I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’d be lost without my smartphone. I spent a recent afternoon scouring the Internet for the best apps for moms and dads. All of these apps can be found at itunes.com.
• Health: One of the things I use my smartphone (and the Internet) for most often is to look up various ailments. My usual go to is WebMD (free), but I recently read about an app called iHomeopathy, which gives homeopathic first aid advice for dozens of symptoms ($3). I prefer the First Aid by Red Cross app, mostly because it’s a little more comprehensive and it’s free. The Red Cross app tells you step-by-step what to do in an emergency and non-emergency and has videos. There’s also a donate button.
• Baby Schedule Apps: When my kids were babies, I used a notebook to log things like feedings and sleep. Now there are several apps that will keep all of that data for you. Baby Care lets you log feedings, diaper changes, sleep, milestones and special events and then lets you see the results by week or month. There is a free lite version and an upgraded version for $2.99.
• Baby Monitors: There is a really cool app called Baby Monitor 3G that turns any two iPhones or IPads into a baby monitor. I didn’t try this out, but at $3.99 it seems to be a bargain, considering baby monitors with video can run into the hundreds of dollars. Of course, you only make out on the deal if you already have more than one device that you can spare for nap and bedtimes.
• Potty Charts: If the poster board potty chart with stickers that you put on your refrigerator is too old-school for you, there are several potty chart apps you can try. The Potty Time with Elmo app has the Sesame Street pal interacting with your child to help him or her know when it’s time to use the potty. There are games, songs and a reward chart with animated stickers. The app is $2.99. There’s a free app called Potty Training Time that does much the same thing.
• Chores: Currently, we keep track of chores and allowances with charts that hang on the refrigerator. It involves checkmarks keeping track of who does what when. It’s kind of a pain. I’m thinking about going digital with the whole thing. Here are a few of the apps I’m considering: Allowance & Chores Bot allows you to assign chores on a specific schedule and keep track of allowance owed to each child. The app syncs across multiple devices and will even remind your child that he or she has a chore to do, if they have their own device. There’s a free version that allows you to set up the program for only one child. The paid version is $2.99. There’s also an app called ChoreMonster, which does much the same thing. The ChoreMonster app is free, but you have to “join” and pay a membership fee for the services.
• Safe Internet Surfing: My kids are always using my devices, and I worry about them stumbling across something they shouldn’t while surfing the Internet. SurfBalance is a full-screen mobile web browser that lets you set up filters and will send you email reports of your child’s browsing activity. It’s $4.99.
• Odds and Ends: One of the most-used apps on my phone is iHandy Flashlight Pro. It’s a flashlight and oh so much more. It has a disco light, neon lights, a Glow Stick feature and more. Not only do we use this to amuse ourselves, but it has come in handy often for looking under the table at restaurants for a missing toy (army guy, matchbox car, crayon) that has been dropped. Or under the bed, or couch. Also, if you have younger kids, maybe 7 or younger (although my 9-year-old still plays these apps) you have to try out the Toca Boca games. They have quite a few games (we used to have them all, but I’ve lost track) and they’re all so cute and keep kids busy styling hair, driving a train, cooking food or creating a band, to name just a few.
I hope you check a few of these out. I enjoy finding and trying new apps. Most of them I end up deleting (which is why I almost always only download free apps), but every once in a while I find one that I really like and helps me save time or money or helps me be organized.
If you have any parenting topics you’d like me to touch on, feel free to comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter at @heatherrainone or follow my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HeatherCondleyRainoneRecordCourierManagingEditor.
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