No one ever said parenting was easy, right?
Any mom or dad can tell you that each stage of parenting is hard. Babies don’t sleep, toddlers don’t listen, older kids don’t do their chores—you get the idea. Of course, most parents wouldn’t give up parenting for anything in the world—we just wish it would be a little bit easier!
The good news is, we live during a time in which help is available at the tips of our fingers. Whether you’re the parent of a newborn, toddler, middle-schooler, or teenager, you can rest assured that there is some app out there designed to help you out.
And more than help you out—these apps are designed to keep you sane.
Here’s how to choose the one that’s best for you.
WedMD Baby, Baby Connect, Eat Sleep: Simple Baby Tracking, and White Noise, are 4 apps that are especially designed to help parents of newborns and young babies make sense of the chaos that surrounds this stage of life.
While these little fellas don’t do much except eat, sleep, and poop, every parent knows just how harrowing the whole newborn-experience can be—especially when your baby is waking every 2 hours in the middle of the night to eat, you have to go back to work 6 weeks postpartum, and there’s not enough coffee in the world that can make you think coherently.
Fortunately, these apps make the thinking part a bit easier, and each app has its own niche.
WebMD Baby is an offshoot of WebMD, one of the most trusted sources of medical information on the web. So it’s no surprise that over 1.7 million new parents trust the app also. In addition to offering tracking for feeding, sleeping, and diapers, it also offers access to a wealth of relevant information and an Ask the Pediatrician feature that includes videos from trusted doctors.
Baby Connect also provides tracking for eating, sleeping, and diaper changes. It offers multiple sign-ins for the same account, which means that mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, nanny—whoever—can all log into the same baby’s account. This makes it an especially good app for families with nannies, in that the nanny can enter a baby’s daily activities and the parents will immediately be updated through custody connections. Once the log is updated, the account of every authorized person is immediately synchronized.
Eat Sleep: Simple Baby Tracking is probably the simplest, most uncomplicated of the baby apps, offering new parents the chance to quickly input information and then continue on with their busy days.
When it comes to these 3 top-rated apps, the bottom line is that you should decide what features are most important to you. Do you need instant access to expert medical information, immediate syncing with a nanny, or a simple platform to record eating and sleeping times? Do you want to share photos or keep information completely private? Remember, all of these apps offer basic tracking, so it’s the bells and whistles that will really make a difference in terms of what app purchases you choose.
White Noise is a different kind of app altogether, but perhaps the most practical. Babies are known to sleep better with white noise in the background, and this helpful app offers a large number of app features and sounds—some free, some not—over a large range of frequencies. Sounds include air conditioner, heavy rain pouring, cat purring, and many more!
This app can be used in addition to any of the 3 tracking apps, by any parent who wants to get their baby sleeping for a longer stretch of time.
The terrible twos—often a misnomer for a stage that can start anywhere from a year and a half and end closer to 4 years old. This is the stage of Jekyll and Hyde—when one second, your 2-year old is tantruming because you coughed, and the next second, cooing angelically at her baby doll.
This is also the stage in which kids start to produce art, use the bathroom, and really enjoy playdates.
Enter Artkive, Sit or Squat, and MomMaps, 3 apps that theoretically can be used for any-aged kids, but practically, are most useful for parents of toddlers.
Artkive is a phenomenal app that offers a paper-free way of storing your children’s art work. It can be used from the minute your child picks up a crayon and offers fun little features such as printing a book from your child’s artwork. Monthly fees range between $3-$13 a month, and all plans come with unlimited storage.
Sit or Squat is what it sounds like—it provides the location of the nearest bathroom to you. You can also use it ahead of time to find out where the closest bathroom will be, so you won’t be caught unawares. Has every parent been through the “I have to go!!” stage with a toddler? Yes. So we don’t really need to elaborate on how helpful this app can be.
MomMaps helps parents find the nearest parks, playgrounds, restaurants, museums, and indoor play areas. This is especially helpful for vacationing parents who want to find child-appropriate activities nearby. The arepp also allows you to read reviews, which means you can make sure you don’t end up somewhere totally not appropriate for your child.
While any of the above 3 apps can help save your sanity during your child’s toddler years, bear in mind that just because they can be useful, doesn’t mean you must get them. If your child is not that into art, you don’t need to make yourself crazy storing his artwork. While these apps are, indeed, great, only you can decide if they will help you or will just end up wasting time and energy.
Aw, your little ones are growing up so fast! And suddenly, these baby and toddler apps are no longer relevant. Yikes! You need a more grown-up and high-functioning app to deal with your growing family, which basically includes any child who is able to handle a chore list or go places on their own.
Cozi, ChoreMonster, and Mama Bear are apps are similar to each other, but, like the baby apps, they each offer their own unique specialty. Cozi is the most comprehensive of the three, meaning, it covers the most areas of family life. ChoreMonster focuses on—you guessed it!—chores, while Mama Bear is an app created for parents’ peace of mind.
Here are some more details:
Cozi is an award-winning shared calendar app and organizer that helps make order from the chaos of family life. It includes a family planner, lets you create to-do lists for everyone, shopping lists, recipes, and more. Practically, this means that you can track your child's (and their own) doctors’ appointments, extracurricular activities, grocery lists, meal scheduling, and communication. If you and your partner are separated, you can created specifically designed custody schedules using the app. Also, you can even keep an eye on your favorite sports team’s television schedule with color coded communication tools.
Cozi Gold is the VIP version, which costs $29.99/year and offers an ad-free experience as well as a few other perks.
ChoreMonster is an app designed to get your 4-12 year olds to do their chores by making chores into a fun game. The main thing to know about this app is that it’s all about using rewards as incentive for doing chores. While this might not jive with everyone’s parenting philosophy, for those that embrace incentivization, there is no better app than ChoreMonster. It’s funny, engaging, and offers easy access to both kids and parents.
The catch with both Cozi and ChoreMonster is—your kids need to have access to some electronic device in order for everyone to be on the same page. The apps work on Android, iOS, and computer, but if your child is not at an age that you want him to have access to these devices freely, you might need to come up with a different idea instead.
Mama Bear is geared towards families with teenagers. Also award-winning, it boasts social media and text monitoring, location sharing, speeding alerts, and family sharing. There is a free version and also for-pay versions that are ad-free and offer more features. This app is truly remarkable and can offer peace of mind for parents whose kids have entered the turbulent teenage years.
Using a parenting app to help you sort out whatever stage of parenting you’re at will not only benefit you, it will benefit all your family members. Your kids will enjoy a calmer, more organized, more sane parent who is able to laugh and enjoy time with their kids as opposed to sweating the small stuff that inevitably comes along with parenting.
As a parent, you are the one who will make your household run more smoothly, you are the one who will make life more organized and hassle-free for your kids, and you are the one who will give yourself as much peace of mind as possible.
What’s more empowering than that?