From pregnancy apps to parental control apps, a growing crop of new and notable mobile tools have made being a mom or a dad a lot easier. Whether they’re tracking baby’s growth or making sure kids get from point A to point B—our picks of some of the best parenting apps will change your life for the better. Keep reading to see them all.
Best Pregnancy Apps
Named among Apple’s list of “Essential Apps for Parents” and Time Magazine’s “Top 50 Apps of the Year,” Sprout Pregnancy is a well-designed health and pregnancy tracker that guides expectant moms through every day of her pregnancy with useful tools and attractive 3D graphics. The app helps moms-to-be stay organized and educated about all of the changes and developments happening to her body as well as to her growing baby. The app comes with a free two-week trial of premium services, which can be upgraded via an in-app purchase. Other useful Sprout family-planning apps include Sprout Baby Tracker, Sprout Period, Fertility & Ovulation Tracker and Sprout Growth Tracker.
When it comes to pregnancy apps, dads often get short shrift. After all, although it’s not uncommon to say “we” are pregnant, the truth is that it’s the moms who do the heavy lifting for nine months (and often beyond). For dads who want to feel more connected during pregnancy, Daddy Up is a humorous app that functions as a man’s field guide to pregnancy. With lumberjack-inspired graphics and its tongue planted firmly in cheek, Daddy Up provides helpful weekly tidbits about pregnancy, including baby-size comparisons, customizable daddy checklists, and a contraction counter. Wise words from seasoned dads are interspersed throughout the app, offering encouragement to new dads-to-be and veteran dads alike.
Best New Baby Apps
Data-crazy parents and caregivers will totally dig Baby Connect, a comprehensive baby tracking app that shows what’s happening with the baby in concise graphical reports and trending charts. From tracking feedings, meds, and growth to setting timers, notifications, and milestones, Baby Connect’s simple, engaging interface makes keeping up with baby a breeze. The app lets parents synchronize and exchange real-time information with a spouse, babysitter, or daycare provider. A free web interface gives access to authorized users via any web browser—no mobile device needed.
Cloud Baby Monitor
Baby monitors usually come in two varieties: no-frills and inexpensive or chock-full of over-the-top doodads and pricey. Cloud Baby Monitor combines high-quality video and audio at an affordable price point by using Apple devices that many parents already have. Download the app on two or more Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or a Mac), then select which device stays with baby and which device stays with you. Using your devices’ built-in cameras and screens, Cloud Baby Monitor securely displays live video and audio over wifi, cellular or Bluetooth. Additional features include noise and motion alerts, white noise and lullabies, and the option to speak and soothe to baby from another room.
Available of iOS, $3.99.
Quick Tips for Dads
Billing itself as “the ultimate survival guide for new dads, made by dads,” Quick Tips for Dads offers no-nonsense, practical advice to help good dads become great dads—and to earn serious brownie points with your spouse along the way. Included in the app are more than 250 stress-busting tips written by real dads, essential how-to guides, and helpful must-have checklists. The app’s online community lets dads connect with each other to ask questions or submit tips. Presented in easy-to-read, snackable bites, Quick Tips for Dads is loaded with all of the good stuff without any filler.
Available for iOS, $1.99.
Best Apps for Kids
Getting kids to perform their chores can be a drag, but ChoreMonster aims to make doing chores more fun by engaging and rewarding kids for jobs well done. With its cheerful, game-like interface, kids ages 4-12 will actually enjoy completing assignments and earning points that can be redeemed for rewards such as treats and screen time—or whatever parents decide. Instead of issuing ultimatums, ChoreMonster makes assigning and completing chores a rewarding and winning experience for parents and kids alike.
HopSkipDrive—Rides for Kids
HopSkipDrive is an innovative ride-sharing service exclusively for kids that’s designed to help busy parents get their kids around town safely. Think Uber or Lyft for Kids. Created by three moms who understand the struggle of juggling active schedules, the app lets parents line up car rides with safe, trustworthy, and experienced caregivers. Drivers undergo extensive background checks and screenings, including a 15-point certification process, as well as adherence to strict safety requirements, and every ride can be monitored in real time via the app and by live customer support. The service currently is available in the greater Los Angeles area, San Francisco, and East Bay.
Lots of parents feel pangs of guilt about tossing the creative masterpieces that the kids bring home from school. Instead of papering your fridge with layers of kiddie artwork or letting piles of it collect dust, Artkive lets you snap pics of your kids’ artwork, homework, and school recognition, then store them chronologically to share or print. In addition to getting rid of the clutter, your Artkive can be turned into a high-quality, hard-cover book or other products like phone cases, blankets and more—all with a touch of a button.
Life360 Family Tracker
Using mobile devices’ GPS, Life360 Family Tracker provides real-time, location sharing, letting family and friends know where to find each other at all times. The app lets users view the real-time locations of registered friends and family on a private map as well as lets users receive alerts when people being tracked arrive or leave designated locations. As an added bonus, the app lets users track lost or stolen phones, too.
Finding fun activities for kids can be a chore, especially for time-strapped parents and short-attention-spanned little ones. Rather than committing to a single high-priced activity, KidPass is a subscription-based app that lets kids try out lots of different activities—ranging from dance classes, arts and crafts, sports lessons, cooking classes, academic classes, and more—for a single monthly fee. Currently available in New York City, additional metro areas—including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC—are slated to open up soon. KidPass has three membership options, depending on the number of children and activities, with fun stuff for kids ages 2 months to 12 years.
Available for iOS, free with additional membership options starting at $49/monthly.
For us parents who struggle to help our tweenagers with math homework and realize that we probably should have paid closer attention in pre-algebra, PhotoMath is the app we’ve been looking for. Using the app, simply point the camera toward a math problem (even handwritten equations) and PhotoMath shows the answers with detailed step-by-step instructions. The app supports math problems ranging from simple arithmetics to fractions to algebraic expressions and even trigonometry.
Keeping tabs on your kids in the real world is one thing, but monitoring their safety online becomes increasingly more complex, especially as they grow older. The MamaBear app lets parents monitor their kids’ online social media activities—including previews of Instagram photos and details about Twitter and Instagram followers, YouTube viewing history, Tumblr and Facebook posts—through a real-time Family Newsfeed. In addition, parents and kids can receive and send private photos and text messages, as well as share their locations via GPS.
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What apps have changed your life as a parent? Tell us in the comments below!