There's one thing for certain. Parenting doesn't come with instructions. There's no guidebook or checklist to tell us what we should do in each situation. But, fortunately for us, we have an advantage that generations before us did not; that advantage is technology.
Living in a digital world means that technology has become a part of our everyday lives. You've got a problem or need? Well, guess what? There's an app for that! Today, there are tons of apps that make life a little easier for parents — whether it's to assist with finding the perfect theme for your little one's 1st birthday celebration or keeping track of your family's finances.
Following are some of my top picks for parents to help keep it all together …
Pinterest — Pinterest is a social media sharing site that allows you to pin and visually organize content on themed boards. Pinterest is the go-to site for delicious recipes, DIY ideas, the latest children's products, literally anything you can think of. Parents love Pinterest for the tons of amazing tips and tools that are geared toward children and families. And because it gives them a fun way to organize family resources.
Magic Sleep — If you surveyed 100 parents, I am almost certain that all 100 would list sleep as the thing they miss the most after becoming a parent. And, while most parents are resigned to the fact that they probably won't have the opportunity to sleep until after their child's 18th birthday, their sanity is dependent on trying to snag at least a few hours each night. For infants, the Magic Sleep app works by re-creating sounds from the womb that soothe and ease babies. But it is designed specifically to help older children and adults fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. Give it a try next time insomnia strikes.
Amazon Kindle — Learning to read is one of the most fundamentally important skills that your child will learn. It is the basis for everything that they will learn from that point forward. Don't wait until your children are reading (or even speaking) to introduce them to books. Using an app like the Kindle you have the ability to store an entire library in the palm of your hands. Not only will you save a tremendous amount of space, but e-books are typically much less expensive than their print versions.
Potty Training Game — Not all parents are in the potty-training stage, but those that are know it can be frustrating, exciting, nerve-racking, and even a little bittersweet all at the same time. This app brings the idea of a rewards system right to your mobile device so that your toddlers can add their own stars whenever they go on the potty. Kids will love playing with a cute bear character and will enjoy filling in their very own sticker chart.
Ibotta — I don't know any parent that doesn't love saving money. Save money on your purchases by taking advantage of company rebates in the form of cash or gift card rewards. Ibotta is a fantastic app that you can use with most of your favorite stores, including Walmart, Target, Costco and Kohl's. Unlike some rebate apps you can upload the receipt of your purchase to receive credit for in-store purchases in addition to online purchases.
Home Budget Manager — Setting up a home budget can be difficult and time consuming. Make it easy and save time using the Home Budget Manager. Use it to manage your income and expenses, in addition to setting up a monthly budget. Know where your money is going and how to meet your family goals much faster. The app also has a colorful dashboard so that so can check out how you're doing financially in just a matter of seconds.
ChoreMonster — If this app was around when I was a kid, I probably would have done a lot more chores. This is a really fun app that kids ages 4-12 will love. Parents can manage the chores each child is responsible for and the rewards they receive. And kids then earn points by completing chores and use them toward rewards like an hour of TV or a weekend trip.
Photobucket — Like with most parents, photos of my family take up more space on my mobile devices than anything else. Keep your photos safe and save space on your devices by backing up your photos with Photobucket. The app also allows you to automatically back up your photos in addition to editing and printing them. And access them anywhere you go.
This is just a small sampling of the apps available to parents. Make technology work for you and easily eliminate some of your biggest parenting woes.
Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.