KIERAN HOWARD: Is it cheating if I attach my FitBit to my busy toddler?

Being a parent to a toddler and baby is costing me dear in my Global Challenge bid.  The annual Virgin Pulse event sees thousands of people compete from organisations across the world.

Wednesday, 4th July 2018, 10:09 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:05 pm
Kieran wonders if he could hardness Louie's energy for his FitBit challenge

As a team of seven, you're encouraged to walk, run and cycle as many miles as you can over 100 days.

As the captain of my workplace team, I should really be leading by example.

And I was doing just that prior to the commencement of my paternity leave.

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I was averaging close to a respectable 15,000 steps a day while in work.

I was pretty happy with that too, even if the blisters on my feet were suggesting otherwise.

My competitive average, however, has now dropped to a lowly 11,000 steps a day since being home with the kids.

I put the majority of that slump in figure down to a rather serious flaw in the fitness tracking devices used to calculate how far you've covered.

My Fitbit (there are other devices on the market) refuses to acknowledge any steps I've taken while pacing along the landing, cradling and rocking Lennie back to sleep.

I must have racked up 1,000 steps getting him back to the land of nod the other day, but my Fitbit refused to admit I'd done anything.

The reading on the screen indicated I'd just been sat idly on my sofa for that same 20-minute period.

I nearly threw it out of the window when I realised it hadn't recorded any of my activity. I felt cheated.

If it wasn't a big breach of the rules of the competition, I'd consider attaching my tracker to Louie.

He must clock up about 30,000 steps a day. The boy never stops.

Shockingly, I've discovered the tracker also doesn't accept distances covered while pushing Lennie's pram or Louie's Little Tikes car.

Kerrie was almost apoplectic when she learned the four miles she'd walked on recent errands with the boys hadn't registered on her Fitbit.

The trackers are very accurate in other respects, though, not least because they record how long an individual has slept.

That feature has been an absolute godsend since the arrival of Lennie.

There's now no longer any room for debate or argument over how much shut-eye we've each had.

It's always easy to assume one has had less sleep than the other when you're tending to a baby overnight.

Fitbits and trackers now provide the definitive answer to that long-running dispute.

Kerrie revealed she'd had 11 minutes more than me the other night.

That hit me as hard as it would if it had been three hours.

She'd just recently given birth, however, so I suppose she deserved the extra 660 seconds.



If you're new to the world of parenting, here's several recent valuable lessons I've learned.

I hope they're lessons which may also serve you well. Firstly, brand new tubes of toothpaste are a poor substitute for the common garden trowel. 

They simply don't have enough surface area to achieve the same results as the trusted hand digging tool. Louie felt otherwise, though, as he strode purposefully out into the garden and proceeded to dig up the flowerbed with an unopened junior Colgate. If he has his way, he'll be trying to brush his teeth with a trowel next. Secondly, it's definitely best to avoid using your own steam to blow up an excessively large inflatable paddling pool. I barely knew what day of the week it was by the time I'd finished pumping up Louie's. Finally, and by no means least, never allow a toddler to enter a pool, such as the above-mentioned, within an hour of them downing chocolate milk. It will only end in tears, for you and them. I won't go into too much detail, but suffice it to say the milk made an untimely and unwelcome reappearance. It was as I picked Louie up and landed him in the pool for the 12th time.  Sadly for me, I wasn't quick enough to escape its path.