rating9/109/107/1010/10
Amazon LinkCheck On AmazonCheck On AmazonCheck On AmazonCheck On Amazon

Conclusion on the Best Fitness Tracker for Kids:

I have done my best to list out the common features in a kid fitness tracker and how important they are when you’re about to get a fitness tracker for your child.

Most of the currently available kids fitness trackers have a flaw on each of the flaw; making it difficult to actually pick a device as the best fitness tracker for kids. Nevertheless, our recommendations are as follows:

Best Fitness Tracker for Kids Ages 3 to 5: Garmin vivofit JR. – Digi Camo

Best Fitness Tracker for Kids Aged 6 to 13Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, Magenta

Best Fitness Tracker for Kids Aged 14 and Above: Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band – Black

Things You Should Know Before You Buy A Fitness Tracker.

Before you buy any brand of fitness tracker for your child; here are the basic things you should know about kids fitness tracker.

According to health report; people that exercise and feed well are less prone to diseases because their immune system functions optimally and they stand a better chance of living longer than those that does not exercise their body.

Aside from good health; being in good shape; both physically and mentally instill a certain type of confidence in kids; the type of confidence that any parent would want their kids to have.

As it is right now; the food we eat; the luxury of cars and other technology that makes life easier contributes mainly to the poor fitness attitude amidst humans; while those technology have done us a lot of good over the decade; it’s important to keep a check on their usage and avoid falling victim of the disadvantages that comes with.

According to this research; about 70% of American adults are overweight or obese, 20% of adolescent age children and 17% of children between the age of 6 – 11 are overweight or obese.

You would agree with me that; kids love watching tv, playing video games and surfing the internet; these activities are all under the passive category of daily activities; because they do not require physical movement and usage of various body muscles and joint.

Passive activities are not only bad for the physical health; they also have negative impact on the mental health. People that exercise are known to have a high functioning mental state compared to those that doesn’t.

Now; that you know the negative effect of passive activity; how do you get your kids to be more active? How do you get them to love active activities, how do you get kids to move more and be more active? How do you keep your child physically fit, how do you teach them about fitness and nutrition and its benefits on both the physical and mental health?

This is where kids fitness tracker comes in; they are various types of wearable technology that helps in monitoring different aspect of your child’s health and fitness.

01tracker

What are Kids Fitness Tracker?

Kids fitness trackers are generally small wearable device designed to monitor fitness related activities in Kids. They measure data such as steps, calories usage and consumption, sleeping hours and quality. In simple terms; they monitor and record kids fitness activities.

Most wearable kids fitness tracker works in synchronization with desktop or mobile apps that basically analyze the acquired data. The ideal fitness tracker for kids are integrated into the form of game; as this allows kids to have fun while benefiting from the numerous advantages of fitness trackers. Most kids would love to wear their fitness tracker because it has cool games on them.

Some fitness trackers are also associated with social media network through their mobile apps; that allows users to share their fitness achievement across social network.

Some fitness tracker apps synchronized with kids fitness tracker allow parents to create a reward based system for every fitness achievement.

Most kids fitness trackers can be worn on the wrist as wrist bands, there are also arm bands and waist bands varieties but the wrist bands varieties are more common; fashionable and easy to use for kids. They can easily be worn on the wrist like a regular digital wrist watch,

Benefits of Kids Fitness Tracker:

In the earlier part of this post; I wrote about the importance of engaging kids in active activities rather than passive activities. Engaging in passive activities allows maximum usage of the entire motor skills of the body; it gives the brain enough blood supply which will directly result into more mental alertness.

Because most fitness trackers are designed as wearable devices that acquire data and synchronize the data to a mobile app or a desktop app; the data acquired can then be analyzed to improve health performance

The importance of the data acquired from this device cannot be overemphasized. You basically get real-life data on how much of calories your kids are burning per day; you get to know about the hours of quality sleep they get on daily basis, and the number of kilometers they walk or run through.

With this kind of information; as a parent you can adjust your diet to include more carbohydrate or protein as the case may be; you can also put measures in place to ensure that your child gets more quality sleep at night. It’s also been proved that fitness tracker plays a crucial role in motivating kids to do more as regards to the metrics obtained from previous activities.

As it is right now; the benefit of kids fitness tracker is on the high end; some tracker comes with an in-built GPS; that allows you to locate your kids position based on synchronized data.

Buying Kids Fitness Tracker:

When buying a fitness tracker for your child; there are certain things you should use as evaluation standard. There are many choices out there; making it extremely difficult to choose the right fitness tracker for your child.

In this section of the post; I would highlight some standards; and what you should always check out for; when buying kids fitness tracker.

Comfort-ability: Because most kids are playful and the generally don’t want any foreign materials (Be it tracker or wrist watch) hindering their movement or activities, it’s highly advisable to consider the comfortability of the fitness tracker before making a purchase.

You should check the slap bracelet to see if it’s something the kids can wear without feeling uncomfortable.

Another factor worth of note is the hook for fitness trackers that has one. Make sure the hook does not compress or press over the child’s arm, since they would be wearing it for a long time; both during the day and the night.

Always put comfort-ability first.

Features: Depending on your reason for getting a fitness tracker for your kid. There are basic features in a typical kid fitness tracker; features such as calories counting, steps or mile counting; time display, sleep monitor, goals and motivating varieties.

The most important thing is to really understand what you want to achieve with the fitness tracker and get the one with the features geared towards your goal.

Power: Depending on the brand; some kids fitness tracker are powered by battery while some are rechargeable. The rechargeable fitness tracker takes about 7 days before running out of power for another recharge; while the battery powered fitness tracker would always have an average life span of 5 months before getting a replacement for the battery.

For kids fitness tracker; it’s advisable to get a battery powered fitness tracker; as you can focus on motivating your kids and doing more fitness activities rather than bearing the responsibility of charging the tracker every week.

Synchronization: It’s important that you get a fitness tracker that synchronizes with the official mobile app for easy data accessibility. Since the main aim of having fitness tracker on in the first instance is to acquire data and motivate kids; ensure the device works with the official apps and if possible good third party fitness app.

Get a fitness tracker that synchronizes with both android OS and IPhone OS, this will allow you to monitor your kids fitness progress on the go.

How to Use Kids Fitness Tracker:

Now that you’ve gotten a fitness tracker for your child; it’s important that you understand the usage in other to get the best value from the device.

The first step to using a fitness tracker for kids is to educate the child about the device. Tell them in simple term what the device does; why you think they would enjoy using the device and the benefits of using the fitness tracker.

Once the child is properly educated; then you can move on to the next stage of getting basal data from the device.

I am currently assuming that you’ve followed the guide that came with the device in setting up the app and online account as the case may be for the device you purchased.

For the first week of purchase; it’s ideal to have your child strap the device on and go about their regular activities without making any changes. After the first week of taking basal data; analyze the data and set a minimal goal based on normal routine.

Take for instance if your child normally takes 300 steps per day; you can set a goal of 350 or 400 steps for the second week; and progress accordingly.

Learn to review the data from time to time and make use of the data as appropriate. As a means of motivation for your kids; you can always compensate them with something they love doing when they meet a certain goal set on the app.

Kids Fitness Tracker Comparison Table:

Name/FeaturesGarmin Vivofit JrFitBit ZipJubouryGarmin
Step CountYesYesYesYes
Calorie CountNoYesYesYes
Water ResistantYesYesYesYes
Goal SettingYesYesNoYes
WatchYesYesYesYes
Parental ControlYesNoNoNo
Display Rating8/108/107/109/10
Recommended Age4-9 Years Old12+12+12+
AlarmNoNoYesNo
Battery Rating9/109/107/1010/10
Amazon LinkCheck On AmazonCheck On AmazonCheck On AmazonCheck On Amazon

Our Recommended Kids Fitness Tracker:

Children aged 4 to 7: Garmin vivofit JR. – Digi Camo

Children Aged 5 to  13 Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, Magenta

Children aged 14 and above: Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band – Blue