When you were a kid, your parents probably relied on guidance from relatives and parenting books, but in today’s world of rapidly changing technology there’s a new resource – the smartphone app.
Here are some of the best parenting apps for each stage of development sure to make parenting just a bit easier.
Best apps for newborns (plus, a pregnancy app)
This free app has information on children ages 1-8, too, but some of the best features are specific to infant care. Take pictures of your expanding bump and turn them into a time-lapse keepsake video or check out what your baby looks like each week with fetal development images and videos. There’s also an online community of moms navigating parenthood together.
For $3.99, you can turn an iPhone into a video baby monitor with the ability to talk to your little one, play white noise and turn on a night light. Typical baby monitors will run you at least $30, so save a few bucks and download the app. You can even sync it to more than one phone so your partner can keep an eye on the baby, too.
To get the best lullabies for your sleepy baby, don’t turn to specific lullaby apps – instead, download Spotify for access to hundreds of lullabies, with singing or without. The artist Nursery Rhymes 123 has a number of albums like “Classic Nursery Rhymes” or “Sleep, Baby” to keep your baby entertained or get them ready for bedtime. You can download the free version (and sit through an advertisement here and there) or shell out $9.99/month for ad-free music and the ability to download songs to your phone for when you don’t have Wi-Fi.
Best parenting apps for toddlers
This free app, for kids ages 5 and under, is designed to help your toddler learn phonics and letters of the alphabet. The app is colorful and entertaining, and since it’s set up like a fun online game, your child won’t even know he or she is learning.
Trying to find a balance between oversharing on Facebook and keeping friends and family aware of your child’s latest milestone? Enter Tinybeans, an easier way to share pictures of your little one with friends and family. The app functions as an online baby journal, where you can capture and document your child as he or she grows. It’s free for the basic features, but you can make a photo book of your most precious memories (for a fee.)
When your toddler wants to jam to some tunes, download the Radio Disney Junior app for $1.99. You’ll get access to songs from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First and more, as well as fun activities like the Xylophone X-travaganza and Bebop Bubble Pop games. There are also music videos with lovable characters like Jake and the Never Land Pirates.
Best parenting apps for big kids
Metro Detroit is a hotbed of children’s activities, but finding those activities can be a challenge. Not only does this app pinpoint children’s activities in your area, it also lets you keep track of past experiences you liked, and you can bookmark things you’d like to do in the future. Since the app is free, there’s no reason not to give it a download and start exploring.
This app lets you control how much screen time your child is allowed. You can also monitor his or her device remotely and look through the web and search history, too, all for free. For an upgrade to $3.99 per month, you can set daily time limits, use the app on unlimited devices for more than one child, implement a bedtime and school time app blocker, as well as receive daily email summaries of your child’s usage.
It’s a little investment at $4.99, but the rave reviews on this app promise it’s worth every penny. Sporting an engaging design, these charts offer fun themes, instantly regenerate each week – and changes are a snap. They also feature sounds and animations. It’s got a nifty reward system too – and even eight trophies to collect for time for sticking with those tasks. Created with input from parents and teachers. Currently only on iOs.
Best parenting apps for teens
This app promises parents peace of mind, especially for parents of new drivers and teens who forget to let you know they went out with friends after school. You can even set up an automated message that sends whenever your child’s phone (and your child, hopefully) get to school or basketball practice. The basic app is free, but for $29.99 per year, you unlock the 30-day location history and unlimited places.
You might already have a Google Calendar app downloaded, so why not use it to simplify your life with a teenager, too? Create a shared calendar for you and your teen to keep track of dentist appointments, baseball games, after-school activities and anything else. Watch as “I forgot” becomes an excuse of the past.
For teens on the younger side without a job, RoosterMoney offers a great way to teach money management skills. Kids can track allowances or birthday money from grandma all within the app and watch as a progress bar fills as they save for a new thing on their wish list.
This post was originally published in 2017 and is updated regularly.