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You want to give your child more freedom but still keep an eye on things, keep track of how much your child sleeps, or motivate you for certain tasks, doing homework or doing the dishes.
All these things are possible with a smartwatch for kids and even more!
Our absolute favorite is this one Garmin Vivofit Jr 3† The uncomplicated settings of this Garmin are top notch, anyone can use it (even grandma and grandpa!), and yet it has very good options.
I'll go through all this with you because for this review we tested and compared 30 kids smartwatches to finally be able to recommend these top 7 choices.
For example, the Garmin does not have a GPS dus if you a SmartWatch If you want to buy to track your child, read on for some other great options (plus all the important options you may need and how to choose from them).
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What we discuss in this comprehensive post:
- 1 Kids Smartwatch Buying Guide
- 2 Best 7 Kids Smartwatches Reviewed
- 3 How we picked the best smartwatches for kids
- 4 Conclusion
Kids Smartwatch Buying Guide
There are a number of key features of a kids smartwatch that you want to pay attention to.
There are a ton of smartwatch models on the market today that cater specifically to kids, some with fun games and/or support for educational apps.
With a smartwatch they can play games and track their activity themselves, but you can also keep an eye on your child's location if you want (so you can be sure of their safety).
You may not find every important because you use the watch for a different purpose, but in general these things are important:
A watch with a bell function can be very useful for your child. Most people therefore opt for a smartwatch because their child is just not ready for their own phone.
They want to be able to get in touch with their child and vice versa.
This biggest expense for smartwatches is the monthly bill (if it requires a cellular plan). You also need a SIM card for almost every GPS smartwatch and these are usually not included.
When considering which smartwatch to buy, read the specs carefully to find out how it affects your phone bill.
Some smartwatches also use the data from your mobile subscription and that can quickly become expensive.
In addition, parts can be expensive. Many smartwatches come with a battery, but some need to be replaced from time to time.
Again, read the specs carefully so you know what you need for the smartwatch.
The smartwatch does not have to be on the same network as your mobile phone. Some smartwatches only work on specific networks (such as T-Mobile or a private network), but that doesn't mean your personal cellular plan has to go through that network.
If you don't need a calling function or GPS, you don't need a SIM card either, which saves a lot of money.
Many smartwatches have an app that allows you to connect to your smartphone to play games or music.
If you only use it for those kinds of functions, you don't need a subscription.
You use the app to sync with the smartwatch contacts and to activate parental controls.
No. A smartwatch is considered a smart accessory that works with your smartphone. Depending on the kind of smartwatch you have, you can connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, so it doesn't need its own service plan. Some watches can use a data plan for video calling or streaming music.
The best smartwatches for kids are those that have GPS tracking, SOS buttons, and other features designed especially for kids. But not all of them have that!
A 2019 study shows that tracking a child can undermine feelings of trust and bonding. In fact, it can become counterproductive and come to a point where the child no longer takes it. This risk, in my opinion, is perhaps much more serious than those leading parents who follow their children in the first place
Nevertheless, a GPS function can be useful to use in emergency situations.
Compatibility with your phone
Most smartwatches are compatible with most mobile phones. You download an app on your phone that is specific to your child's smartwatch. Very occasionally a smartwatch is only suitable for Android or only for iOS, that's the only thing you have to pay attention to.
Even if the smartwatch is connected through a different carrier, it can probably still make and receive calls and be controlled by your own mobile phone.
Battery life is important. Some smartwatches are made to last, but don't have that many smart functions.
These are, for example, the fitness tracker watches that cannot make and receive calls.
These can have up to a few days or even a few weeks of battery life.
This is useful if your child (or you) sometimes forgets to charge the watch at night.
The watches that can make and receive calls and have a GPS function last a lot shorter. Here it is important that they last at least more than 12 hours, preferably 20 hours.
Otherwise, your child will run out of battery halfway through the day.
In particular, the watches with a call function can store quite a bit of information on the device. Even when they send messages with it, they can easily be read by hackers.
In the past, the smartwatches were not yet encrypted at all, so anyone could access them. It is still important to pay attention to this because cheap models sometimes save on this.
All the watches on our list have encrypted information because this is a really essential point.
A children's smartwatch is much more than just a timepiece. Modern benefits include fitness tracking to encourage your child to get outside and be active, GPS tracking so you always know where they are, and in some cases even the ability to make and receive calls.
There are often a lot of fun games to play, and then there is the gamification element.
By achieving certain goals, kids receive a 'reward' - for example a new game or a new avatar.
This can be linked to tasks, such as homework or brushing your teeth. In this way, parents can motivate children to take more responsibilities, with a kind of play element attached to it.
Not unimportant for children, but how well can the watch take a beating?
Many of the features on this list are what one wants and the other doesn't, such as GPS or games. However, sustainability is always important.
A watch for children often has a sturdy bumper protection and the buckles and other attachments must also be able to withstand a knock.
A lot will be torn and sanded along the way with playing outside.
As the child gets older, these features become less important and you will also see watches that are more like those of adults without a silicone shell.
Whatever you're looking for, these are the best watches for any of these purposes:
Best 7 Kids Smartwatches Reviewed
Garmin Vivofit Jr 3
- Check their activities on your own mobile
- Best system to promote ACTIVE GAME
- Gives responsibility for chores around the house or exercise
- Not a full-fledged children's smartwatch, rather an activity tracker
- Best for: boisterous kids, this is the most durable on the list and can take a beating
- GPS: no, this one is not to follow your child
- Waterproof: yes, up to 50 meters!
- Battery life: the built-in battery lasts for a year (says the manufacturer, but if you use it properly it is about 7 months). Interim charging is not necessary.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 is made to active promote game.
It is not a full-fledged smartwatch but an activity tracker for children, completely made to allow your child to carry out their activities and tasks with full enthusiasm.
They encourage this by unlocking games and other rewards with challenging games and badges (ah, that gamification), and what child doesn't want this?
This is one of those watches that can give your child more responsibility over their movement, and can also show that even doing household chores doesn't have to be boring.
As a parent you can read everything in the app. How much they move, but also at what time your child goes to sleep, whether he or she is awake a lot during the night and at what time they get up.
It is not just there for entertainment and exercise. You can also set reminders and use the task timers.
This way your child can take the first steps to better organize and plan his own life, such as homework, tutoring and brushing their teeth!
Thanks to this smartwatch, children will learn to live a structured and meaningful life which is extremely important for their general development and future!
Perhaps the only downside to this pedometer is that it lacks the heart rate monitor. A bit strange actually, because it contains many other health functions.
On the other hand, a heart rate monitor is killing a battery, so that's why it lasts so long without having to replace it.
If you want a more active child and at the same time give them more responsibility for their own lives and their tasks, the Garmin is perfect.
In terms of look, this version 3 looks more like a smartwatch than the Vivofit Jr 2 for the first time.
The design also makes it feel sturdier, and you have a larger display to see important notifications and tracking activities.
- Make and receive calls if something is wrong (INCLUDING ALARM BUTTON!)
- Limited who they can call
- You can track their movements with GPS
- Not cheap
- Bit big for younger kids
Best and Most Reliable Safe Features
- Best for: if you want more control over where your child is, while at the same time making sure they can call in an emergency.
- GPS: ja!
- Waterproof: yes, up to a maximum of 1 meter
- Battery life: The battery lasts a long time, the manufacturer says, but we all know that the GPS drains your battery ... so especially in the evening on the charger.
This smartwatch is actually the best replacement for a mobile phone, but do put a SIM card in it.
The Xplora X5 Play Smartwatch allows you to video chat (requires WiFi or data plan) or make calls (call plan only). You hear each other clearly and the sound quality is good.
Also important in a good smartwatch with GPS is the real-time localization, which is much more accurate with this 4G than with 2G smartwatches, a nice idea for many parents.
You can even check its location history throughout the day.
It is IPX6 waterproof, the watch will not be damaged by submersion of up to 30 minutes in water, to a depth of up to 1,5 meters.
If your child is in an emergency situation, he can press the SOS button for 3 seconds and 3 SOS numbers will be called in turn (which you have set in advance), until someone answers.
The smartwatch bracelet is made of soft silicone, durable material and comfortable to wear. The smartwatch can certainly take a beating.
When do you buy a mobile phone for your child? 15, 12, 8?
Buying a whole smartphone, with all that this entails, can be a bit too early at your child's age, especially for kids under 10.
This Xplora X5, is a good alternative: a smartwatch for children designed to be able to receive or call you, WITHOUT all the baggage that comes with a mobile phone.
You'll probably need to charge it every day, but continuous use of GPS is very draining on the battery and can drain even after 5 hours.
That is slightly less, so you can't follow your child when he goes to school and back home, but really only when playing outside for an afternoon.
It immediately feels like one of the more expensive watches on the market and it shows that the design has been thought through.
You need a SIM card for mobile phones. You can choose one with or without a data plan to get the most out of the features.
Some of the watches tested were almost inaudible when your child is outside with all the ambient noise, but the speaker and microphone of the Xplora smartwatch 4G are the best we've heard.
There are two reasons to buy the Xplora X5 smartwatch 4G instead of the Garmin Vivofit (the best activity tracker):
- being able to make and receive calls with great audio quality
- the most accurate GPS tracker
Some other watches with GPS trackers weren't as reliable, and that's not what you want.
You can just follow your kids or be alerted when they walk a certain distance from you, or go outside a certain area.
The model that comes closest to the X5 in terms of features is the Xplora Xgo 2 which is slightly cheaper with a slower processor and no camera.
Fitbit Ace 3
- Waterproof, even for swimming
- Multiple fitbits in 1 family are easy to connect
- No heart rate monitor or GPS
- No other activities besides sports
Miniature fitness tracker for slightly older children
- Suitable for: Children who want a watch with Activity tracker
- GPS: No, you cannot follow your child with this
- Water resistant: Yes, up to 50 meters and easy to keep clean
- Battery life: 5 days
This kids smartwatch is designed to track daily steps and make it fun by giving rewards and badges for achieving certain goals (just like the Garmin).
You can create a family unit that not only creates a benign rivalry between you and your children, but also allows you to monitor their progress and make sure they get enough exercise.
The Fitbit Ace 3 is slightly cheaper than the Garmin Vivofit, and besides that it's a lot easier to keep clean.
As a pedometer it is the MOST ACCURATE of all that I have tested, but you can expect that from a Fitbit, right?
He is disappointing in following other tasks, and even other activities. For example, he cannot register that your child is cycling, which can be quite a disadvantage in your family (do you like cycling?).
The battery can last up to 5 days, so that makes it perfect for wearing to school all week.
Fine if you like rechargeable watches more than a battery that you have to replace (although the Garmin Vivofit lasts 7 months).
But here comes the absolute power of the Fitbit Ace. Ready?
You can set up a family account if you all have Fitbits so you can easily view your kids' progress together.
As a family it is important to develop healthy habits together (**oh, am I supposed to lead by example?**). With the Fitbit Ace 3, your kids are guaranteed a healthier life and everyone in the family can participate.
The Ace uses a monochrome OLED touchscreen to display information such as the time, date, total steps for the day and total active time and this saves a lot energy so that it can last a long time.
The screen also displays notifications, so your child is constantly informed of his or her progress; the small animations that took place encouraged children to stay active.
The Fitbit Ace looks more like the old design of the Vivofit Jr 2, and indeed looks more like an activity tracker than a smartwatch.
That can be fun for your kid, and it's a lot narrower too so it doesn't look like a block on their wrist.
The main difference in features is in the battery:
- with the Garmin you get a battery that lasts a very long time, but you eventually have to replace it
- with the Fitbit Ace you get a rechargeable battery, which also lasts quite a long time, but you still have to put it on the charger every 5-8 days
If you are using semen If you want to exercise or do activities, the Fitbit Ace has the best functions for families to interact with challenges together.
But the Garmin Vivofit Jr wins with interactive stimulation for the child itself, because they can earn all kinds of things in the watch itself with parts of the apps that they can then play by doing activities and unlocking them.
Best for text and chat
- Best for: Slightly older children. The Connect Go is a slightly more expensive smartwatch, but the possibilities to keep in touch with the One2Track are even better, thanks to the text function. If you want to be sure of a good connection with your child, this is your best choice.
- GPS: Yes
- Waterproof: showering and water accidents yes. Swimming, no!
- Battery life: (apparently) emptying quickly
- Cooler design for older children (which is also less robust) and of course also in the function to text, because smaller children can certainly not do this yet.
- Phonebook up to 10 phone numbers
- Works all over Europe
As soon as you have charged it, you can give it along, you can install the accompanying app on your phone, so that you can keep track of settings and possibly follow your child.
Another handy option of the app is to immediately see the calling credit of the corresponding SIM card.
You can also top up the credit directly via the app so that your child is never without it in important situations.
The watch is particularly useful for parents who want to offer their child the opportunity to make calls without having to give them a cell phone already.
For example, from the age of 8, where they independently travel great distances in the neighborhood, but are actually still too young for a telephone.
The tracking function is especially useful for slightly younger children, although I would rather go for the Xplora X5 Play for smaller children.
The best smartwatch for your child
- Suitable for: Children who love apps and games
- GPS: No, you cannot follow your child with this
- Water resistant: No, not in the pool with your watch David!
- Battery life: 2 weeks, very long given the full color screen
- This watch has a camera for taking pictures and videos, a motion sensor for tracking activities and has a range of games and apps to use.
- The VTech KidiZoom smartwatch DX2 is improved over its older brother - the DX - because the DX2 has two cameras, for selfies and photos.
- Under the hood, it's also a lot faster, so it can handle updated games and is completely ready for its own Augmented Reality games, just like Pokémon Go.
- This smartwatch is suitable for children from 4 years and can be fun up to a year or 8.
Stimulate creativity with photos and videos that your child can take and edit themselves. With the dual cameras: they can take selfies, record video clips and add filters and effects to their photos and videos
Choose the color of the day with 50+ dial choices
Educational Options: VTech is known for creatively combining fun with learning. This watch offers many learning and logic puzzles
Durable Design: A sturdy watch strap and water-resistant dial (splash-proof, NOT waterproof!) Make this a great option for children who are careless and often bump or fall
USB Connection: Since this watch does not connect to the Internet, it comes with a USB cable to make uploading photos and videos easy
VTech has created the ultimate kids smartwatch, which has a lot of cool features but doesn't cost too much.
It's actually as great a device as the special Vtech kids tablets out there which we wrote about earlier.
You can download all your favorite games and apps to customize your son or daughter's smartwatch.
And since internet connection is not possible on this watch, you can let them play with it with confidence.
What features does the VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2 have?
The features of this DX2 smartwatch are an awful lot:
- two built-in cameras
- editing photos and videos
- color touchscreen with analogue and digital time display and 3D display
- stopwatch - timer - alarm clock - calendar
- built-in motion sensor and pedometer
- voice recording and voice changer
- games (also with AR)
- 256 MB internal memory
- built-in rechargeable battery (including micro USB cable)
- Family Setup (the smartwatch can be set up via a parent's smartphone)
The smartwatch has quite a large memory, of 256 MB: your child will be able to download a lot of games, but also upload his own videos and photos.
He can then share this with a PC, using the supplied USB adapter.
You can therefore easily download all his favorite games, but also apps, on this smartwatch to fully adapt the smartwatch of your son or daughter to his or her taste.
Very nice for your child is that his photos are editable, just like it is possible in Snapchat!
The best educational apps in a smartwatch
As for the educational options, VTech is known for combining fun with learning, in a very creative way.
This watch offers many learning opportunities and also teaches your child to think logically in a playful way.
If your child wants to learn to tell the time, the DX2 will help them too! Your little one can switch the dials between digital and standard dial and the time can be spoken aloud.
Children today - just like us adults - spend far too much time sitting behind a screen, with the children's tablet or behind the computer.
In any case, this watch also takes care of it that your child stays nice and active.
Vtech also has the pedometer and some nice features to boost sports, but they've mostly focused on games, with some active (AR) games, which can add a nice extra dimension (literally!).
It is the most comprehensive and cool smartwatch for your child, due to its many fun functions and educational features.
And fortunately it can take a beating, it has been taken into account that even the younger kids will probably wear this 'smart watch' all day, even while playing outside.
So romping should not be a problem with this watch on your wrist.
With [email protected] Park more games, clock displays and photo effects can be downloaded, how cool is that?
Vtech Kidizoom vs Garmin Vivofit Jr
The Vtech Kidizoom is a good entry into the world of smartwatches for children, especially with its lower price point, but as we said for older children from about 8 years old, important features will be missing.
The Kidizoom is more focused on entertainment with pretty fun apps and games so out of the box, while Garmin's Vivofit is really more focused on activities and encouraging sports and chores by unlocking parts of the apps.
- If you are more focused on educating and stimulating, then the Garmin activity tracker is for you
- Are you more focused on a nice smartwatch for your small child, then the Kidizoom is a better choice
Also read: the best laptops for school or study
A cheap activity tracker with heart rate monitor
- Best for: Older children who especially want to keep track of their sports performance
- GPS: Yes, but you cannot track it on your phone
- Water resistant: Yes, submerged in water for up to 30 minutes
- Battery life: 4 days (manufacturer says 9)
- This one is more suitable for older tweens and teens who are no longer interested in taking selfies and playing games, but looking for a cool watch to measure their athleticism.
- It probably won't appeal to younger kids, but the Amazfit Bip is a great smartwatch for teens interested in walking, running, and more (60 sports fashions!).
- The GPS is good, but not for you to track your child, although a helpful tip is to arrange to have them share their history with you from time to time if you want some control over where they go.
At 31 grams, it is one of the lightest watches, so it won't get in the way, handy for your kids who really go for top sport.
It is compatible with both Android and iOS8 and above and is the first on the market with a good heart rate sensor, while it can also show notifications for calls, texts, emails and other mobile apps.
The app is very convenient to use, but it is essentially an adult watch. You won't find any kid-friendly settings here.
The first version of this Amazfit Bip was sometimes a bit difficult to read. This new version has made huge leaps in the display so that you can now also see your historical performance on the watch and you do not need your phone for everything.
It doesn't have an OLED display, so the brightness can be a bit disappointing, but that's also where its low price tag comes from.
This usually means that you cannot read your watch properly on a sunny day.
And that's exactly when you want to go outside to work out, right?
They solved this by using a transflective color display that can also be seen in bright sunlight.
A waterproof sports watch that is so accurate and also has smart functions such as reading texts and seeing conversations, WOW!
- Best for: Older children, who can really use all the functions
- GPS: Yes
- Water resistant: Yes, swimming in shallow water, but not for diving or water skiing. When your child starts a swimming workout, the watch automatically locks the screen with the water lock.
- Battery life: 18 hours
- diameter: 40 mm
- operating system: iOS
- NFC: yes
- screen type: retina oled
- Compatible with: iOS (and Android)
- built-in GPS
- heart sensor
- always-on altimeter
- fall detection
- automatic calls to emergency services also abroad
- swim-tight up to 50 meters deep
- great price for an apple smartwatch
In addition to the Apple top model, you can opt for a cheaper version for a number of years; the SE Series.
Previously, these models were based on predecessors, but from now on Apple a special middle class of the Apple Watch made, just like the telephone.
With cheaper materials and somewhat fewer functions, such as the ECG function and the Always-on display. Fortunately, fall detection is present!
The Apple Watch SE has an S5 chip, and this model also has the compass, which you may already know from the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5.
The new SE no longer has Force Touch, the pressure-sensitive technology in the screen. If you now want to see additional options, hold your finger on the screen a little longer.
Your child can choose from dozens of workouts with the SE, and this smartwatch keeps track of all your child's exercise and training goals.
The Sleep app helps children to sleep better, your child can make calls, send messages and listen to music right from their wrist.
Once out of the water, the screen must be unlocked by turning the Digital Crown and any water can be removed from it.
*Family Setup allows Apple Watch to be set up through a parent's iPhone without having to use the iPhone afterwards. Previously, it had to be paired with that user's iPhone.
Now, as a parent, you can use your own iPhone to pair multiple watches for kids. But did you know that the V-Tech Kidizoom DX2 also has a Family set up?
How we picked the best smartwatches for kids
We have researched and compared more than thirty different smartwatches for children.
To make sure we've chosen the cream of the crop, we've kept in mind the factors that matter most to parents and children.
For every smartwatch we considered, we looked at things like price, features, functionality, durability, and usability.
In addition to exploring the details of each smartwatch, we also went through online reviews from customers and experts.
It is not easy to choose a smartwatch for your child, because there are so many different functions.
Hopefully this guide has helped you get the most out of your choice.
Also read: the best robots for tech savvy kids
Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?
Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.