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How to choose a smartwatch for your kids

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Stuck on how to choose a smartwatch for your kids? It can be a tricky decision. On the one hand, you’ll want to buy a fun bit of kit for children to play with, but whatever product you settle on should also offer peace of mind for adults too. Parents and guardians will want to ensure that their children’s smartwatch of choice fits everyone’s needs.

There are quite a few offerings out there — as shown in our list of the best smartwatches for kids — but before you start scrolling through the different options, we thought it might be useful to serve up a general overview of kids’ smartwatches, to run you through the different features to look out for. Some may be more of a priority for you than others, so scroll on through the info below, before settling on your final shortlist.

Smartwatches for kids: Which features are most important?

Before diving into specific features, let’s take a step back and consider your primary reasons for wanting a smartwatch for your child:

  • Age: A younger child might benefit from a simpler watch with basic functionality, while an older child might appreciate features like texting or fitness tracking.
  • Safety concerns: Is location tracking a top priority? Do you want features like an SOS button for emergencies?
  • Connectivity: Does your child need to make calls or send texts?
  • Lifestyle/durability: For an active child, water resistance and durability are crucial

How to choose a smartwatch for your kids: Key features

Once you know which features are most important for your needs, it’s simply a case of focusing on what they do:

  • GPS Tracking:  A reliable GPS tracker allows you to see your child’s location in real-time, providing peace of mind. Look for watches with accurate tracking and consider features like location history.  
  • Cellular Connectivity: Some smartwatches require a separate cellular plan for features like GPS tracking and calling. It’s always best to factor in the monthly cost when it comes to making your decision.
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity: Wi-Fi-enabled watches can connect to your home network for features like messaging within range.
  • App Compatibility: Ensure the smartwatch app is compatible with your smartphone’s operating system (iOS or Android).
  • SOS Button:  An emergency SOS button can be a great safety feature (assuming it’s not pressed willy-nilly). Once activated, it should send an alert to pre-designated contacts, notifying them of your child’s location and need for assistance.  
  • Geofencing:  This feature allows you to set virtual boundaries around specific locations. If your child leaves the designated area, you’ll receive an alert. It’s the same sort of thing you’ll find on pet GPS trackers, and should be just as effective.
  • Two-Way Calling:  The ability to make and receive calls allows your child to stay connected with you. This is particularly handy for keeping in touch without having to grace your child with a phone (and all the complications that can arise from social media as a result). You’ll need a kid’ smartwatch with SIM/cellular support for this feature, which naturally ups the price.
  • Texting:  Texting can be a convenient way for older children to communicate with you or pre-approved contacts. Look for watches with a user-friendly interface for easy typing.  
  • Parental Controls:  These controls allow you to restrict who your child can contact and what features they can access. This ensures responsible use and protects them from unwanted interactions.

Apart from the actual features above, you’ll also want to take the design into account. There’s no point trying to convince a child to don an ugly device, after all. Most kids’ smartwatches are designed with their end users in mind, so you should be able to find a suitable design that gets the seal of approval.

Looks aside, you’ll ideally want a durable watch that’s shockproof and water-resistant — two features that anyone responsible for children will appreciate. You’ll also want to consider the comfort, size, and weight of your chosen watch, for obvious reasons.

Read more: These are the best fitness trackers for kids

Profile image of Esat Dedezade Esat Dedezade Contributor


Esat has been a gadget fan ever since his tiny four-year-old brain was captivated by a sound-activated dancing sunflower. From there it was a natural progression to a Sega Mega Drive, a brief obsession with hedgehogs, and a love for all things tech. After 7 years as a writer and deputy editor for Stuff, Esat ventured out into the corporate world, spending three years as Editor of Microsoft's European News Centre. Now a freelance writer, his appetite for shiny gadgets has no bounds. Oh, and like all good human beings, he's very fond of cats.

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