The growth of the activity tracker has been immense over the last few years, and I’ve been one of those who’s loved theirs. I’ve had a Fitbit One, a Flex that I didn’t believe, and now I have a Fitbit Charge 2 which I love (although the strap broke so I’m frantically awaiting the replacement). It hasn’t helped with my weight loss, but I think my steps have increased slightly on a working day, although I’m never going to reach 10k steps a day without adding another hour or two to my morning or evenings to actually walk. A lunch time walk and even one of my dance classes per day doesn’t always get me there!
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N has started to get interested in activity trackers. We reviewed a children’s one a couple of years ago but it was really kiddy and we weren’t that taken with it. So I got him a proper one for Christmas. Well, I say a proper one, but it’s still a children’s version so I knew we had a strap that would fit his wrist. N tells everyone it’s his Fitbit, but it’s actually a Garmin Vivofit Jr.
N just wanted a tracker for his steps and possibly his activity, but unless I bought a really cheap tracker, most do more than that. It was also hard to work out strap sizes, so I chose the Garmin on the basis that it was for children. And there was a bigger strap option for when he’s a bit older.
The Vivofit Junior comes in several colours. I chose the Broken Lava red because I didn’t think camouflage was his thing, and the other was flowery. The face is quite large for a child’s wrist, but not so large to be overwhelming. They target the Garmin at 5-10 year olds, and the strap fits N loosely enough that I expect it to last a few years.
What does it track?
The Vivofit junior is adaptable in what you can track. Obviously the main one is steps, and it also tracks the activity with the target being 1 hour activity a day. The child can see how far off from target they are and it buzzes when they hit the one hour. I was surprised that N doesn’t always reach an hour, even when he’s been outside for over an hour. It just shows that they really do need to move about as well as getting out in the fresh air. Not all steps are tracked (similar to most activity trackers I’ve had). A spot of dancing doesn’t always increase N’s steps, if it’s not picking up enough movement.
Parents can also set chores for their child to do and set a reward in ‘coins’ for them. I set up daily activities on the app for 10p if 5 days of them are done. I added brushing teeth morning and night, tidying away toys, daily reading and putting breakfast stuff in the dishwasher after use. We haven’t started tracking these properly, so I’m not sure how they come through on the tracker for the child to mark that they’ve been done. It’s a good idea to link everything in together, and there’s a little piggy bank symbol to show how many coins are in the pot after chores. And you can set countdowns for tasks – I might have to try this for N’s 15 minutes daily reading tasks.
It’s easy to scroll through the options on the Garmin. Just press the button once to move to the next one. And hold it down on each to show more on that option.
N has managed to get to the stopwatch/timer option a couple of times, and has managed to change the time. It was easy enough to get back with a bit of fiddling, but you can also manage the time by syncing it through Bluetooth on your phone to the app.
The app is easy to use. I found it quick and easy to set up N’s profile, and you can have several children’s profiles on one app, or link them up onto each parent’s phone or tablet. Adults can also link theirs up to for some family challenges.
Although the Garmin Vivofit Jr is for children, it’s more like an adult tracker – something older children will prefer over really childish trackers.
The battery lasts a year and is replaceable. There’s no charging needing (always good, because it’s so annoying with normal activity trackers
We’ve not tried it yet, but you can use it in the pool.
Sleep tracker – N doesn’t wear his in bed, but it can track restlessness as well.
The Garmin Vivofit has gone down really well with N. He thinks he’s grown up with it, he likes checking he’s done his steps and compares them to mine, and he can wear it to school as well – handy for helping him tell the time. We don’t use it for everything it can do, but I certainly think it’s worth the money to have a well made, easy to use, comfortable tracker that should last several years.
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