It’s always a good time to establish family health commitments and improve on existing ones. Here’s why I think Fitbit for kids is a great idea, and why I think it will be so positive for your family. My kids love their Fitbit Zip activity trackers. They have helped our family be more active and have gotten my kids away from wanting to play with their electronics all of the time.
I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard of Fitbits. More technology. More to track and deal with. Even more to buy. More to get excited about initially, and more to toss aside… money wasted. Yet that has not been the case with our Fitbit activity trackers.
There are so many reasons why I recommend Fitbit for kids and families and why I think Fitbit Zip makes a great gift.
I am not a big technical person. Nor am I someone who enjoys exercise. But let me tell you, I love my Fitbit. My family loves their Fitbits too.
Why Fitbit Zip is great for kids
Fitbit utilizes technology, which kids will love, but it so much more than that. We bought the Fitbit Zip for our kids. It is the least expensive Fitbit (check the price). It’s discreet and small so they can wear it to school without it being a distraction. They also love using it to check the time as they don’t like wearing watches.
Getting a Fitbit for kids can get them up and moving and away from playing video games, watching YouTube videos, and off their iPads. It did for mine. Now they love getting to school early to play on the playground to get more steps.
My kids don’t have obsessive-type personalities, but let me tell you, even after owning these for 14 months, they still love them, and I believe they always will.
Fitbit motivates kids to move
My son often asks if we can have a Weekend Warrior challenge over the weekend. (Fitbit offers different types of challenges to see who can get the most steps during the weekend, weekdays, etc.) He often outsteps my husband and I by over 20,000 steps.
One Saturday he achieved a new record for himself — 35,243 steps — in just one day! I love that he is so motivated, active, and PROUD. He is happy about outstepping his parents of course, but even better is that he is motivated to outdo himself.
More activity equals more sleep
At bedtime, my kids fall asleep so much faster since owning their Fitbits. They are tired! Instead of spending so much time on electronics and sitting around, they are now more active in general.
Fitbit gets you moving
While Fitbit is an electronic, it is not like an electronic in the way I think of electronics with my kids. Fitbit is a device that actually removes you from the screen and gets you moving. It gets you talking with other Fitbit users and connects you in a way that you wouldn’t have been before. Exercise and getting more fit has become entertainment for my family.
Why kids love Fitbit Zip
Like so many of my kids’ cast-off toys, I didn’t know if the Fitbit Zip would make the cut and be used and enjoyed for the long-haul. Would they be interested initially and then leave it unused like so many other toys and gifts?
They still love wearing their Fitbits, even 14 months later. Fitbits are electronics, and my kids LOVE electronics. I just didn’t expect it to be so motivating for them in the way it was for me.
How to get kids away from electronics
My sons used to come home from school and eat their snack and then play on the iPad until homework or leaving for an activity or to play with friends. But after they started wearing their Fitbits, their focus became about how to increase their steps. It was a really positive change, especially for my one son who would play the iPad all day if we let him.
Now my very same son jumps extra long on our trampoline and is motivated to take laps around the house and play basketball outside — even by himself — all in the quest to get more steps. What he once gained from “zoning out” on the iPad for an hour, he is now finding in being active.
When our one son has a baseball game and needs to get there early to warm up, my other son and I walk around the field until the game starts. It is wonderful bonding time.
Best kids Fitbit
Fitbit Zip is a great gift idea for kids
I can never think of what to get my kids for the holidays or birthdays as we are all blessed with more than we need. I still want it to be fun and have them be excited about something to open, especially while they are younger and it is still a magical time. And we know how it gets even harder to think of something as the kids outgrow playing with toys. It seems electronics and gift cards are the only things we can think of. While it is an electronic, the Fitbit Zip makes a great gift and a great Fitbit for kids or anyone in your family.
Fitbit motivates you to walk more
At night, when one of us realizes we haven’t reached 10,000 steps or just wants more steps or is in a Fitbit competition, that person will often walk around the block or wherever, just to get more steps. We were not an especially fit family before, and this has been a positive, fun way for us to be more active and to spend more time together as a family.
Most of all, I love to see how proud my children are when they excitedly tell me and my husband how many steps they got each day. Not only are they proud, they are tired and get excellent sleep too, which is great for everyone.
Best Fitbit for kids
It was surprising to learn my kids’ friends don’t already own Fitbits. I live in an area where kids have the latest “everything.” In addition to every family we know owning iPads and other tablets, most of the families also own several different television gaming units — PlayStation, Wii U, Xbox, etc. My kids didn’t get an iTouch or an iPad or an iAnything of their own for the holidays, like all their friends seemed to. So it really struck me as very surprising that I did not know one child who owned a Fitbit except my own. Why didn’t they?
I know at first I was hesitant because I didn’t want to place too much of an emphasis on calories. Sure, we always talk about healthy foods and making healthy choices, but I didn’t want them growing up tracking and measuring and monitoring everything they do like adults often do. Sometimes too much of an emphasis on this kind of stuff backfires and children grow up becoming overweight or developing eating disorders.
I definitely didn’t want anything like this to happen. Growing up when I did, in the 70’s and 80’s, we walked and rode our bikes for fun or out of necessity, not for exercise. I was active on my roller skates and had fun shooting baskets in my driveway because I enjoyed it, not to burn more calories.
Why Fitbit is good for kids
This is still the case for my kids. We don’t talk about the calories they burned; it’s just not an issue. Steps. Miles. How did they do today and this week compared to yesterday or last week? Who has the most steps after school? Who will get the most steps this weekend in the Weekend Warrior challenge? They often want to beat their own personal best. It’s just fun!
Is Fitbit accurate?
I liken it to the scale. If you weigh yourself on the same scale every day at the same time of day in the same type of clothing, etc., you will be able to see a trend. It’s the same with Fitbit. Perhaps it is not 100% perfect and accurate, but because you will be using the same one, day in and day out, you will certainly be able to track your activity and know what your “normal” is and when you do more than that.
If you just walked a few hundred steps in a day, never leaving your home, sitting around all day, you would see the difference if you took a half hour walk as well. Because you will be using the same Fitbit all the time, you will be able to tell if you did more day by day, week by week.
Fitbit makes it really easy to set up the device to your laptop, smartphone or tablet. You input your age, height and weight so it can more accurately track your calories and your stride to measure your distance traveled.
Fitbit Zip battery easy to change
Another great thing about the Fitbit Zip is the batteries last between five and six months and are surprisingly easy to change. Simple steps to changing the Fitbit Zip’s battery:
- Gently slide the Zip out of it’s case/holder
- Take a coin (dime and penny work easily) and put it in the indentation and turn it to the left
- Take out the used battery and place new battery inside
- Place the cover back on and twist the triangle back so it is facing the lock position (“at 12 o’clock”)
- Put Fitbit back in case
Overall Fitbit pros and cons
One overall Fitbit PRO: Should you or your child get a different Fitbit, either a different model or another one of the same kind, your data remains. Therefore, all the steps you accumulated will still be associated with your account.
One overall Fitbit CON: One of the only downsides I can think of about Fitbit for kids is that they most likely won’t want to or be able to use their Fitbit while they are playing organized sports. My kids know this and are fine with it but for some kids, this may be a de-motivator. If my kids can’t wear it a few hours a day, they are okay with it because they don’t want it to break.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You need a separate device for each Fitbit
For each Fitbit activity tracker you purchase, you need a separate electronic device to sync it to. Meaning, you cannot attach your Fitbit and your child’s Fitbit on your smartphone. You need two separate devices. This is important to remember when buying a kids Fitbit.
Do your steps stay with you when you change Fitbits?
Yes! If you get a new Fitbit, like we did when Fitbit sent us a new Fitbit Zip, or if you switch Fitbits, like I did when I changed from the Fitbit Flex to the Fitbit Zip, your data stays with your account. All of your steps and miles stay with you which is great!
Fitbit comparison: What Fitbit is best?
Our family of four has owned three types of Fitbits. Here’s what I like and don’t like about each kind of Fitbit.
Fitbit Zip Review
Who in my family uses it: My two sons and I each own one.
How do you wear it: Clip it to your pocket or waistband or put it in your pants pocket.
Pros and Cons of Fitbit Zip
PROS of Fitbit Zip: Right on the tracker, the Zip can display the time, the steps you took, calories expended, and the distance you traveled. It’s great for kids at recess to check their steps and the time. What’s great is that you decide what you want to be displayed on the Fitbit Zip’s screen. You set it up from the electronic device you sync it to. Therefore, if you don’t want your child to be concerned with calories, you can omit it from the screen.
Once you sync with your electronic device, it capture all of the data (steps, calories, distance) and will also display your number of active minutes (minutes in continuous motion, like walking with a purpose or playing tag or soccer at recess).
More great things about the Fitbit Zip
You can also add food and water consumption though we’ve never used this feature. It counts pedaling a bike as steps. Another great thing is that it uses a 3V coin battery that lasts up to 6 months! You don’t have to ever charge the Fitbit Zip! When you sync your Fitbit you can see how full the battery is. It is the least expensive of all the Fitbit models. This is a great Fitbit for kids for so many reasons.
CONS of Fitbit Zip: It would be nice if there was a light to see this in the dark but this is a minor complaint. Another thing, and this isn’t anything to do with the Fitbit brand — and it’s the same for the Fitbit One — is you have to remember to remove it from your clothing so it doesn’t get put in the wash. Perhaps if you bought it in a color other than black it would be easier to remember. There are some companies who sell a band to wear on your wrist which fits the Fitbit Zip. We haven’t tried them but they are on Amazon. So this would be a great option and would remove this “problem” from the “cons” list!
Other points about the Fitbit Zip
COLORS: Fitbit Zip comes in charcoal (black), magenta, lime, and midnight blue.
TIP: When you buy your Fitbit Zip, just buy an extra battery (3V coin battery, CR2025) to go with it so you will have it. Then when you replace the battery, just buy another one. I’ve also purchased the generic Fitbit Zip cases, and they work just as well as the more expensive, official Fitbit Zip case.
Fitbit Flex vs Fitbit Zip for kids
Having owned both the Fitbit Flex and the Fitbit Zip, I much prefer the less expensive Fitbit Zip. Not only did I not use the extra features the Fitbit Flex offers, I like to be able to see right on the Fitbit Zip’s screen how many steps I’ve acquired, instead of checking my smart phone multiple times a day. Learn more about Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip and Fitbit vs Jawbone to make your choice. Hands down, the best Fitbit for kids is the Fitbit Zip.
Fitbit Flex Review – aka Fitbit band or Fitbit bracelet
Who in my family uses it: Me, the mom. (Update: I have switched to the Fitbit Zip! See above.)
How you wear it: Around your wrist; it secures with a clasp
PROS of Fitbit Flex: It counts steps; miles, calories, number of active minutes, can monitor sleep; you can input additional exercise; can input food and water intake; it lasts 4 – 7 days before needing a charge; there are up to 5 dots that will light up on your wrist when you tap it– each dot represents 2,000 steps you took that day; it vibrates when you reach 10,000 steps; easy to change bands to a different color; it has been a great conversation starter when you see someone wearing the Fitbit Flex or another Fitbit on the wrist like the Fitbit Charge.
CONS of Fitbit Flex: It doesn’t have a display so I was constantly looking at my smartphone on the Fitbit app to see how many steps I acquired. I was always wondering if it counts steps if I don’t swing my arm, like when I’m carrying bags. It doesn’t count steps when bicycling. It needs to be charged every 4 – 7 days. If I forget to charge it at night, I feel like I have “wasted steps” when it is charging and not logging my activity. Some people might not like having this on their wrist all the time though it didn’t bother me. You also should wipe down the band every week or so.
COLORS: Fitbit Flex comes in 10 colors: black, slate, blue, red, navy, teal, tangerine, violet, pink, and lime.
Fitbit One Review
Who in my family uses it: Husband
How you wear it: Clip it to your pocket or waistband or put it in or on your pant pocket. (For the picture, he had it clipped with the display showing. But normally he has it clipped on his pocket with the Fitbit inside his pocket)
Types of Fitbit models
Here are the current models of Fitbit trackers available:
- Fitbit Zip
- Fitbit Flex 2
- Fitbit One
- Fitbit Charge
- Fitbit Charge 2
- Fitbit Charge HR
- Fitbit Surge
- Fitbit Blaze – The Fitbit Blaze is a watch model and not a clip. It is the newest one to be released and is now available. Check out the price here.
- Fitbit Alta – It’s a fitness wristband that is sleek and stylish. Wristbands are available in metal, leather, and the plastic/rubber style. Fitbit Alta’s capabilities include Auto Exercise Recognition, Reminders to Move, Caller ID, and much more.
- Fitbit Alta HR: This is Fitbit’s latest Fitbit, the Fitbit Alta HR. It’s is a step up from the Fitbit Alta. It tracks sleep stages (light, deep, REM) and also monitors heart rate with its PurePulse Heart Rate technology. Fitbit Alta HR offers all the other features from the original Fitbit Alta. It is now available and will be all the rage. After creating the Fitbit Alta HR, it will be interesting to see what Fitbit comes out with next.
Fitbit’s Reminders to Move
While the Fitbit Zip is awesome and meets our needs, I like how the many of the other Fitbit models offer Reminders to Move. These are brief, encouraging on-screen messages which encourage you to walk around at least 250 steps per hour. These mini goal reminders help keep you active all day long. The Fitbits which offer this function are Flex 2, Alta, Alta HR, Charge, and Blaze. (The Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Zip do not.)Buy Fitbit Alta on Amazon today!
The Fitbit Blaze is worn on the wrist like a watch, and it integrates with your smartphone. It offers everything you need to track your fitness, your daily activity, and your sleep. Like the Fitbit Flex, the Blaze uses a battery that recharges and lasts approximately five days. You can change out the wrist straps to customize your look.
Fitbit’s Blaze is one of the most expensive Fitbit models to date. (Fitbit Surge is the most expensive.) Fitbit Blaze wouldn’t be a Fitbit for kids, and I would definitely recommend buying a less expensive Fitbit to see how you use and like it and what features you will use before spending this much for the “deluxe” model.
Some employers offer incentives for using Fitbit
Two of my friends mentioned how their employers offer them gift cards and discounted prices on their health insurance when they use their Fitbit enough. Their spouse and kids can use Fitbits too and get credit. Can you imagine getting paid to exercise? In this day and age of high turnover, it impressed me that some companies are still investing in their employees’ and their employees’ families’ health and well being. And then there is UNICEF helping kids help kids in impoverished nations.
Ways to get healthier
Once you start to get more activity into your daily routine, you will start eating better too. Our family loves our NutriBullet and our fruit infused water bottles. They are great ways to get more vegetables and fruits into our diets. Having a Fitbit for kids can change many of your habits for the better.
Fitbit with a Clip
My kids love owning the Fitbit with a clip instead of it being on their wrist. It’s also more discreet and less apt to be a distraction while they are in school. The least expensive Fitbit with a clip is the Fitbit Zip. This is a great entry level Fitbit and a great Fitbit for kids, especially if you’re not sure if your child will enjoy using it. (On the plus side, if he/she doesn’t like it, you will easily find someone who would love to use it… even yourself!)
It has the basics of what’s necessary to keep you motivated: It counts steps, distance traveled and shows calories burned right on the screen. After syncing it to your device (smartphone, etc.) there are other features, including how many minutes you were active/in continuous motion.
Watch Fitbit for kids
If you (or your child) gets a Fitbit Clip and you want to wear it on your wrist, there are products, not Fitbit brands, which enable you to do so. See them here.
Fitbit for kids on vacation
Will you and your family be walking a lot on your vacation? Make sure you are wearing your Fitbit. My kids love tracking their steps, especially on our Legoland California trip and other places where we are walking a lot.
Kids Fitbit in the washing machine
First instance: After my son’s Fitbit Zip was in the washing machine for approximately 20-25 minutes, he realized it was on his shorts. (Rarely do I do laundry right after my kids shower, so this has never happened before!) The Fitbit was still clipped to his shorts. We took it out, and dried it off. We were excited to see it had acquired over 2,000 “steps.” Even better: It still works!
Second instance: It happened again! I washed the same Fitbit again. This time it was in the washing machine for the full cycle in cold water. It was the “quick cycle” which is 38 minutes. I put the shorts on the drying rack to air dry so the Fitbit wasn’t in the dryer. The next day I was folding clothes and saw the Fitbit on the shorts.
It showed the wrong time but I was stunned to see it displayed anything! I took out the battery and let the Fitbit air out and dry out. Hours later my son synced it. The time was still wrong but we were happy the next day that it was correct. It most likely self-corrected at midnight. (Strangely, it hadn’t acquired steps in the washing machine!)
Fitbit becomes a hobby
Much like kids collecting Pokemon cards and other trading cards for kids, owning a Fitbit almost becomes a hobby. What a better hobby to have than staying healthy and active?
Great gift idea Fitbit for kids
Fitbit Zip is a great kid version Fitbit. It is affordable and convenient for kids to check the time, their daily steps, and their miles traveled. Fitbit gets my kids away from electronics and encourages our family to be more active. It also keeps us even more connected. It’s so small and portable, it becomes part of their routine, just like when they carry their fidget cube with them at all times.
Can you tell my family loves wearing our Fitbits? Who knew this little activity tracking device could have such a positive impact on our family? Since our family has owned Fitbits and become a Fitbit family, I cannot say enough about them.
I truly believe the Fitbit Zip makes an excellent Fitbit for kids. Fitbit promotes friendly competition with each person trying to do their personal best, and it let’s our kids shine. #fitbitforkids #fitbitzip #greatgiftidea #fitbit