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How Getting a Fitbit Made Me a Worse Parent

Activity tracker on a woman's wristIn general, we all agree that it’s important for parents to model healthy living for kids. Eat your broccoli, act like going to the dentist is fun, and enjoy physical activity. Since starting back at an office job, I’ve been more sedentary than I can ever remember. Since my working self loves to throw money at problems (hello cleaning lady), I figured I could fix this by buying a Fitbit.

Like most small children, my kids like to be lazy. When they arrive home, they shed their backpacks on the ground, and when it’s time for dinner, they will abandon their toys on the ground. It’s an uphill battle to get them to pick up after themselves, but they are only 5 and 2 years old.

A Fitbit shifted my parenting style, and it’s probably going to make my kids spoiled.

Pre-Fitbit Me would see a room with toys on the ground and make the kids come back and pick up. I would watch and guide, but not get involved.

Post-Fitbit Me sees a room with toys strewn around and that little voice that says “This would be SO MUCH FASTER if I just did it myself” now has a little cheerleader saying “Think of the extra steps!”

Pre-Fitbit Me would be sitting on the dinner table and get a request from a kid for seconds of something that isn’t on the table and I would tell them to eat other parts of their dinner and wait for me to finish before I would get up to walk over to the fridge for extra baby carrots (or whatever is the “fun” part of dinner for them).

Post-Fitbit Me hears that same request and I know if I get up, it will only encourage them to ask for more extras, like ketchup and a straw for the milk, but not that one, a PINK one! But hey, more steps!


Pre-Fitbit Me hears the toddler ask for something from upstairs. I wait and hope my husband says “Ok, I’ll be right back” or I’m totally going to tell her to Montessori-learn herself up those stairs and find that precious toy herself.

Post-Fitbit Me reacts by dashing for the stairs and thinking, “Oh, extra floors climbed!”

Pre-Fitbit Me is asked daily to play “Monster Chases” with the girls. I give in about once a week because seriously, I’m tired and I don’t want to growl like a monster while sprinting through my house.

Post-Fitbit Me never says no to Monster Chases. The kids are delighted and the dog is confused about why everyone is screaming and running. Monster Chases are good for almost 2,000 steps so we are all winners here (except for anyone with a headache).

In a few months, I’m sure I will regret slacking on making the kids clean up after themselves and I’m positive I will tire of Monster Chases long before they do. The Fitbit has led me down a dark path.

Did getting a Fitbit change how you view daily tasks? It’s totally normal to know exactly how many steps it is to the bathroom at work, right? —Kara

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