The best apps for overworked parents
Tech help for bringing up baby.
Parenting manages to be hugely rewarding and incredibly challenging at the same time. The chaos can eat up all of your free hours, leaving you scrambling to get things done. Luckily, technology can save time through savvy scheduling magic or the automation of tiring jobs. We’ve collected seven Android and iOS apps to help you bring up baby—or children of any age.
Like the apps that track your health stats, Babytime collects information about your child’s behavior. In this case, you use the app to keep a log of feeding times, diaper changes, naps, and more. Without requiring that you keep a mental log of everything, this app can pick up whether your little one has been sleeping erratically and tell you when they might get hungry.
In addition to monitoring a wealth of habits, Babytime provides an easy-to-use interface—you can add to any of these records with only a few taps. When you launch the app for the first time, it lets you begin tracking the basics, and you can fill out more details as you go. And when you’re tired after a long day of childcare, you can rest your weary eyes by activating a night mode with darker colors.
Babytime for iOS only, $3
For an even more comprehensive tracker, try Sprout Baby. Through it, you log medications, growth spurts, and periods of illness, as well as sleeping routines, diaper changes, and feeding times. On top of that, it pulls comparative data from the WHO and the CDC so you can check your baby’s progress against that of the general population.
In addition to activity tracking, Sprout Baby provides neat little extras like a tool for taking photos and recording memories that you can revisit later. It also provides advice and tip sheets on what to expect from your child’s development as he or she grows.
On the down side, the app’s extra abilities also weigh down its interface, so you might find that logging information takes more time and effort than it does with Babytime. Sprout Baby is also pricier than its fellow tracker: Although you get many features for free, in order to access all of the app’s goodies—including a weight tracker and doctor-visit log—you must pay for the premium version.
Sprout Baby for iOS only, free for basic features and $8 for premium ones
Life360 Family Locator
Stop worrying about where your kids are and what they’re doing. Life360 Family Locator shows your family members on a map so you can always keep track of them. It also sends messages to individuals and groups, finds lost phones, and notifies you when your children enter and exit certain locations—for example, when they leave school or arrive home.
While you get those features for free, an extra fee (prices vary depending on whether you sign up for a monthly or yearly account) unlocks additional abilities, such as revealing how well your teens are driving and sending alerts to your phone in case of a potential car accident. Although other apps offer some of these abilities individually, Life360 brings them all together in a single place, which should save some time when you need to check up on your kids.
When you encounter new parenting problems, tapping into the shared knowledge of other moms and dads can help. Social community app Winnie puts you in touch with other parents. This lets you post questions and ask about recommendations for, say, a fun family day out or a nearby venue that has baby-changing tables.
You can also leave your own advice for other parents, whether you’re sharing a warning, a restaurant review, or a new method for encouraging healthy eating. In addition to relevant tips by parents for parents, Winnie offers a clean and uncluttered app interface. And if you’d prefer to put your phone down, you can access the same core features through your web browser.
Managing the daily schedule of even one child quickly becomes an overwhelming task. Cozi, a special calendar app geared towards families, employs an elegant, color-coded interface to clearly show, at a glance, who should be doing what each day.
Because it syncs effortlessly across multiple devices, everyone in the family can access the shared Cozi schedules. Pop-up notifications ensure nobody will forget about soccer practice or dental appointments. The app also comes with bonuses like a grocery list manager, a family journal tool, and even a shared recipe book. Although the basic version is free, you’ll have to pay up to access premium abilities like calendar searches, a monthly view, and freedom from ads.
Sound Sleeper: White Noise
To help your baby drift off, there’s nothing like a white-noise app. We like Sound Sleeper: White Noise, for ages from birth to toddlerdom. Once it hears your child start to whimper or cry, the app will automatically activate and start playing soothing background sound. You can choose a variety of clips, from lullabies to rain to a recording of your own voice. In an ideal scenario, the app will soothe a fussy baby back to sleep, allowing you to stay in bed a little longer.
In addition to creating white noise, Sound Sleeper can double as a monitor for keeping an eye on your sleeping baby. If you install it on multiple phones or tablets, you can use one device’s camera to record your child while streaming the video feed over Wi-Fi to the other machine’s screen. A basic version of the app is free, or you can pay for additional audio clips and the ability to play sound for an unlimited duration.
If you ever need time away from your precious tot, UrbanSitter will help you find babysitters, nannies, and child care in your local area. It can even rustle up a helper on the same day you request one. Before getting in touch with someone, you can view a video profile and see their experience level and hourly rate up front. The app also vets potential employees through an extensive recommendations system that lets you read detailed reviews left by other parents.
Through the app, you can get in touch with someone, book child care, and take care of payment. This makes the whole process of getting someone to look after your kids, whether it’s for one night or for long-term care, fast and easy.