I t seems like there is a new smartphone app coming out every day to handle some real or imagined inconvenience. And as you know there are plenty of real inconveniences associated with parenting!
Apps come and go (their popularity does, anyway) but the challenges that preschool parents face are fairly predictable. “Don’t forget that! I need it yesterday! Where is…?”
In this post, we present the top 10 app categories for preschool parents with a few examples of apps that are on the market. Some of the apps have been specifically designed for parents; some just provide solutions parents find particularly useful.
Keep in mind that that there are different sets of apps for parents associated with different age groups, and we are not including any for newborns (for example: tracking feeding schedules aka parental sleep abuse) or teenagers (for example: tracking social media). Honorable mention goes to “newborn sleep monitor” app developers though, it’s a great improvement on an old idea. However, the ones that advertise soothing your newborn remotely with a disembodied voice are probably a little optimistic!
Here are the top 10 categories of apps for parents:
1. Packing checklists
Ever made it halfway across town before realizing you didn’t put the diaper in the, err, diaper bag? Try using a packing checklist program. Just don’t forget your smartphone.
Check out: Baby Pack and Go
2. Planning meals
Meal planning apps are a great way for busy parents to organize the week’s menu and even set up an associated shopping list.
Check out: All Recipes’ apps
3. Organizing everyone
There are lots of task list, calendaring, and general GTD (getting things done) type apps. Some are designed specifically with the family in mind, also known informally as OYH (organizing your husband) apps.
Check out: Cozi
4. Storing media automatically
It is obviously a good idea to keep digital media related to your child, such as art work from school, in a safe place. Parents, however, frequently don’t have time to sit and organize media into the right places on a regular basis. There are apps that bridge this gap by automatically sending certain media to certain storage places immediately after it is captured.
Check out: Artkive
5. Saving money
Is there anyone who does not like special deals found on the Internet? Try using an app specifically focused on one area associated with kids, such as saving money on kids’ meals in restaurants.
Check out: Kids Meal Deals
6. Paying conveniently
Even if you save a buck, though, there is no free lunch. If you have eaten out with a toddler, you know that waiting in line to pay (or waiting for anything, really) is a chore. There are apps designed to speed up the payment process so you don’t have to wait for that, at least.
Check out: Dash
7. Knowing where
Parents frequently need to find very specific people, places, or things. There are a variety of locally-focused and nationally-focused apps designed to help. If you need to find something, check and see if someone has built an app for it!
Check out: Mom Maps (National, points of interest for bored kids)
Sit or Squat (National, public toilets)
8. Knowing what & when
Learning about and keeping track of events or other scheduled get-togethers for your child to to attend can be tricky. “Aggregator” apps to find them are almost always locally based, so we recommend trying to find one specifically for your area.
Places like local museums, science centers, or parks may provide their own app to keep their patrons up to date on the latest goings on such as new exhibits or their own events. Whether you find out about it through an aggregator app or directly through the place’s own app largely depends on where you are and who offers what. When you visit places in town, keep an eye out for any signs suggesting that they have an app. If they made it, they will want you to know about it!
Check out: RedTricycle
9. Potty training
An app can help you “gamify” the potty training process! It allows your child to use the same gadget that Mom and Dad use every day!
Check out: Potty Training App
10. Providing distractions
Of course we cannot overlook the fact that apps for preschoolers are, in fact, apps for parents. Ah, a few minutes of peace and quiet. OK, they probably aren’t the most character-building or educational thing your child could be doing, but it happens! There is a huge variety of options and the key is to make sure the one you choose is “kid safe.”
Check out: “Kid Mode”
Would you suggest any other examples in the above categories?