Watches offer your kids a way to learn as well as an opportunity to flash some bling or show their preferences in super heroes or cartoon characters. Watch selection brings up the question of modern versus traditional -- much like choosing between shoes featuring laces or Velcro-backed straps. Digital displays offer advantages over traditional hands, but many kids enjoy the tiny hands pointing to the clock hours. The best watches for kids are sturdy and can withstand an occasional drop or two of water.
Kid-size wristwatches introduce the concept of telling time to preschoolers, so the best watch depends on what aspect of telling time you want your little one to learn. Digital screens make it easy for some children to know when it's dinner time, but traditional watch faces help introduce the important concepts of hours and minutes. Some wristwatches have a built-in voice feature to help your child learn the basics of telling time, too. On these watches, your child can press a small button to have a voice report the current time. The downside is that listening to a tiny voice give the time for the millionth time can drive you crazy.
Select a watch for your child with an eye to easy reading, even if others have the cutest designs on the display rack. Pick a watch face with all of the numbers clearly printed on the dial in contrasting colors. The different colors make the work of identifying the numbers easier for your child. Choose a waterproof or water resistant watch with an unbreakable crystal that matches your child's wrist size. An overly large face is easy to read, but it's also hard to pull a sweater or coat over an exceptionally large wristwatch. Waterproofing also helps avoid disappointment after a dog bath or a run through the sprinklers soaks more than the dog.
The safest watches for children omit the button batteries many watches use to power the movement. Wind-up watches are old-school, but this traditional feature offers safety from battery dangers. Safe Kids USA, a nonprofit safety group, warns that the button batteries used in many wristwatches cause severe burns when swallowed. If you're committed to buying a battery-operated watch, select one that needs a screwdriver to remove the battery. Some high-tech watches feature a GPS feature to locate your child using the built-in tracking device.
Bands and Straps
The best watches for kids have wristbands or straps that allow your child to quickly put on and remove the watch without any help. Velcro strap fasteners make connecting the strap or band an easy process and also avoid the risk of injury from the fastening clasp. Watchbands that incorporate a loop to attach to a belt or backpack help keep track of the watch when your child needs to take it off at day care or preschool for hand washing or comfort during nap time.
- Safe Kids USA: Button Battery Safety
- Health One Swedish Medical Center: Dangers of Button Batteries
- The Guardian: Watches for Young Children
- KTTV Los Angeles: Revolutionary 911-GPS Wristwatch Tracks Your Child
- Scholastic Parents: The 10 Best Ways to Help Your Kindergartener Succeed in School
- CNET: Leo GPS Watch Locates Your Child In An Emergency
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