Parents have a lot to worry about these days when it comes to their kids. There are times when that seems like all you do. You can envision them getting lost in a crowd, separated from you while traveling, or going in the family pool unsupervised. No wonder your stomach is churning!
Fortunately, there are gadgets available to help ease your anxiety about where your child is and what they’re doing. Let’s look at five of them.
One of the best devices of the day — especially for grade school children — is a smartwatch. Putting one of these on your child’s wrist can go a long way toward easing your mind. A kids phone watch lets you track your child using GPS, and you can even get alerts when they enter and leave “safe zones.” And if their wanderings concern you, they’re just a phone call away.
Better yet, smartwatches for kids don’t include the capabilities you may not want your young kiddo using. They won’t be distracted by games or apps as they cross the street, to say nothing of social media. Tweens and teens, on the other hand, can benefit from a smartwatch with a few more apps on it. Some of these have games and/or small cameras, which older kids will appreciate. With these devices, parents can loosen the reins a bit, while still knowing where their kids are.
2. Tracking Tags
It may sound as though you’re treating your child like checked luggage, and in essence, that’s how these tags or locators work. Nearly identical to the electronic tags used to locate bags, these tracking tags can be sewn or velcroed into clothing or backpacks. Some clip to a belt, slide into a shoe insole, or slip into a pocket. Corresponding apps are then downloaded to work with the tag.
Parents may find these tags make them less worried about their kids when moving through airports, amusement parks, or other crowded places. Often tags are better for younger children, as they won’t have to learn how to use a cellphone. Furthermore, you don’t need to worry about them losing an expensive device like the aforementioned phone or a smartwatch. Some tags will send an alert when your child is out of range and/or let them push a button in an emergency. Using these devices typically involves an accompanying service plan.
3. Home Video Monitoring System
Perhaps you’re leaving your infant at home with a sitter for the first time, or you’ve arranged for in-home daycare. This can be highly stressful for parents. Fortunately, a video monitoring system, commonly known as a “nanny cam,” can come to your rescue. It’s a small remote camera that keeps track of the goings-on in your home.
Nanny cams can be mounted on a wall or placed on a shelf, and they come in different sizes and price points. Some models offer a two-way talk feature, enabling parents to chat with their kids and caregivers. Most are Wi-Fi-enabled and have phone apps.
As kids get older, many parents have found the cameras helpful for monitoring their children’s internet usage. This is especially useful when there is a centrally located computer in the house. Parents are rightly concerned about cyberbullying and emotionally harmful interactions on social media sites. A home monitor can allay these worries.
4. Swimming Pool Alarm
Backyard pools are great fun, whether above ground or in-ground. But the possibility of a child drowning is very real, especially with very young ones or non-swimmers in the home. To ease your concerns about young children around the pool, while giving everyone a chance to enjoy it, install a pool alarm. There are several types to choose from, and your community may have specific rules on which kind to use.
Some alarms float on the water and go off when the wave action changes. Others are mounted below the surface and monitor anything that enters the pool. Still another type combines a base alarm with a wristband worn by a child. If the wristband makes contact with the water, it will set off the base alarm. Coupled with the watchful eyes of an adult, any of these alarms will make for a good day around the water.
5. Child-Sized Fitness Trackers
Are you concerned your child isn’t getting enough exercise? This causes a lot of anxiety among parents, who worry about childhood obesity and too much screen time. If you have a fitness tracker, get them a child-sized model and take your walks together. Check out all the different sizes, shapes, and colors, and let your child pick one they like and are comfortable wearing.
Once you download the apps that go with your specific devices, using your fitness trackers can become a family event. Log your daily distances and see who’s gone the farthest in a day or a week. Good exercise and time spent each day with your child will naturally spark conversation. These daily chats will go a long way toward easing your worries about them.
Tools for Less Anxious Parenting
When it comes to child-rearing, it may seem that today’s parents have more to worry about than previous generations. Luckily, they also have more tools in the proverbial toolbox.
Whether you have tots or teens, there are devices available to ease your parental concerns. By pressing these gadgets into service, you can keep tabs on your kids and gain valuable peace of mind.