Anyone else use a WatchMinder?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hexemaus2, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    I just ordered a Watchminder for difficult child 2. We're planning to use it to help him to self-regulate.

    He has trouble remembering to do certain things on his own (take his medications, etc.) Now that he's going to be in public school, it's going to be all the more important for him to remember to do things on his own. He's going to have to remember what classes to go to next, take his medications on time, do his chores, do his homework, etc.

    I thought the Watchminder might be a good thing for him. You can set up to 30 different messages at fixed times, or set random reminders, etc. His school guidance counselor recommended using a school planner for his assignments, class schedule, etc. The problem is, difficult child 2 won't remember to check his planner. He needs an auditory reminder to remember to do even simple things like check his planner.

    The spec. ed. dept. chair recommended getting him a watch with an alarm. The problem with that is that most watches are limited when it comes to the number of alarms you can set. doing some digging, I found the Watchminder. It looks just like a sports watch, so it wouldn't be an "obvious" tool. (difficult child 2 wants so much to give the appearance of just being an average kid.)

    I was curious if anyone else has used one and if it's all the marketing junk makes it out to be. Did you find it helpful for your difficult child?

    I'm thinking we can set reminders for morning & evening medications, then each of difficult child's classes (a reminder for which class to go to for each bell, plus a reminder shortly before class ends to remind him to write down his assignments, etc.) Plus, we could set reminders for his chores/schoolwork once he gets home. Not to mention, reminders for the weekends to help him remember to walk his dog.

    I was also thinking I could also set random reminders about his thumb-sucking issue. (At 14, we have yet to find anything that will break that one stimming habit & I know that's going to become an issue for him in public school - a grown-man-sized guy sucking his thumb in school? Yeah, I see that being an issue with his peers.) You can set random reminders up to every 30 minutes. Maybe a simple reminder on a regular basis will make him more aware...maybe help him "catch" himself & break the habit.

    I'd love to hear anyone else's opinion, if you've used a similar tool, if it's helped, etc.

    Thanks guys!!
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Haven't used it but can't wait to hear how it works for you. In fact, I might not even wait that long and will order one for difficult child 2. He needs help remembering medications at lunchtime (he's only 11, and you'd think the school would do a better job of reminding him, but last week they forgot TWICE and I just can't let things go on this way). He also forgets to bring materials home and to write assignments down.

    Like your difficult child, mine has a sucking issue, but with him it's his lower lip (which has resulted in braces this year, but he still hasn't stopped with the lip thing!)

    It might even benefit Gf1 for remembering to have teachers sign his planner book, get assignments, etc.

    I was just thinking about an alarm watch on Friday when I learned difficult child 2 had forgotten medications again, but didn't know about the one you're getting. I think it sounds like a helpful tool.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Also have not heard of one. It does sound super cool.

    Does it actually use words so he knows what the reminder is for? Gotta be careful on how you give the clue for thumb sucking just in case kids nearby are listening. Maybe at "Thumbs up!" that could be taken as "Good Job! Great kid!" to disguise the real meaning.

    Let us know how it works.
  4. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    Here's a link if you guys want to look at it:

    From what I understand, the alarm can be set to either a beep or vibrate (good for during class so it doesn't disturb others) and a message appears on the screen to 'cue' the user as to what the reminder is for.

    In terms of watches, it's a little on the pricey side at $79. They're having a $10 summer off deal thing at the moment, so with shipping I paid $78. I figure if it works, it's well worth the $$ spent.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Definatly worth the $$$ if it works for your difficult child. I just dropped $270 on a stress eraser for my difficult child. I would certainly be willing to pay $79 for this.
  6. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    lol Andy. I know what you mean. Compared to what I've spent on other things for difficult child 2, $78 is pocket change.

    Now if I were going out to buy difficult child 2 a plain old watch? He'd be lucky if I splurged on those $5 el cheapo's at Kmart with as many things as he has lost, destroyed, or traded for a video game.

    I'm hoping it will help him & not go the route of one of those $5 Kmart specials. lol.

    I'll let you guys know how it works out for him & if it's worth the time/$$

    I was reading more about it & it has several pre-set reminders intended for ADHD kids. Something cool to think about for those of us with kids struggling with those sorts of issues.

    If it works, it will be something we definitely include in his IEP. (The site even mentions using it in 504 plans for functional needs assessments, etc.)
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Be sure you test it so that it won't disturb the rest of the class. I can remember being in a class with a child who's watch went off, it distracted the other kids and drove the teacher nuts. Will the vibrate mode catch his attention, and hopefully not set of any sensory issues?

    I think it sounds great, and is a great creative problem solver. I just hope it isn't intentionally broken, or even forbidden by some teacher/administrator with a low "beep" tolerance.

    Let us know how it work, will you? I am very curious.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    That sounds very cool. I hope that it works.

    A thought about the thumb sucking thing...
    I had this issue as well throughout childhood, up until I was about 10. My orthodontist told me that I couldn't get braces until I stopped, because it would defeat the purpose of the braces. What he did was to wrap a bandaid around the knuckle of my thumb. I had to put a fresh one on each morning, and would wear it all day and night.

    The thumb-sucking stimulant went away almost instantly. I'm not sure why, although I suspect it was the sensory cue of the bandaid combined with the unpleasant sensory cue of having the bandaid in my mouth...felt awful.

    I don't know if this would work for your difficult child 2, but it may be worth a try in addition to the reminders from his watch.

    Hope it goes well...
  9. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    hmm I am curious as well, although I have programmed reminders into difficult child I's cell phone calendar (b4 he lost it, LOL) It would ring or vibrate and say whatever it was we typed in and you could tell it when to go off ex: 5 minutes b4 or a day b4
  10. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    I thought about a cell phone too (that's what I use for me) but difficult child 2 would set it down somewhere & forget it.

    I liked the idea of the watch because we can strap it to his wrist - right in plain sight, but nothing he could drop, misplace, or leave in his backpack to get knocked all over creation. :)

    Trinity - we tried the bandaid thing a couple of years ago. He would unconsciously scratch the bandaid off. (He has a habit of "picking" at anything that feels out of place or unnatural to him.)

    Susiestar - I'm hoping since it has both beep AND vibrate modes, we'll be able to use the vibrate mode during class times & possibly the beep modes at home. I know the vibrate will get his attention, since he's so sensitive to unnatural things like that. Hopefully, it won't bother him other than just enough to get his attention. That's the one thing I want to test out - if he can stand the vibration without issues. (For example, if it startles him in the middle of class, he's liable to shout out & then launch into a 5 minute long monolog about how he's sorry he interrupted & why he interrupted. lol. Definitely would defeat the purpose of having a less intrusive vibrate mode, wouldn't it? lol. I think us parents of difficult children must have awesome forethought capabilities...we have to think of everything our difficult children could possibly do in a particular situation so we can prepare for everything. lol.)
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'd like to see something like this also include a Tic Talk kind of phone, the sort where numbers are pre-programmed in by the parents, and which the child can only ring according to rules set out by the parents. When they were promoting this in Australia, they were looking at also having certain areas set as out of bounds and the phone would automatically secretly notify parents by phone, if the child strayed out of bounds. The parents could also go online at any time (via password access) and look to see where, geographically, the child was.

    of course, a kid could beat this by taking the thing off, but that would also defeat the purpose and be easily found out if the parents rang and there was no answer.

    We have the technology. It's just a matter of putting it all together. Soon we'll be able to also incorporate a small camera as well, so when the parent rings they can see from the background exactly where the child is and what they're doing.

    Big Brother may not be watching, but Big Momma sure can be!