Wearable tech for kids comes in many, many shapes and flavors — whether you want to hook up your little one to a device that will track location, activity, or maybe even teach them a few important life lessons… Other, more obscure forms of the trend have hit the scene over the past few years, like a set of smart pajamas that works with a compendium app. Those graphic dots on the matching top-and-bottom set correspond to more than 90 nighttime stories. Point your Smartphone at the pjs and let the nighttime ritual begin. (No guarantees on how soothing this experience may actually be for children — and adults.)
More recently, however, we discovered a truly useful application of wearable tech. Researchers from the University of Minnesota recently created a wired onesie that they put on little ones to help them decode the — wait for it — typical toddler tantrum. And the excitement doesn’t stop there: Researchers more importantly discovered that there is in fact a method to the madness of the classic tantrum. Even though for parents they can appear to be beyond reason, out of the blue and entirely resistant to our efforts to stop them, experts in the study discovered that tantrums do in fact have a predictable arc shared by most children. Even better, when parents understand the anatomy of the tantrum, they can better end it earlier — without resorting to total digital distraction.
So what’s the big secret? The short answer is this: While most parents feel that tantrums start in anger and end in sadness, researchers say that it is far from the case, and that anger and sadness are actually intertwined throughout the meltdown. This is critical when it comes to soothing a distraught child: Ignore their anger, and address only their sadness. (Easier said than done!) But if you can do it, you’ll have a win: Sad kids reach out for comfort, whereas angry ones don’t.