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Octopus Watch v2 Motion Edition Review by Destiny Mawson

JOY Familytech
479 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Schedules and routines help children to develop good habits. A child’s self-esteem can increase when they feel they have a certain amount of autonomy. Likewise, anxiety can decrease when a child knows what to expect next. The Octopus by Joy strives to give children control over their routine by helping them know what to expect and stay on task.

The Octopus is a special watch geared toward children ages three and up. Its purpose is to aid them by serving as a scheduler which helps remind them of their daily routines through the use of icons.

The watch has a silicone band for comfort and is nicely sized for small wrists. The band is also replaceable. It has a color LCD display screen; however, it is not a touch screen. It is also not waterproof, although it is water resistant.

The companion to the watch is an adorable octopus-shaped charging station which doubles as a night light. The watch magnets nicely on the middle and is easy for kids to attach and remove.

After downloading the app to your phone, you will go in and set a routine for your child. There are several free icons to use and others that can be purchased. Once your child’s routine is set, you will then synchronize the watch to your phone. Any time you update the routine, you will need to re-sync.

While creating your child’s routine you have the option to send notifications to your phone for certain activities. You can also select for a haptic push with certain reminders causing the watch to vibrate and requiring your child to manually squeeze the sides to confirm they received the notice. Once you have set up the watch for your child, they are ready to start following their routine.

We used this watch with our six-year-year old daughter. She has a medical condition that causes frequent accidents, but she dislikes being reminded to use the restroom. One of her icons then was scheduled restroom times. We also included wake and sleep times, chores, schoolwork and most importantly to her, when she was allowed to play on her DS.

Not all the icons were self-explanatory to children, especially since they can be literal-minded. For example, I used an icon with a mop and bucket to depict one of her chores. She thought that meant she was supposed to mop. The teddy bear icon I used for picking up toys confused her as well. Therefore, I would suggest going over whatever icons you choose and what they represent with your child first.

The first several weeks, she was extremely excited about the watch. As soon as an icon showed up, she knew what she was supposed to be doing. She liked that it helped remind her when to use the restroom, so she had fewer accidents. The resistance that we had been experiencing decreased and her confidence increased as the responsibility was transferred to her.

One of the new features of the v2 Motion Edition is the ability to track physical activity. She really loved the fitness tracker and was excited to show us her progress throughout the day.

Once she learned she could press the button to stop the buzzing without following through, it became less effective.

She would also frequently take the watch off claiming the buckle tongue would poke her. As she would do this when we were out running errands, the prospect of losing the watch was an issue.

Like all new things, there is the chance your child’s interest will wane as the newness wears off. We did find an increase in her “forgetting” to charge the watch and an increase in our need to remind her to put it on several weeks after she received it.

Our biggest issue was her constant worry about getting it wet while washing her hands. She would, therefore, take it off every time and it would get left on the counter. Eventually, she ended up forgetting to take it off in the shower. She remembered right after she got in and set it down on the side of the shower, but it had already taken too much water damage to survive. I think the best improvement to the watch would have been waterproofing because water seems like the most likely source of damage or failure in a watch marketed for children.

Overall, I really like the concept of this watch. I think that some children with anxiety and those who do not do well with change are among those who would most strongly benefit. Having knowledge of what happens next in their day will decrease stress from the unknown and foster a sense of security.

While the purpose of using icons is so that younger children who cannot tell time are able to use it, we found that our younger children were also not old enough to care for it. I spent a lot of time reminding our daughter to take care of her watch. If you give this watch to younger children, be prepared to help them care for the watch and for a higher probability in it being ruined or lost.

I liked the watch for my daughter. It did help her to stay on task better and I saw an increase in confidence from it. It is a useful product and one I would recommend to others looking for a way to help their younger children with time management and routine establishment.

--Product review by Destiny Mawson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2019