**Note – I received complimentary products for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
My kids are getting older, but they're still my babies. I want to find ways to offer them more freedom, but it can be challenging finding a way to give them that freedom while ensuring they’re still safe and secure. My son, who is ten, enjoys riding his bike and rollerblading around the neighborhood, sometimes with his friends. My daughter, who is seven, loves walking the dog and tagging along with her big brother. Allowing them to enjoy their favorite activities without a way to communicate with me was a terrifying thought. Like I said, they’re my babies! It’s hard to have them out of arm's reach. I needed to find a way to let go a little bit. Getting them a device with internet access, for me personally, was even scarier. I don’t personally see smartphones as a viable option at their age. Not only am I concerned about keeping them safe from predators and online bullying, but also the outrageous cost when those absurdly expensive devices are inevitably broken, lost, or stolen. I needed to find a solution.
Thanks to my friends at Relay, I was offered the chance to test out their device and after some careful research I was excited to take on the opportunity. The Relay is a walkie talkie type device that uses 4GLTE and WIFI to communicate with other Relay devices or smartphones. Through parental controls, you select who each device can communicate with. The device also features real time GPS tracking so you can see up to date details of your child's location. They can be ordered in six different colors and can fit easily into the palm of your child's hand or a pocket. All these features are a perfect fit for what we were looking for, and at a very reasonable price point, especially when compared to other comparable communication devices.
Right now you can save 40% off at Target and Target.com. For details or to purchase a Relay for your child click here.
My kids were immediately itching to try out their fun new devices. On the first couple of days, the kids sent more excited messages to my husband and I than I can count. They spent a lot of time riding on the Greenbelt while constantly checking in. The glee in their voices at their new found freedom was evident immediately. I think my favorite part was hearing them constantly asking to go again, in lieu of watching television or playing video games. Knowing that I could let them experience this with the confidence that they were safe was another favorite. Of course I had some difficulty letting them go on their own at first, but I was relieved that I was able to follow the GPS tracker on their devices so I could see exactly where they were. Once, after I noticed they were stationary on the GPS for a long period of time, I checked in. I was treated to them telling me about their adventure watching a beaver along the river. They were in heaven! We have officially had our Relays for two weeks, and so far I'm really enjoying them.
We did have a couple of mishaps, though. Our first happened on the third day. My son stuffed the small device in his pocket as we headed to dinner and a movie with the family. During the movie, the device fell out below the seat. Unfortunately we were too distracted talking about the movie we had just seen -- by the time we noticed it was missing, we were already pulling into our driveway. My son was devastated, as we weren't sure exactly where we lost it that evening. The GPS was the perfect solution for us. Crisis averted! It was so simple to just pull up the app and see that it was at the theater. I had to wait in the lobby of the theater until the next showing was completed but, small price to pay as we easily found it!
A few days later we took a fabulous vacation. We explored the beautiful Oregon Coast, Seattle, Port Angeles, and even Sekiu, Washington to salmon fish. The Relays came with us and my kids were ecstatic to show their cousins. It was met with lots of awe, especially that it worked so well in all these locations, some of which were pretty remote. On the beach, the kids were able to comb for shells down a ways. Instead of shouting, I could call them back via Relay. My daughter was able to walk our pup around the campground with ease, chatting the whole way. My favorite part was the updates when they were out fishing with their Uncle. I loved the shouts of joy announcing they caught another one!
This year they were old enough to camp on the beach with their older cousins and my uncle. They were so excited, but also quite nervous as it was my daughters first time away from me for a whole night. This walkie talkie device was perfect for giving her enough confidence that she could reach me anytime. I loved being able to say goodnight to her and her brother as they were snuggled in their sleeping bags without having to physically being there. The best part was the sweet, "Good morning Mama! I did it!" message the next morning. She felt so grown up.
These devices are sturdy too! In the two weeks they've been dropped countless times and accidentally splashed in the water. They've even survived the moments my four year old twins have snatched them to try out! I'm honestly impressed they survived the “twinadoes”.
A couple things I will say is that if you talk into these devices with your mouth too close, it can sound pretty garbled. It took a few attempts for the kids to figure out that they didn’t need to talk loudly and right into the device but, with a bit of coaching, they learned to hold it away from their mouths using their regular voices and it was quickly remedied. The other thing is its size. It’s great that it’s lightweight and perfect to fit in a pocket, but from our movie theater experience, it can fall out and be easily misplaced. They do offer accessories perfect for this. You can purchase an armband, which fits like a watch or a clip that attaches to a lanyard. An easy solution for a few extra bucks, which I definitely suggest.
As a working mom it’s hard to juggle work and parenting. I feel so disconnected when I'm away and sometimes guilty that I'm missing out. The ability for me to touch base on breaks has helped tremendously. Knowing I can reach them to check in, tell them I love them, or even remind them to do their chores is amazing! My kids also love being able to connect and hear my voice while I'm away. In the last two weeks since getting this device, my son has gained freedom, my daughter has gained a little bit of confidence in knowing she can stay overnight places, and I have become a little bit less of a helicopter parent. My daughter said that was her favorite thing about her Relay. My son said his favorite was the cool color and being able to go on bike rides. All in all its easy to say this device is a hit in our household!
With fall sports, activities, and school coming I recommend getting a Relay to stay connected with your busy kids. Get more information on the Relay visit the website here: https://relaygo.com/
Get your Relay at Target for an additional 40%! For details or to purchase a Relay for your child go here.