When you have a UX designer for a mom and a software developer for a dad, its was only a matter of time till they start scouring the product space for new gadgets to help support your learning.
In our careers, we've seen how technology and good product development has improved the countless of lives - particularly individuals with disabilities. With all the devices that our kids are exposed to, we were determined to find one that could potentially make a positive impact on Neela's growth. My husband and I both use the Apple Watch in our daily lives and seen some of it's benefits, particularly around time management. From moving us along our daily calendars to small reminds to stand up from our desks to take breathers, we began to wonder if there was a comparable product that was simple and safe to use for younger kids.
ENTER THE OCTOPUS WATCH
Octopus by JOY is an icon-based watch that empowers kids by teaching good habits and the concept of time. Using haptic feedback, it gently and subtly alerts your child to move along with their daily schedule. Like a to-do list, your child can press a button to acknowledge the reminder. Using a parent app, the watch provides feed to parents and guardians about your child's progress. It retails at $79.99 (watch only) and 99.99 (with charging station) and only currently comes in blue and red color ways/
The key selling point for us was their ingenious use of icons to remind Neela of what tasks she's supposed to do next. This is reflective of the same visual schedule tool that her therapists and teachers use. This also means that younger children that don't know how to read yet can begin using the Octopus watch.
CHORES & REWARDS
Asides from programing your child's daily schedule, you may also include age-appropriate chores to your kids to-do list. Parents can also program rewards to encourage and recognize your child's progress and accomplishments.
For example, when your child does their chores for a week straight, you have the option to reward them with story time, ice cream - even snuggles (Neela's personal favorite)
A FEW THINGS TO NOTE:
THE SETUP & PAIRING PROCESS
Trying to pair the watch with your mobile device was not as smooth as we expected it to be. . Since the watch's bluetooth only turns on for a few moments (which is great for your kids security), we had to make sure the synching process was on point or you will miss the chance.
LED SCREEN IS ONLY 2/3rds of the watch face
If you've used any wearable, you might expect the interface to take up the entire watch screen. It took us a minute to realize that ours wasn't actually broken.
THE BAND COLORS ARE LIMITED AND NOT AS STRONG
Something we hope Joy improves in the coming iteration is the band strength. Neela wore hers to a friends birthday party and the lock mechanism on the band immediately broke :( Given that this device is used by younger kids, stronger hardware may be something they might consider. You can order the band from the Joy website, but expect to wait at least a week to receive your band,
Octopus by JOY has been a good investment for us. Among the available kid wearable items, it may not be the most affordable but it definitely outperforms other products by not overcomplicating things (which is easy to do when building a new tech product). It takes common habit building concepts like repetition, positive reinforcement and translates it beautiful into a device that is easy to use.
DO YOU LEVERAGE ANY EXISTING DEVICES TO HELP YOUR CHILD?
SHARE ON THE COMMENTS BELOW!