Five Apps that Would Make Parenting Kids Easier
by Lisa A. Beach
Thanks to smartphones, parenting is a whole lot easier than it used to be. As a parent, you can track your kid’s whereabouts with a GPS-enabled cell phone. You can download instant advice to solve weird medical emergencies, like how to dislodge the black bean your toddler stuck up his nose. And you can frantically search Pinterest for no-bake cookie recipes for today’s school bake sale that your third grader forgot to tell you about until this morning.
But the Holy Grail of parenting apps has yet to be invented. Parents everywhere would chant a collective “Hell, yeah!” if some brilliant, tech-savvy app developer (such as your neighborhood teen) would create a few smartphone apps that tackle some of parenting’s thorniest issues.
From tantrums to finicky appetites to I-don’t-want-to-take-a-nap struggles, kids test your parenting mettle on a daily basis. Think how much easier the day-to-day parenting grind would be with these smartphone apps:
Never puncture your foot at midnight again! If walking through your kids’ room is akin to navigating a plastic minefield of Legos, you need to download this little beauty. Why rely on a way-too-bright flashlight that threatens to wake up your finally-asleep kids when you can use the minimally intrusive Lego Detector app? (Bonus! It works on Barbie accessories and other small, sharp objects, like broken Hot Wheels, collectible bottle caps, dislodged pencil points, shark teeth and Indian arrowheads.) Using a combination of night-vision technology and special geometric sensors that detect sharp angles, you can safely traverse your kids’ floor in the dark and escape without a ruptured heel or perforated toe.
Pushed to the edge by your kids bickering again? No need to yell, pop a vein in your temple, or bang your head against the wall. Squabble Solver to the rescue! Just choose from pre-recorded, problem-solving monologues, where the experts talk directly to the under-10 crowd, delivering step-by-step, argument-diffusing advice in a calm, authoritative tone. Tap into classic parenting wisdom from Foster Cline and Jim Fay (Parenting with Love & Logic), Thomas Phelan (1-2-3 Magic), Adele Faber (How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk) or Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages of Children). And let’s get real—in the heat of the moment, you don’t remember all that sage advice anyway about the “Top 10 Ways to Diffuse Family Conflict without Ruining Your Child’s Self-Esteem.” Better to leave it to the experts.
EW! (Eat Warily: The Parent’s Guide to Finicky Eaters)
For every parent who’s ever said, “What do you mean you don’t like it? You ate it last week.”— EW! is for you. Developed by a veteran mom, EW! (Eat Warily: The Parent’s Guide to Finicky Eaters) might become the most-used app on your smartphone. While this robust app requires some upfront work (you’ve got to input your kid’s food intake for about 14 days), it’s well worth it. After just two weeks, the app’s brilliant appetite algorithm kicks in and begins predicting what your kids will like on any given day. Acting as a gauge to where in the “I-like-it-today” food cycle your kid is in, the app takes the guesswork out of meals and snacks. Bonus: You can search by individual food parameters, allowing you to deduce if a food’s ingredients (i.e., sesame seeds), texture (i.e., squishy onions) or shape (i.e., triangular vs. round) will send your kid into a behavioral tailspin at mealtime. Besides simplifying your life at home, EW! works great on the go, too. Whether you’re at a birthday party, a Sunday dinner at grandma’s or a family-friendly restaurant, EW! can help you instantly detect and plan around your kid’s finicky eating patterns.
How many times in a row can you honestly put your kids in time-out ? With the Discipline Wheel on hand, you can just type in your kid’s latest infraction and discover a range of creative punishments as they scroll before your eyes. (Savvy kids might begin to dub this the Wheel of Misfortune when you use it frequently enough.) Bonus: When your kids tell you how you’re the meanest parent in the world, you can whip out the Discipline Wheel app to prove them wrong. When they see that Owen from Oklahoma lost playdate privileges for three weeks or Fiona from Florida had zero access to her mom’s iPad for a month, they’ll realize they got off pretty easy with your pathetically painless punishments.
From downstairs, you hear a bang a thud and a blood-curdling scream, making your heart momentarily stop. Was that a mom-better-get-me-to-the-ER-pronto kind of scream, or was it a my-sister-just-took-my-favorite-doll kind of scream? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell. While you do get better at detecting the difference over time, it’s a slow process. Scream Screen to the rescue! Press the Record button and let the app work its magic on a five-second soundbite, using a combination of voice recognition and emotion-sensing technology. With a simple color-coding system (red = blood might be involved, better run fast; green = don’t sweat it, you have time to finish your cup of coffee first), you can quickly decide how to react.
Of course, this is just a starter list. What apps would you recommend?
Author’s Bio: Lisa Beach is a freelance writer, humor blogger and recovering homeschool mom who lived to write about it. Find her at www.LisaBeachWrites.com and visit www.TweeniorMoments.com, Lisa’s humor blog about midlife, family, friends and all the baggage that goes with it.