Parenting

Smart Watch for Young Kids Helps Remind Them to Brush Their Teeth, Forms Good Habits

Hundreds of newly trained Al-Shabaab fighters perform military exercises south of Mogadishu, Somalia, in 2011. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Via Mashable:

Getting a small child to brush their teeth can feel like hosting a nightly WWE wrestling match in your bathroom. But the new icon-based Octopus watch for kids ages 3 to 8 aims to help with this and other daily habits.

The Octopus watch’s Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $231,000 in pledges — more than four times its $50,000 fundraising goal — which could indicate that at least a few parents are seeking help in the instilling-good-habits department.

Actually the Octopus, designed by JOY, has three intended functions. It’s a watch, teaching kids to read time using both digital and analog faces. It’s a scheduler that parents can remote-program with pop-up icons to notify kids when it’s time for certain activities: basketball practice, bath time, feeding the cat. And it’s an assistant, providing tips, notes, and reminders for both kids and parents.

“Studies have shown that children under 8 years old don’t understand the concept of time, let alone remember what to do when a certain time rolls around,” the company says on its Kickstarter page. “We have designed the first watch that helps them understand how parents expect them to use their time. We believe this will help children form good habits and help them to take responsibility for their actions.”

I’m a parent who often rails against hyper-scheduling for kids and making them grow up too fast but I have to say I’d be tempted to try this out if my daughter were younger. Obviously, there is a big difference between teaching your kids about time management skills and giving them schedules that would exhaust a Fortune 500 CEO. I was a kid riddled with ADHD but not diagnosed until I was an adult (long story, perhaps I’ll share it soon), so learning a few things about organizing my time when I was younger would have been enormously beneficial to me.

Perhaps that’s why this article caught my eye. Then again, it could have just been the pretty colors on the watches because, hey, ADHD.

The watch is controlled by an app on one or both parents’ phones (they sync up) and has an optional feature that lets the kids earn badges to reward themselves for learning things.

The hook, of course, is that it makes something mundane fun for the kids. Face it, having a watch inform a kid that it’s time to brush his teeth is preferable to a parent yelling “BRUSH YOUR TEETH!” from another room.

The watch hasn’t started shipping yet, so there are no reviews on its durability.

Once it is available, it will still be up to the parents to remind the kids to wear the watch that is supposed to remind them of things.