There are increasingly more days where I throw on my cutest sweater and an extra coat of concealer and make my way up to the school doors just to hear, “mom, I want to go to my buddies house.” It has started to feel like the walk of shame heading back to the car alone. I could save myself so much time if I had a safe way to communicate before that final school bell.
Our oldest turns 10 this year. He’s independent enough to make a decent case for a phone, but certainly not mature enough to be given one with all the bells and whistles.
These devices aren’t just an issue for older kids. Whether your child is in daycare, preschool, elementary school, has special needs or is simply in need of more independence, at some point every parent is faced with determining when their child is ready for a GPS-enabled device or a kid-safe phone.
Here are some of the coolest kid-friendly GPS devices on the market for toddlers through tweens on up.
This device isn’t a watch or a traditional phone, meaning no screen or cyber capabilities. The design is simple and easy. It’s a small square with a button used for two-way calling, and it comes in all sorts of colors. You throw it in their backpack or hook it on a belt loop for kids who won’t keep a watch on. It’s GPS enabled through an app on your phone and has a simple push-to-talk concept.
$49.99 for the device, $9.99 per month, no contracts.
This goes a step further and lets you plug in the kids’ schedules so you can receive notifications such as your son/daughter got off at the wrong bus stop, they arrived at school at 8:05 a.m. or they are at soccer practice.
$99 for the device (and some extras), $39.99 per month service plan, but there are different levels to choose from depending on if you go monthly or get into a contract.
This is an actual kids watch and it comes in blue and pink. It’s the smallest and lightest design, which makes it perfect for little wrists. The GPS-enabled smartwatch lets you text, call or just listen in to make sure your child is safe.
$39.99 for the watch, $15.99-$29.99/month depending on the data you need.
Doki is a slightly bigger watch design, making it perfect for kids over 5. The watch comes in black, blue and pink, and adds a video calling feature so you can see your child when you call them — and they can see you. Another fun feature is they can add their siblings to the contact list on their watches to send messages to each other as well.
This GPS watch phone allows you to not only call and track your children, but takes a few more precautions. This watch allows you to select a safe zone radius. If your child steps outside the given perimeter, you will be notified. It will also set a notification if your child falls or removes the device. This watch, along with the others also serves special-needs and elderly needs as well.
$119.95 for the watch, $14.95 per month for service.
* Your phone carrier might have devices specific to your network.
Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram.