Fitness trackers like Fitbit have become hugely popular among adults wanting to monitor their activity levels and overall health. Now Fitbit and other brands are making activity trackers explicitly designed for kids.
For parents, a Fitbit for kids can seem like an excellent way to encourage more exercise and healthy habits. But there are also some concerns around potential overuse or obsession with stats at a young age.
In this complete guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about finding the best Fitbit for your kid. We’ll discuss the top recommended models, features to look for, pros and cons of usage, tips for parents, and a final verdict on if Fitbits are a good fit for your family.
Top Recommended Fitbits for Kids
When it comes to choosing a Fitbit for your child, you’ll want to consider their age, maturity level, and what features are most useful. Fitbit currently makes two activity trackers designed specifically for kids aged 6 and up – the Fitbit Ace 3 and Ace 2. There is also the Inspire 2 that can work for older children.
Fitbit Ace 3
The Fitbit Ace 3 is the latest kids’ activity tracker from Fitbit, released in 2021. It builds on the success of the popular Ace 2 by adding some new motivational features.
Some key specs and highlights of the Ace 3:
- Activity tracking for steps, active minutes, and sleep
- Swimproof design for use in the pool
- 5 day battery life on a single charge
- Bright, easy-to-read touchscreen display
- Adjustable silicone band fits wrists 6.2″-8.7″
- New animated clock faces to personalize
- Fun motivational messages and celebrations
- Reminders to move and bonus challenges
- Affordable price around $80
In reviews, the Ace 3 scores points for its straightforward operation, long-lasting battery, and kid-friendly motivational features. The touchscreen gives it a high-tech feel that kids love. It lacks built-in GPS and heart rate tracking found on adult Fitbits though.
Compared to the Ace 2, the Ace 3 has some nice upgrades like the animated clock faces, touchscreen display, and motivational messages. But it’s not a huge leap forward. Overall the Fitbit Ace 3 is a solid choice as a first fitness tracker for most school-age kids.
Fitbit Ace 2
The Fitbit Ace 2 was released in 2019 as an updated version of the original Fitbit Ace. It’s a wrist-based activity tracker designed for kids aged 6 and up.
Some key features and specs:
- Tracks steps, active minutes and sleep
- Swimproof for pool use
- 5 day battery life
- Tap display shows stats and clock
- Adjustable silicone band fits wrists 5.5″-7.1″
- Set step goals and earn on-screen celebrations
- View stats and monitor activity with the parent app
- Typically costs around $70
Reviews found the Ace 2 to be durable and capable for basic kids’ activity tracking. It provides rewards and motivation to keep kids active. The downsides are the lack of GPS and limited smartwatch capabilities versus competitors.
While the newer Ace 3 has some incremental upgrades, the Ace 2 remains a solid option – especially if found at a discounted price. It covers the core fitness tracking features most kids need.
Other Fitbit Options for Older Kids
Fitbit Inspire 2
While designed for adults, the Fitbit Inspire 2 can also work well for older kids and teens looking for a slim and stylish fitness tracker.
Some key features of the Inspire 2 that make it a good Fitbit for kids include:
- Tracks steps, distance, active minutes and sleep
- Automatically recognizes exercise like runs and bike rides
- Provides personalized daily step count goals
- Can set timer and stopwatch functions
- 5 day battery life on a single charge
- Swimproof for use in water up to 50 meters
- Interchangeable accessory bands in various colors
- Relatively affordable price around $100
The slim, lightweight design appeals to kids who don’t want a bulky tracker on their wrist. And it has core activity tracking features to encourage hitting daily fitness goals. Downsides are the lack of GPS and no social motivation features tailored for youth.
Overall, the Inspire 2 offers a middle ground between a basic Fitbit for kids like the Ace and a full smartwatch. It’s best suited for responsible tweens or teens who want a stylish tracker to monitor activity and athletic progress.
Fitbit Versa 2
For teens who want a more smartwatch-style Fitbit with advanced features, the Fitbit Versa 2 is a good option to consider.
Some key aspects that make it a nice Fitbit for older kids include:
- Activity, sleep and exercise tracking with in-depth stats
- Built-in Amazon Alexa for voice assistance
- Listen to music and podcasts offline
- Fitbit Pay for contactless payments
- Apps like Starbucks, Uber, and weather
- 6+ day battery life in smartwatch mode
With its large touchscreen and mic/speaker, the Versa 2 has much more of a smartwatch feel compared to the Ace. It provides fitness tracking and motivation with extra tech features teens will appreciate. The main downside is the high price around $180.
In summary, the Versa 2 offers one of the most advanced and full-featured Fitbit experiences tailored for active teens who want a fitness tracker meets smartwatch. It provides detailed stats to track athletic goals alongside today’s on-the-go tech capabilities.
Key Features to Look for in a Fitbit for Kids
When selecting the right Fitbit model for your child, there are a few key features to keep in mind:
A good Fitbit for kids should track steps taken, distance covered, active minutes, hourly activity and sleep. Make sure the tracker captures all the main metrics you want your child to monitor.
Goal Setting and Motivation
Models like the Ace 3 and Ace 2 allow you to set step goals, earn celebratory badges and compete in family challenges. These gamification features are important to motivate young users.
Look for a Fitbit for Kids that is fully swimproof so your child can wear it in the pool or ocean without worrying. This allows more versatile usage.
5-7 Day Battery Life
Avoid needing to charge your child’s Fitbit every night. Look for trackers offering 5+ days of battery life on a single charge like the Ace and Inspire models.
You’ll want to be able to manage settings, view activity stats, set usage limits and more. Fitbit’s family accounts and app give you oversight.
Comfortable and Adjustable Band
Make sure the Fitbit uses a flexible, breathable silicone band that can tighten as your child’s wrist grows. Removable bands are also useful.
Prioritize the features that will be most useful for your family’s needs and fitness goals. The best Fitbit for kids provides just enough functionality without going overboard on fancy extras.
Benefits of Fitbit for Kids
There are a number of potential benefits that come with getting your child a Fitbit activity tracker including:
Promotes Daily Physical Activity
Wearing a Fitbit can motivate kids to get more active and move throughout the day to hit daily step and exercise goals. It makes fitness fun through goal tracking and celebrations.
Improves Sleep Habits
The sleep tracking features allow both parents and kids to monitor sleep duration and quality. This helps foster healthier sleep habits.
Builds Healthy Habits
Using a Fitbit helps kids become more aware of daily behaviors like activity levels, nutrition, and sleep patterns. It gets them focused on overall wellness.
Fitbits inspire kids to get outside and play to reach step counts and active minute goals. The trackers turn exercise into a rewarding game.
Letting kids manage their own Fitbit builds responsibility and independence in monitoring personal health metrics. It’s a safe introduction to wearable technology.
Fosters Family Bonding
Parental controls allow you to participate in your child’s Fitbit experience through family challenges, reviewing stats and more. It promotes healthy competition and bonding.
The right Fitbit model can provide many benefits for kids in terms of developing healthy habits, improved fitness, independence and family engagement. Just be sure to set appropriate expectations and limitations when getting your child setup with a Fitbit for kids.
Concerns and Considerations with Fitbit for Kids
While activity trackers like Fitbit for Kids provide many benefits, there are some concerns parents should consider including:
Constant monitoring of a tracker display can mean excessive screen time for kids. Set limits and remind them that play doesn’t require technology.
Obsession with Stats
Some kids may get too focused on step counts, badges and goals. Emphasize well-rounded health, not just high numbers.
Family fitness challenges are fun but can get too competitive. Make them collaborative not cutthroat.
Will kids become dependent on the tracker feedback versus intrinsic motivation? Allow tracker-free time.
What data is being collected and shared from the Fitbit device and app? Adjust privacy settings accordingly.
Need for Balance
While great for encouraging activity, trackers shouldn’t replace free play, socializing, and other non-technology activities kids need.
With proper parental guidance, you can maximize the advantages of a Fitbit for kids while minimizing potential downsides. As with any technology, moderation is key.
Tips for Using Fitbits with Your Kids
Here are some best practices for parents to get the most out of the Fitbit experience with your child:
Set Flexible Goals
Work with your child to set reasonable step, sleep and activity goals based on their age and abilities. Make them more fun than firm.
Focus on Overall Health
While targets are useful, emphasize developing overall healthy habits not just hitting high numbers. Make sure your child stays balanced.
Personalize the Experience
Let your child pick their Fitbit model, accessory bands, clock face designs and goal milestones to increase engagement.
Review the Stats Together
Sit down with your kid daily or weekly to review their Fitbit stats and progress. Offer encouragement and guidance.
Role Model Fitness
Be a role model by wearing and actively using your own Fitbit. Children will mirror your lead.
Use Parental Controls
Take advantage of Fitbit’s parental oversight features around usage limits, privacy controls and managing your child’s account.
Set No-Tracker Time
Ensure your child takes breaks from their Fitbit each day or in certain situations to focus on device-free play.
With the right approach, Fitbit for Kids can be a great tool for encouraging kids’ fitness and responsibility. Just remember that it’s one part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Top Alternative Kids’ Activity Trackers
While Fitbit for Kids dominates the kids’ activity tracking market, there are some alternatives worth considering including:
Garmin vívofit jr – Offers fun themes and puzzles to motivate activity. Has a 1+ year battery life. Lacks swim tracking. Around $80.
UNICEF Kid Power Band – Kid-friendly tracker that unlocks games and helps feed malnourished children when goals are met. No screen. $40.
VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch – Mix of activity tracking with tools like a camera and games. More of a smartwatch than a fitness tracker. $55.
New Balance Tracker – Budget fitness band focused just on step counting. Lacks many bells and whistles. Around $30.
LeapFrog LeapBand – Popular activity tracker for younger kids with virtual pet features. Does not sync to smartphones. $20.
Competitor Comparison Chart
|Fitbit Ace 3
|Fun motivation, swim-proof, great app
|No GPS, basic display
|Garmin vivofit jr
|1+ yr battery, family challenges
|No swim tracking
|Games for good deed, no screen
|Very simple, no app
|More smartwatch, camera, games
|Short battery life
While Fitbit for Kids is likely still the best bet for most parents looking for an activity tracker for their child, these alternatives offer cheaper options or unique features that certain families may prefer.
The key is choosing the right device based on your kid’s age, what motivates them, and your fitness tracking needs. Any fitness tracker for kids should ultimately be treated as one part of building healthy habits.
Final Verdict: Are Fitbits Good for Kids?
So what’s the final verdict on getting your child a Fitbit? Here are some closing recommendations:
Great for Ages 8+
For responsible, mature kids 8 years old and up, a Fitbit for Kids can be an excellent tool to promote healthy habits and independence. The stats provide motivation and accountability.
Use With Moderation
Limit your child’s time staring at the Fitbit screen and make sure activity tracking doesn’t replace real play and socializing. Moderation is key.
Consider Alternatives for Younger Ages
For children under 8, more basic trackers without screens like UNICEF’s may be better. Fitbits may be too distracting or competitive.
Complement Healthy Lifestyle
While Fitbits motivate activity, make sure kids have a balanced lifestyle with good sleep, nutrition and emotional health too. Don’t over-focus on stats.
Utilize Parental Controls
Take advantage of Fitbit’s family accounts, privacy settings, and usage limits to provide appropriate oversight for your child.
Have Realistic Expectations
Fitbit for Kids can encourage fitness but won’t magically make your child love exercise overnight. Have fun with it and allow progress to take time.
The right Fitbit for kids used properly can have many benefits in terms of promoting healthy habits, improved fitness and responsibility. As with any technology, some caution is required, but Fitbits can certainly be a positive part of your child’s routine.