Little kids can't tell time. Slightly older kids can tell time, but they sometimes have trouble connecting the numbers on the clock to what they're supposed to be doing throughout the day. Meet a watch that attempts to solve both of these problems. By using the affiliate links in this article, you're helping to keep Busy Nest News going. Thanks for your support!
Over the last several months, it has become clear that Monkey is not the type of child who puts herself on a schedule. Meals, naps, bedtime and everything else all need to be imposed upon her. However, just because she’s bad at creating a schedule for herself doesn’t mean she doesn’t need one. In fact, she thrives on a fairly rigid daily schedule. Sometimes we get doing things on the weekends that are so fun that we don’t want to make her take a nap right after lunch. This is always a mistake; an hour after her nap was supposed to start, she is hyper and belligerent. So now we know, she needs to stick to her routine in order to be her best self. The problem is that I’m not great at sticking to a routine, either, despite knowing that I thrive under one, as well.
This all came to a head as we spent the last year trying to follow any potty training method. It looks like our best bet will be to just make her sit on the toilet at regular intervals, until all the pieces fall into place and she starts doing it on her own. But Mommy is not doing a great job of getting her on the potty regularly, and the alarms of traditional timers get her too worked up to try.
Knowing all of this, Monkey’s grandma got her an Octopus Watch. It is a watch that works with an app on our phones to tell Monkey what time it is, and alert her to regular transitions throughout the day. The watch uses simple icons to indicate the next activity and vibrations to alert the wearer that it’s time to do what’s next. Additionally, the app used to program the watch also sends push notifications to the parents’ phones, saying “It’s 7:30, Monkey should be brushing her teeth.” With over 700 icons from which to choose, you can just about put micromanaging your child’s schedule on autopilot, including chores, meal times, free time, and yes, potty time. It also has a button which, when held down, shows an ICE (In Case of Emergency) page. I used this page to write out, basically all the same details as are on our dog’s tags; name, parents’ names, phone numbers. You could also use it to note allergies or medications, but only as a backup to more obvious medical alert accessories. The Octopus Watch does not track steps, nor does it make calls or track a child’s location in the event that they wander off or get kidnapped. It’s just for learning about time and instilling good habits.
So how is it working for us? Let’s start with Monkey’s take. First of all, she takes what those icons tell her to do as gospel. There’s a train on the screen? Guess I’d better play with my trains and blocks. A toothbrush? Time to brush my teeth. A coat? Time to get ready for our walk. So that’s pretty great. Except, she doesn’t really like to wear the watch. It fits her, but it’s still this bulky silicone thing that she isn’t used to wearing on her wrist, so it doesn’t stay on for very long, but she likes to keep it on a table and look at it throughout the day. Are there smart pocket watches for kids? Never mind, I forgot! Girls don’t get to have pockets on their clothes, so let’s not let her think that will be a thing for much longer. Anyway, Monkey loves the idea of the watch, and she heeds its instructions as they come...when she’s aware of them, which she often isn’t, because she refuses to wear the watch all day (for now).
How is the Octopus Watch working out for me? I’m still playing with crafting her the perfect routine, but I’m really enjoying the push notifications to my phone, which help keep me on track, too. It’s really fun picking out the right icon for the activity, too, which might go a ways to explain why scheduling her day is taking so long; choosing the icons is probably the hardest part. I do have some problems with how the watch functions. It has to be charged almost daily. If it’s fully charged in the morning, it will survive all day and all night, but it will die before noon the next day. My own smartwatch is battery operated, so I’m not used to charging watches. If the watch dies, after you charge it you have to sync it to your phone again, because it will wake up proclaiming it to be some random time. I started charging the watch over night, but then I forget to give it to Monkey. In order to sync the watch, you have to find the right screen in the app, and plug in the watch. It’s a little frustrating trying to do that while your kid is standing there, asking to have her watch back. All of this can be solved if you also get the adorable Octopus charging companion, which doubles as a nightlight.
A few more notes about the Octopus Watch. Its simplicity (no touch screen and only one button) is kind of its super power. While it’s colorful and fun, it won’t allow itself to become another distraction, either. The size range on the strap is pretty good. It fits Monkey on one of the smallest holes, and it fits me on the largest. Note: I do have tiny wrists that prevent me from buying bracelets more often than not, but by the time your kid has bigger wrists than I, they’ll be asking for a real smart watch. Important to know: the Octopus Watch has the strongest vibration I have felt from smart tech pretty much ever! I wore it one day, and I think I jumped the first time I went off. If your child is NOT OK with things that vibrate, I strongly suggest taking the vibration off your alerts, which is easily done in the app. Remember, you’ll still get push notifications to your phone, so you can remind them to check their watch.
We’re going to give the Octopus Watch four eggs. It’s a really great idea, and my spirited kid is more than willing to listen to its commands, but she isn’t willing to wear it. I know the silicone band is antimicrobial and all, but it’s just too thick to be comfortable on her little wrists for now. So while we’re enjoying the functions of the watch, we’re a little dismayed that we can’t take full advantage of it just yet. I'll update later if we can find a strap that Monkey will tolerate now. If you have a child that needs help staying on track throughout the day, especially if they’re school aged, this will be a very good watch for them. The reviews on Octopus’s website indicate that it is being enjoyed by kids around three or four, and by children who are in therapy for ADD and other special needs.
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