Dads to the rescue: 10 parenting apps to keep things running smoothly at home
By Rebecca Linke, Computerworld, 17 June 2016.
By Rebecca Linke, Computerworld, 17 June 2016.
As anyone with a child knows, parenting can be hugely rewarding, but also hugely challenging. Luckily, there's an app for that - or multiple apps, to be more precise.
In honor of Father's Day, we rounded up some of the most useful applications that can help ease your everyday parenting challenges. These apps were designed to guide you through various stages of the parenting timeline - from the moment your children burst onto the scene to the day they head off on their own. Take a few minutes to treat yourself to some tech support for your No. 1 job.
1. Full Term
A big question for soon-to-be dads is when to head to the hospital once labor begins. Much of that decision is based on the duration of the expectant mother's labor contractions and the amount of time in between them.
That's where the Full Term app contraction timer comes in. This free app makes it easy to record the duration of each contraction and measure the time in between. It can also make note of each contraction's intensity. During the pregnancy, expectant parents can also record when the fetus kicks. An ad-free version is available for 99 cents. Now all you have to worry about is getting to the hospital and having the baby. But that's the easy part, right?
2. Baby Tracker
There's a lot to remember in those early days with a newborn. They need to eat every few hours, they produce a certain number of soiled diapers every day, and they should take at least a couple of daily naps. But should all that remembering be entrusted to sleep-deprived parents?
Enter Baby Tracker, a free app that lets you record with the tap of a button when the baby eats, sleeps and gets a diaper change. Parents can also save the baby's growth information in the app, and see daily summaries and trend charts over time. Baby Tracker syncs between multiple devices, so parents will always have the pertinent information at their fingertips. A full version, priced at US$4.99, removes the ads and unblocks the statistical analysis charts.
Kids make a lot of artwork. And I do mean a lot of artwork. As a dad, you love it all, but let's be honest, it's impossible to save everything. But as parents, we don't want to get rid of anything - at least not without documenting it first.
With Keepy, parents can take pictures of kids' amazing creations - and include a voiceover or video explaining the masterpiece - and save it forever digitally. You can also share pictures with grandparents (or anyone, really) and print photobooks. The first five photos each month are free - if you want to store more images, purchase a monthly subscription for US$2.99 or a yearly subscription for US$9.99.
If you are anything like me, you take hundreds of photos of your kids each month, and never print any of them. Groovebook lets you be lazy like me, and still get your photos.
For US$2.99 per month, the app (which was bought by Shutterfly) will send you a 4x6 photobook with the 100 images you've chosen (if you include fewer than 100 images, Groovebook will simply make duplicates of some). The pages even have perforated edges so you can rip them out to frame or share.
5. Cozi Family Organizer
Life is busy when you're a dad, and remembering where everyone needs to be at any given time can be hard. The Cozi Family Organizer can help with that, and lots more.
Not only does the free app create a central family calendar, color-coded by person, but it also lets you add to-do lists and shopping lists (or honey-do lists, kids' chores lists, packing lists, etc.) and save recipes. You can also use it to capture family moments by uploading a photo with a note to share with friends and family. Plus, you can see your day's agenda at a glance. For US$19.99 for a one-year family subscription, upgrade to Cozi Gold, which removes the ads and includes extra features such as full month view, more appointment reminders, a birthday tracker, calendar change notifications and more.
Cozi syncs between devices, so everyone in the family is on the same page.
6. 1 Second Everyday
The 1 Second Everyday app prompts you to take one second of video each day to create a sort of video journal of a certain period of time - a week, a month, a year, or whatever period of time you choose.
Simply open the app each day, tap on the video icon and take a short video of your kids. 1SE then lets you trim the video to get the best one-second segment for your later compilation. And since kids love seeing videos of themselves, you'll be "Dad of the Year" just for having a cool video journal.
7. MamaBear Family Safety
Once your kids are past a certain age, they spend more time out in the world and less time under your wing. And as every parent knows, that transition can be a little scary.
Enter the MamaBear Family Safety app, touted as a way to help protect your family by giving you glimpses of your kids' activities when you are apart. This app shares their location when they are away from home, sends you speeding alerts if they are traveling by car faster than the speed limit you have specified, and monitors their use of text messages and social media. You don't need to be a mama bear to use this app - papa bears are welcome, too.
8. MyHomework Student Planner
MyHomework Student Planner was designed for kids to help organize their schoolwork, but because it syncs across devices, dads can also instantly know what assignments are on tap for their students and what's due when.
MyHomework lets students or parents enter class times and class assignments, including test schedules. MyHomework will then send reminders when a due date is approaching. Since this free app syncs across devices, parents can stay up to date on everything on their kids' plates. Now "I forgot" will never again be an acceptable excuse for not finishing homework. For an ad-free experience, the MyHomework premium version costs US$4.99 per year, and offers file attachments and enhanced app widgets.
When your kids are little, they get excited about being assigned chores. But as most dads know, as your kids get older, getting them to help out is like pulling teeth. ChoreMonster aims to put the excitement back into chores.
It's essentially two separate apps, both free, one for parents and one for kids. The parent-facing component allows you to create a list of chores for your kids to complete, a list of rewards and each chore's point value. Kids see this information on their version of the app, pick a chore to complete and then submit the task for rewards. The interface is geared toward kids ages 4 to 12, but the premise is sure to work for older kids, too.
10. College Packing List
Life moves fast. Just a few slides ago they were babies, and now you're ready to send them off to college. This free app comes with readymade lists for students' rooms, desks, kitchens - really, anything they might need for college living. Tap on a list item, and get more information about why they need it. You can also add to the lists if necessary.
The transition to college can be stressful enough - College Packing List makes the process a bit easier for any dad of a college-bound kid.
Top image: The 1 Second Everyday app. Credit: 1 Second Everyday.
[Source: Computerworld. Edited. Top image added.]