A Guide to Buying a Watch for a Child

Prefer to listen to us read this article? Click below.   


A child’s first watch can be a big responsibility, especially if they only have limited experience keeping up with accessories. However, purchasing a watch for children is a great step towards strengthening their independence and making them more reliable. Watches also allow children more freedom since they can monitor their schedules. 

Buying a watch for a child involves seeking watch features useful for children and finding a watch style that they’ll enjoy wearing. When searching for a children’s watch, focus on durability and readability rather than fashion for a watch that will be useful and stylish. 

There are so many watches on the market that choosing a new watch for a child can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of buying watches for children and how to pick a good one out for yours. 

How Old Should Your Child Be to Get a Watch?


Most children’s watches are geared towards children between the ages of six and fourteen. (Source: Prisma) Children younger than six are usually considered too young to be held responsible for the care of a “real” watch, though parents may want to help their children get used to the concept of wearing one by introducing a toddler watch

One scenario where you might find it useful to get your child younger than six a watch is when they’re having potty-training issues. A potty-training watch for toddlers can help remind children when they need to use the bathroom without parental guidance, which can help them learn how to potty-train more quickly. 

However, most children are introduced to watches and analog clocks when they enter a real classroom where they need to keep track of the time. Once they hit the first grade, kids usually have many more reasons for wearing a watch than when they’re toddlers. 

When to Get Your Child a Watch


So if children can wear a watch earlier than six years old, when should you decide to introduce a watch to them?  

There are a few circumstances where you might find it beneficial to get your child a watch whether or not they’re actively asking for one yet. Here are just a few scenarios where a watch can be a useful accessory for children: 

  • After-school activities: Children that have to juggle multiple sports or other after-school activities might find it difficult to keep track of where they’re supposed to be at any given time. A watch can help prevent them from being late to any appointments they have.
  • Joint custody: If children are going back and forth between two homes, giving them a watch can help them feel more in control of their situation. This way, if they’re told that they’re going to be picked up at a certain hour, they’re secure in the knowledge regardless of who is doing the picking-up.
  • Navigation: For children who are regularly asked to navigate in busy communal areas to get back and forth to school or other activities, a smartphone with GPS navigation can help keep them from getting lost. This is especially true with older children in urban or crowded areas. Smartphones can also be used to track children and their location. 

Telling time is a practical ability for children to learn, especially older ones who may have to juggle several after-school activities. Watches are also a good way to help teach children responsibility for keeping up with their possessions. 

Features to Look for in a Child’s Watch


For a child’s first watch, you have to look for many different features than you’d look for in an adult watch, even if you’re getting them a smartwatch. Here are some of the features you should look for when comparison shopping for a child’s watch (Source: Watch Shop): 

These are only a few of the main features you should keep an eye on when you’re comparison shopping for children’s watches. Consider which features will be most useful for your child’s needs based on their daily activity level and their goals in wearing a watch.  

Digital vs. Analog Child Watches


One of the major decisions you have to make when buying a watch for a child is whether to go analog or digital. While it’s true that many young children still need practice reading an analog clock and an analog watch is great for that, a digital watch may be a better option for kids when it comes to daily time-checking. 

Here are a few things to consider when you’re choosing between a digital and analog watch for kids: 

  • Readability: Digital watches are generally easier to read than an analog watch, so if your child is still shaky on reading analog clock faces, a digital watch can help ensure they actually make it to their appointments on time. (Source: Chicago Tribune)
  • Teaching: Many parents purchase their child an analog watch as a way for them to learn how to reliably tell time on their own outside of a time-telling lesson. While this can be an effective teaching method, it means that if the child misunderstands their watch, they may be late.
  • Smartphone capability: If you buy your child a smart digital watch, the watch can be synced to your own smartphone technology in order to help you stay better connected with them. There are also many auxiliary apps available on smartphone watches that are useful for children.
  • Safety: Unlike smartphones, smartwatches help train children to use 21st-century technology without exposing them to the Wild West of the Internet unsupervised. While you might not be able to trust your child yet with an unsupervised smartphone, a smartwatch makes a good stepping-stone to greater digital independence for children.  

The choice between a digital and an analog watch is a personal one, and there are advantages to both. If you’re torn between the two when choosing a watch for a child, consider buying a cheap model of each type and seeing which one the child has an easier time keeping up with and using on a daily basis. 

Boy and Girl Watch Designs


 It’s a good idea when you’re buying a watch for a child that you take the child’s interests into consideration. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re shopping watch styles: 

  • What media does the child like? Child fads come in and out of fashion all the time – the Disney movie Frozen is a good example (though this franchise is still very popular among kids of all ages). Chances are that your child has a favorite cartoon or TV show with a watch to match, so check around. Watches can last a long time, so be sure to choose a design that won’t fall out of favor. 
  • What colors does the child like? Watch companies may gear pink watches for girls and blue watches for boys, but often the desires of children don’t match up with these preconceptions. Be sure to ask your child what colors they enjoy so you can get a watch they’ll be excited to wear. 

Should You Buy a Child an Expensive Watch? 


Many timepiece lovers want to pass down their favorite watch to a child as an heirloom keepsake, and others would like to purchase a luxury piece for their child that they can carry for years. However, there is some debate whether you should go through the expense to purchase a high-end watch for a child. 

The biggest concern with purchasing an expensive watch for a child is that children are rough on watches. They get scratched, lost, stolen, soaked, and generally abused. Unless your child is trustworthy enough to put their fancy watch away in a watch box when it’s time to play, buying a child an expensive watch is asking to see that watch broken or missing. 

Why Not Use a Smartphone for Your Child’s Watch?


If you want to use a watch to introduce your child to smart technology, you may be wondering why you shouldn’t just buy your child a smartphone to tell the time instead. There are several good reasons why you don’t want to introduce a smartphone to a young child before they’re old enough to care for it properly. Here are just a few of them: 

  • Durability: Even with a case, smartphones are generally less durable than watches because they aren’t attached to the child’s body. This means they’re much easier to step on, kick, drop, or (in the event of a temper tantrum) throw.
  • Accessibility: As a communication device, smartphones can be a way for strangers to access your child from outside the home. There are several dangers here, from the risk of a child seeing things online they shouldn’t see like pornography to the child being groomed by a predator through private messages. 
  • Expense: Smartphones are not cheap technology, and it can be frustrating to buy a child an expensive smartphone only to have them lose it or damage it in some way. While a watch can still be lost or damaged, it’s a lot more difficult to pull off. Phones are very easy to lose and break. 

Children need to get used to working with smart technology many of them will be in contact with it for their entire adult lives. However, it’s important to know when a child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of a real phone. A smartwatch is a good stepping-stone between a child’s analog training watch and a full smartphone in adolescence. 

Smartwatches for Children


If you want your child to have access to smart technology or you want your child’s watch to be able to sync with your own for the purposes of scheduling, there are more and more models of smartwatches on the market geared towards children every year. These are a few of the advantages you can gain from buying a smartwatch for your child (Source: SmarterWare): 

  • Technological familiarity: Learning how to properly use a smartphone and communicate on it to other family members can make it much easier for a child to pick up other forms of technology, even if they’re a digital native.
  • Parental controls: Many smartwatches are simpler than smartphones, which makes it easier to manipulate the parental controls on a smartwatch versus a smartphone.
  • Reminder system: For children who struggle with staying on task, a smartwatch usually comes equipped with several types of reminder systems that can make it easier for children to transition from one activity to another. 

Smartwatches may only be appropriate for slightly older children who can be trusted to take good care of them. But once a child is capable of handling a smartwatch, their watch can be a much more useful part of their everyday lives than simply being able to tell the time for them. 

A Child’s First Watch is Important


Some people may not consider it a big deal for a child to wear a watch, but learning to wear one and respect the passage of time is a serious part of learning time management and executive function in daily life. With the right watch, a child can transition into increasing levels of responsibility much more easily.