03.24.2015Personal Tech

Parent of 5: "I Will Be Purchasing a GizmoPal For Our Oldest Child"

This is a guest post from Jessica Rettig, who lives, works and, after years of being told to do so (she has a sneaking suspicion it was to make other moms feel better about their own chaos), blogs about her husband, Brad, five kids and emotionally-challenged Weimaraner in Lincoln, NE. You can find her at Five Little Lunatics. She also tries to run away on a daily basis--usually for four or five miles--but she always comes back.

I'll start this review by stating all you really want to know: I have five children, we're currently remodeling our house (meaning we don't have a ton of disposable income) and, yes, I will be purchasing a GizmoPal by LG for our oldest child.

Now, for the long-winded "here's why" review:

I had the box sitting on my counter for several days before I finally gave into my 10-year-old daughter's "just open it" plea.

Honestly, I'd avoided messing with it for as long as possible because I figured it'd be difficult to set up and, given said number of children, the amount of time I have to focus on any single task is limited. (Case in point: At least twice in the last week, I've been interrupted mid-diaper change and totally forgotten what I was doing in the first place, even with a diaper-less baby staring me in the face.)


The Rettig family.

But I found 10 minutes where I realized everyone was pretty well occupied, read the instructions, downloaded the app, followed the prompts and tossed the watch to my daughter.

Boom. Done. And that was with a two minute "I don't know where to find the phone number for the device" delay. (It was on the front of the box. Further proof that if I can figure this out, any other parent out there who gives it a shot will be golden.)

We went through the initial "Oh, I have a watch that calls people, let me dial mom and dad every 30 seconds" phase. That wasn't super annoying. At all.

But once the novelty wore off after 24 hours--and I reminded her time and again that I could track her location with the app--she started to use it as intended. Meaning she only called me for reasons I deemed legit. Like, "Mom, there's a lady in the driveway who wants to know if we're giving away that sink on the curb, can she take it?" Yes, yes she can. Thanks for calling.

Another bonus? I can keep tabs on my older three kids (who are typically together outdoors) without sacrificing my "I'm not a helicopter parent" status. The first day, they asked, "Mom, can we ride our scooters around the block?," and I said, absolutely, knowing that if they took too long on a lap (which they did), I could see that they hadn't been abducted, but were simply lingering on the sidewalk a couple of houses away. They have the freedom I WANT them to have, and I don't have to worry about having 911 at the ready.

My daughter had two recommendations: Add an actual timepiece to the device ("When I walk up to swim team practice this summer and you give me a time to be home, it'd be nice to see it on this 'watch.'") and make the band bigger. As it stands, she'll outgrow it by fall, and we'll pass it along to her 6-year-old brother (which touches on my recommendation: more color choices because my son is wise beyond his years, but still isn't totally cool with wearing pink).

Because, truth be told, I wouldn't mind keeping a tracking device with this kind of accuracy--exact street addresses included--on her until she's 25.

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