The Google Generation
We hear a lot about how demanding and needy and impatient and blah blah blah the Google generation is. And some of it is true. BUT, we are also an incredibly smart, efficient, and powerful generation. And sometimes we can get lost in our screens, endlessly scrolling. But other times, we can use our smart devices and apps to make quick, positive, long-lasting changes for ourselves and our families.
My husband and I spent some time researching helpful apps when we had our daughter. And over the last couple of years, we’ve compiled our own list of apps that were life-changing for us as we were new, confused, and frustrated parents. Each of these apps were absolutely game changers for us.
First Note: Each of these apps were downloaded from the App Store on Apple devices. Although my husband found most of them on his Android, I can’t speak to each of them being available in different operating systems.
Second note: These are listed in order of importance (from 10 to 1) so no matter what you’re doing right now please tell the entire parenting world about apps 1-4 because all parents need them to know/remind themselves they’re not going (totally) insane.
Third note: No one is paying me to talk about any of these apps… I just love them that much.
10 Must-Have Apps
A great app for folks that use Huggies products! All you do is upload your receipts when you buy their products, earn points for your purchases and redeem points for cash/gift cards/entries to sweepstakes, etc!
We’ve created specific playlists for our daughter’s nap time and sleep time. We can download playlists so that music can stream without data if we aren’t connected to Wi-Fi. We listen to Spotify all the time, 24/7 at home. But it’s been so helpful in finding kid-friendly music and creating those sleepy-time/quiet playlists that play for hours while she sleeps.
Cost: Free with ads, or $10 per month with a family plan for five listeners. We share with various folks.
8. Shapes! Toddler Kids Games
Our toddler is obsessed with this game on our iPad and we love it because it teaches her shapes and colors in easy and simple ways. She caught on super quick and it’s a great learning tool.
7. Smart Baby Rattle
Another free game that really entertained our babe! She loved to swipe on the screen and learned about animal names and noises.
6. Pregnancy Tracker (Baby Center)
This app is great for parents who are newly expecting. It tells you lots of week-by-week info on how baby is growing inside mama, offers places to post “bump” pics, has a community center for tons and tons of questions and discussions… It’s the easiest, most concise (yet full of so much information) pregnancy tracking app out there.
AKA Tinder for Moms. Upload your pics and a quick profile about yourself and your mom-life and you can swipe to find moms in your area to chat with and meet. Yes, it is a little sketchy and can be judgy… But if used with a non-judgmental mind, it’s a great way to connect with moms in your local community. (Shout out to Emily, my Tinder-Mom friend!)
4. FaceTime (Or Skype or Duo)
We FaceTime with Grandparents ALL. THE. TIME. And it is so nice for our daughter to be able to stay connected to them, recognize their faces and voices and share lots of random things about her day. I love watching her get excited to call them, but I know our parents love it even more. (Video chat is also wonderful for kids to see out-of-town friends and family and it’s a great way for you as a parent to stay connected to those you love, like sharing a drink after house over video chat with a friend you dearly miss!)
*Edit: Due to the recent issues with Apple’s Facetime app, I suggest putting that specific app on hold until they get all of the bugs fixed. Check out this link for more info.
We are obsessed with this photo/video sharing app, but probably not as much as our daughter’s out-of-town grandparents are. We all downloaded the free app (my husband and I downloaded it and then sent private invites to people we wanted to be able to view the pics/videos we posted). Any of us can upload and view pictures. My husband and I post pictures/videos every few days so our parents can see what’s going on in their grandaughter’s world. This app is the best because it has a ton of free storage space, it allows for likes/loves/comments, and even if you upload pictures out of order, it automatically puts the pictures in order based on the day they were taken! It’s so cool to see pictures organized in birth order with ZERO effort on our part. Also super easy to download pics for printing, sharing, etc.
2. Baby Tracker- Newborn Log
This app was so helpful for us as we were trying to keep our daughter alive those first few weeks. Easily track anything from the amount of food, time of feeding, type of milk, length of feeding, time of nap, length of nap, time of dirty diaper, type of dirty diaper…. you get the picture! When you’re sleep-deprived, yet have your phone close by to take 98,723,587 pictures of your newborn, it’s so easy to open up the app and log what’s going on! Also, when you call the pediatrician in six hours again, you have all your information nicely organized.
1. Wonder Weeks
If you can just hand me your phone right now so I can buy and download this app for you, that would be great. Oh my gosh, every parent on the whole planet needs this app. Every single baby in the world goes through things called “developmental leaps” where they’re learning something new which affects their mood, the way they sleep, eat, behave, etc.
This app (by using your due date or baby’s birth date) will predict TO THE DAY when your kiddo’s mood will shift as they learn something new. It will tell you how long the leap will last (aka how long your kid is probably gonna be a jerk). It will tell you when to expect the really tough (stormy) days and also when to expect the leap should be over. I’ve vowed to buy this app for every new parent I know because when you’re awake with a screaming baby who is usually sound asleep, and you can’t figure out WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEIR BODY AND SOUL, you can check the app, see that they’re in a leap and say to yourself, “Ok, I’m not going crazy. This really, really hard time is due to the fact that they’re learning something new.” And then you feel a little more patient with your kid and yourself and your spouse and everyone else in the world.
You also can prepare knowing that a leap is approaching and make sure you have enough of your vices stocked in the kitchen (coffee, wine, beer, bourbon, etc). This app (as well as the book, check it out!) will change the way you parent, change the way you view sleepless nights, change the patience you bring to your children… It will change your life.
Cost: $3.99 but literally worth one million dollars.
Do you have a favorite app to add to our list?
For a list of educational apps as your little one ages, click here.