6 Ways to Keep the Family Healthy with the FitBit Flex

I have been an enthusiastic FitBit user since I received my FitBit One last year.  I've used it to help me lose baby weight, and it's an easy way to track all of my lifestyle choices -- even when I'm too busy to pay much attention to them!  We received the FitBit Flex Wireless Wristband this month, and I immediately knew that I wanted my 11-year-old son to wear it.  We have been trying to get him moving more, and I didn't want to be "that" nagging mom. I wanted him to feel empowered to take charge of his activity and movement choices throughout the day.

The Flex is very easy to set up on your computer, and it can be monitored and synced to your online dashboard with either the included wireless "dongle" -- which plugs into your USB port -- or via bluetooth on your smart phone.

I did have a bit of trouble setting it up for my son, as FitBit doesn't allow minors to have their own accounts. I had to call customer service and get my account reset so that I could just use my birthday and information, but let my son use the wristband.  They were super helpful and attentive, and my problem was resolved without delay.

The wristband itself is made of a flexible silicone that the actual FitBit component slips in and out for charging.  The unit is waterproof, so my son can keep it on in the shower.  It is also supposed to stay clasped throughout an entire day of active play and work, but we have had it come off two times since we got it; once when he was sleeping and once when he was doing chores.  We almost didn't find it the second time, and after that, we decided to get some rubber clamps to go around the closure so that it wouldn't fall off if the fasteners failed.  I would highly recommend securing your Flex with a backup device (even a velcro strip will work) so you don't lose it; my son felt horrible for misplacing a gadget that can be quite an investment. 

After we got the FitBit secured and set up, it was easy to track my son's activity.  We have been thrilled with the results, as he can manage most everything on his own (I still assist with charging.)

Because he is in control of monitoring, he has been making subtle changes that have helped him maintain a healthier lifestyle.  Here are 6 things we are noticing as good results since using the Flex:

1. My son has better sleep.  The Flex can be put into "sleep mode" with just a few rapid taps on the display.  After that, it tracks how many times and at what times my son wakes up.  He suffers from some sleep disorders such as night terrors and sleepwalking.  While he is growing out of them, seeing his sleep patterns help us to determine if he needs more sleep and what time to get him to bed.  Knowing that he got only 8 total hours of sleep vs. the 9+ hours he normally gets, for example, will tell us that he's going to be tired and that we should put him to bed a little earlier next time.  Better sleep has helped him improve in so many areas of his life!

2. My son moves more.  I get email alerts when he earns "badges" such as taking more than 15,000 steps in a day or meeting a new mile goal.  He loves seeing that he walked over 5 miles in a day, and sometimes -- he'll even go for a walk or do more active play just to see his records broken.

3.  My son makes better food choices.  Because there is an option to track food, he can see his snacks and meals typed out.  The program is not set up for calorie burn that is accurate for a child, so I wouldn't recommend you use it in this fashion, but just tracking everything he eats makes him more aware of the choices he's making.  Having to type in a candy bar makes him think twice; he often times goes for an apple instead.

4.  He drinks more fluids.  There is also a quick way to count water intake.  Setting this easy goal has made him stop to drink when he may be thirsty.  It has been one of the most effective yet simple changes he has made.

5.  He has influenced the family positively.  Watching my son meet and exceed his goals has helped us be a healthier family.  I know that he has to track food, for example, and I want him to succeed. I'll opt to bake something rather than fry, or I will encourage him to walk with me when I can.  The positive role modeling has trickled down to his 4 younger brothers, as well.

6.  He has confidence.  Knowing that you have hope to make changes is a valuable side effect of the Flex.  It's not enough to think you are unhealthy, overweight, or out of shape and know that you need to do something.  Taking small steps, tracking changes, and seeing improvement is a snowball that keeps growing and gaining momentum.  For my son, he's got a little more pep in his step, and he takes pride in his Flex and the information it gives him to own his health.  I see this as setting the stage for being a healthy adult, and eventually a good parent for his own children.

There's no need to wait until Janaury 1st to make a commitment like the FitBit Flex.  I think all members of a family could benefit from a Wireless Wristband device, and the FitBit has exceeded my expectations in durability, usability, and customer service.  You can find this life-changing gadget at your local Walmart (far less than the cost of a gym membership of diet program!)


  1. I just bought a FitBit and can't wait to use it! I really think my sleep habits can benefit from the sleep tracker.

    1. I can definitely say that mine have. Whether it's getting up earlier because I feel tired but really don't need the sleep or allowing myself to sleep in a little more because I've had a few too many restless nights, it's been the sanity solution for being a nursing mom. Otherwise, I just have no idea how many times I'm up at night! Let us know how it works for you!


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