If you’re like me, you’ve usually got a kid in one hand and a smartphone in the other. I use my Android phone constantly; it’s the first thing I look at when I wake up and the last thing I see before I go to bed. My phone keeps me connected to my husband, my boss, and my friends; it means I can send a quick picture of the kids to the grandparents or text another mom about setting up a playdate.
And then there are the apps. What would I do without the apps? I track my sleep, my diet, and my exercise on my phone; I deposit checks to my online banking account and order my entire family pizza with one click. My favorite apps, however, are the ones that help me with the kids. I’ve got a pre-schooler and a kindergartener, and without my mom-friendly smartphone apps, I don’t know how I’d make it through the day!
My kids and I have our favorite places to visit. We like the park down the block, the pet shop in the mall, and — of course — the ice cream store. But sometimes we go to new places, like the time we went with Daddy on his business trip to Chicago. That weekend, Mom Maps saved my life. It’s an app that shows you kid-friendly restaurants, parks, museums, and other fun spaces. Use Mom Maps every time you plan to visit a new city with your kids.
Sit or Squat
Sometimes, you don’t need to know where the nearest museum is; you need to know where the nearest potty is — and fast! That’s where Sit or Squat comes in. This app was created by Charmin, which means it’s kinda quirky and adorable, and the famous toilet-trained bears do make plenty of appearances. Most importantly, it gets the job done. To quote Maple Leaf Mommy: “Not only does it help you locate the nearest public restroom, it also shows reviews that others have left and gives each washroom a rating, letting you know ahead of time if it’s a “sit” or a “squat” spot.”
Kids Zone Parental Controls
Yes, I do let my children use my smartphone. They like playing kid-friendly games like Bubbles, and of course they’re both hooked on Angry Birds, even though my youngest kid hasn’t quite figured out that you’re supposed to knock down the buildings. That meant I started by installing some software for Android smartphone security to make sure they couldn’t accidentally download any viruses, and then added an extra layer of protection with the Kids Zone Parental Controls app.
With Kids Zone Parental Controls, my kids can only see a pre-approved “kids zone” of their favorite apps. But that’s not the best part. The best part is the app’s “Chore Mode,” where it automatically shuts down after a pre-determined amount of time (I like to give them about 15 minutes) and then won’t let the kid back into Kids Zone until I confirm that the chores are done. This is one of the few reliable ways I’ve found to get my kids to tidy up their rooms!
Of course, no list of mom apps would be complete without Cozi, the calendar tracker and organizer. Cozi has everything: when I enter an event into the calendar, it syncs with my husband’s phone; we can both add items to our grocery list or to-do list; we can even organize photos that we want to send to Grandma. Cozi is, hands-down, my favorite smartphone apps, and it continuously gets glowing reviews from other moms.
What about you? Do you have a favorite smartphone app to help you manage your life and kids? Right now I’m looking for a good app to help my five-year-old track her daily piano practice. Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!