Best for: Preschool-age Prefontaines
The keychain-sized Jiobit is the easiest tracker to clip to a wriggly kid’s belt loop, shoelace, or backpack. It uses a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular data, and GPS to turn the companion app into a real-life Marauder’s Map. When I toggled on Live Mode at a park, I could watch onscreen as my preschooler sprinted out of sight, turned around at an intersection, and walked back. In the app, you can share your child’s location with trusted adults, create geofences, get alerted when your kid goes out of bounds, and swipe between multiple children—or dogs.
$129 ($9 monthly subscription required)
Relay Kids Phone
Best for: Independent elementary schoolers
If you’re not quite ready to give your kid a smartphone, the Relay is a perfect stepping stone. The screenless communicator uses a cellular connection to let your family speak to one another—Relay to Relay, or from a Relay to the companion mobile app. You can also check your kid’s whereabouts by viewing the Relay’s GPS location in the app. Younger kids find it irresistible: My preschooler gleefully shrieked, “Mommy, I love you!” every few minutes while I worked—until I texted my husband to confiscate the Relay.
$50 ($10 monthly subscription required)
Styling by Audrey Taylor
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This article appears in the November issue. Subscribe now.