Today’s Kids and Physical Activity Do Not Always Go Hand In Hand But Garmin Can Help

It seems like every time we turn on the television we are hearing about how the United States is suffering from a wave of inactive citizens. We are becoming more and more sedentary and now over the past several years it’s affecting our kids. In fact, according to the federal governments National Health and Nutrition agency obesity in our country ranges from 13.5 all the way to 25.8% of the children today, based on ethnic and demographic areas are obese!

Other data obtained from regional sources have found that High school students are watching less television but spending more recreational time on computers and in turn their struggling to get enough physical activity. The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reveals that among U.S. high school students, 43% used a computer three or more hours a day for fun outside of school work, up from 41.7% in 2015 and 41.3% in 2013. And with the increased use of smartphones and the draw of social media apps. Kids ranging from 12-17 years old are spending an average time on their phones of 3-4 hours a day.

This increased use of electronic activity hinders or takes the place of face to face interaction between children on a regular basis and so are getting less and less time being spent conducting any physical activity that would help to reduce the amount of body fat our children are building up on a regular basis.

In order to help combat this trend of inactivity, using a techie device that can attract the attention of the younger generation, Garmin has developed a fitness activity monitor geared to make being active fun for our kids and get them thinking being active is fun and rewarding.

Garmin came out with the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 - Kid's Interactive Activity Tracker  Relying on the fascination that our children have for everything Disney and Marvel characters, Garmin developed this monitor to entice our kids into earning points in order to advance in the chosen role of their choice.

Every day that your kids meet their 60-minute activity goals, they advance in the kid-friendly adventure of their choice! You can choose between Mickey’s Birthday Surprise, Ultron’s Revenge: A Marvel Avengers Mission, or BB-8’s Adventure: A Star Wars Story.

The app experience matches the style of band you choose. Get access to new adventures and more fun by purchasing additional bands and pairing them with the free parent-controlled mobile app.

Parents manage their kid’s activity tracker by using the free app. You can add multiple children, and see their steps, sleep, daily activities, and chore data, yes we said chore data when it syncs to your mobile device.

You can assign tasks and chores for your kids which really starts building the concept of earning what they have worked towards. Not a bad concept, right? You can set schedule alerts, find out how many reward coins each child has, access adventures, and even invite the whole family to compete in daily step challenges together, all from your mobile device.

So, let's look a little deeper in just what this “Kids” geared activity monitor has going for it.

1st. There are a variety of different models of the Vivofit Jr. 2, all of which are tied to specific Disney ‘adventures. Essentially the way it works is a band is linked behind the scenes which unlocks a given software adventure for that particular Disney band. These adventures/themes are:
 Mickey Mouse
 Star Wars
 Captain America
But that aligns to six different bands:
 Stretchy Minnie Mouse
 Adjustable Minnie Mouse
 Stretchy Star Wars BB-8
 Adjustable Star Wars The Resistance
 Stretchy Avengers
 Adjustable Captain America

There are two types of bands. The adjustable bands are aimed at kids 6+, while the stretchy bands are aimed at kids 4-7 years old. Previously there was only a single size band.

When you get the monitor, in the box you'll find the activity monitor, along with a small, easy to use manual, it's not hard at all to set up! And for battery life, you’re not going to have to charge the thing each night in order for it to be ready for your kids next busy day, No. It takes a "Coin" cell battery, easily replaceable, that will provide power to your monitor for about a year. Not bad right? It takes the problem of constantly charging another personal device, like you don't have enough things plugged into a charger all over your home as it is!

Once you have the Vivofit Jr. 1 all you need to do in order to change up the adventures is purchasing a new adventure/themed band, which run about $29.00 each. Once you swap out the old band for a new one, you'll get an unlock code for that particular band's adventure/theme that you can add to the mobile app.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind that you won't get unless you have a Vivofit Jr. 2 unit:
 Toe to Toe challenge is only on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Reminder Alerts are only on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Only a single alarm on Vivofit Jr. 1 (versus two alarms on Vivofit Jr. 2)
 Up to 8 reminder alerts on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Color screen on Vivofit Jr. 2, versus not-color on Vivofit Jr. 1
 No color screen means no customizable Disney step icons on Vivofit Jr.

Setting it Up:
The first step in getting the unit set up, as well as your app and instructing your family on the do's and don'ts of using the monitor. The Vivofit Jr. doesn’t use the typical Garmin Connect Mobile app, but rather uses a totally separate app, aptly called ‘Vivofit Jr.’. That said, that app does integrate behind the scenes to your regular Garmin Connect account, if you have one. Note: This app should be installed on the parent's phone/device- NOT something the kids use.

Next, you need to create your family group within the app.
Once this is done, you can invite other people you know or those who's kids also have the Vivofit Jr to manage the children's progress as well as yourself. They can do this from the same app that they install on their own phone or device. This way it doesn't need to be all on you to monitor the progress of your kid's activity levels. you'll have some help.

Then you take the Vivofit Jr. and add it to the app. To do this you just hold down the button for a few seconds and it starts the pairing mode. It’s really just that simple.

Once you've associated the tracker with the app, you can create a child to add to the family. This is simply setting the name, age, gender and sleeping hours for each child. You can also configure either a default icon or an avatar, for each child.

The final step is to specify a steps icon, which is tied to the theme that you purchased (the different type of band). The child will be able to unlock additional steps icons later down the road as they do more steps. Also, you can specify the name that’s displayed on the tracker itself for each child. This can also be used in competition between devices.

Using it:
With everything all set up, it’s time to get your family into the mix. Simply put, the kids will go off and go through their normal daily routine with the band and it’ll track their steps – just like an adult activity tracker would. It’ll also track their sleep if they wear it 24/7.

They can see their steps at any time by just pressing the button on the front. By default, it’ll show the time. Press the button once though and it’ll show the date.

Once the above steps are completed you’re good to go. In the event you have additional kids or devices to set up, you’ll repeat the process. Note that the icons differ between the different Vivofit Jr. 2 packs that are bought. So if you bought a Star Wars band, you’ll get Star Wars icons

Press it again and it shows their selected icon along with the number of steps they’ve achieved this day. Here’s where you see that customizable Disney step icon.

Press it once more and they get a simple icon towards their ‘active minutes’ goal for the day (default is 60 minutes). This is where things differ a bit from an adult in that on the Garmin adult activity trackers you’ve got step goals and intensity minute goals. So this is just simplified as active minutes, without a specific step goal.

Tap it one more time and the child can see how many chores they’ve accomplished for that day:
Pressing again gets the child to their coin/point earnings for the day. This is controlled by you within the app.
Once you’ve gone through those steps, you get to see just how many stars you’ve earned!

And that’s essentially the core screens a kid would use most of the time. However, if they hold the button down for a bit, it gets into a second-tier menu that offers:

The ability to Sync with their parents’ phone: This will trigger the Vivofit Jr. 2 to start a data sync to upload steps

Timed activities: These are pre-configured activities you can create like 15 minutes of homework time or two minutes of brushing their teeth. They can move through the various icons and pick which ones to do, and the unit will count-down the time remaining. This could be for ‘chore’-like activities such as homework, or rewards activities like screen-time.

Stopwatch: Simply put, it’ll count time upwards forever.

Step Challenge: The Toe-to-Toe Step challenge that I cover in a moment with a two-minute timer to get the most steps. This can be done either individually or against others.

It’s really all pretty straightforward and easy to navigate around.

As we mentioned above, there are a couple of new features specific to the Vivofit Jr. 2, one of which is the ‘Toe-to-Toe’ challenge. Within this, kids can challenge each other to a two-minute timed step contest. To kick this off they get to the menu through the two-tier set of menu button presses to begin the challenge. The units then use wireless ANT to communicate between themselves to enroll participants and get ready to start. It’ll show who you’re competing against as well as part of this.
Once complete, they’ll see their total number of steps during the challenge and find out if they triumphed over their friends or beat their own personal best. It’s all controlled right from the wrist. Download the Connect IQ™ app to a compatible device to challenge your kids to a step competition.

And it's not just limited to preloaded contests based on the types of bands you purchase. You can also create “Chores” customized for each child if you wish. How about that, an activity tracker that lets you know when or “IF” a chore given to your child is completed! How great is that, and by using the Garmin Vivofit Jr. your kids start getting excited about doing their chores and getting them done in a timely manner, especially if they're competing against a sibling.

And they can’t “Fudge their scores, marking them as done, so they can move off to another level. It’s up to you to mark the chore as being completed so that you know when to check out their tasks and then YOU mark them as completed.

All in all, this is a pretty great tracker to entice our young ones into getting accustomed to being more active on a daily basis. And from the apps used, it's great that Garmin has built in so much interaction and tracking ability with the device while allowing a parent to customize it so it fits their daily lifestyle.

So are you ready to have the kiddos get active and make their day competitive with some outside adventures, instead of sitting inside watching tv or playing video games? And how about you, are you going to be leading by example so while the kids are out there doing their chores, are you going to be out there with them doing yours? Like mowing the grass, maybe splitting some wood for the stove or just doing the one in a hundred of things any homeowner can do on a weekend?

Go ahead, click on this link Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 - Kid's Interactive Activity Tracker  and get the whole family on a more active, energetic lifestyle. What are you waiting for?


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