By Elizabeth Lyons
To say that there are a lot of apps available for mobile devices might be the understatement of the decade. At last count, over 140,000 apps were available for the iPhone alone; in 2010, that number is expected to triple. Parents searching for apps to make their lives easier could use an app just to help them sort through all the options!
According to frazzled moms and dads, surveyed via Facebook and Twitter, the following 10 iPhone apps are the best of the best for those wishing for a little (high tech) parenting assistance.
Not all that long ago, I spent most nights irrationally begging our newest blessing to please tell me (in English) why she'd been crying for six hours straight. Sound familiar? If only I'd had The Cry Translator, which identifies the reason for a child's cry with 96 percent accuracy and within 10 seconds. Cluing parents into whether boredom, hunger, stress, annoyance or downright exhaustion has their baby infuriated, this app also provides tips on handling the child's needs. At $9.99 (and reportedly increasing shortly to $29.99), it's not inexpensive. But, at 3:45 a.m., the price of peace is often irrelevant.
Created by a pediatrician and father, this app positively reinforces and rewards a child's behavior (and, because it works for any number of children, prevents a parent from confusing who's earned what!). A photo of the agreed-to reward for a particular task or behavior divides itself into a number of puzzle pieces based on how many days or how many tasks a child must complete to earn the reward. As the child works toward the goal, he/she gets to fill in the puzzle pieces. When the puzzle is complete, the child earns the reward!
While the White Noise app won't help you remember to purchase diapers or pay your pediatrician, it will calm your nerves when necessary. Many parents activate this app and place their iPhone on the dresser next to their child's crib, and several swear by this method of getting a baby to fall sleep.
Dinner Spinner Pro takes the guesswork out of mealtime. Utilizing AllRecipes.com's enormous collection of recipes allows users to include (or exclude) up to eight ingredients. The Pro version also offers shopping list creation; if only it did the actual cooking as well!
A noted Best iPhone app by O'Reilly Media, ReQall is great for parents who consistently remember a to-do or must-have at the most inconvenient time. Voice activated, ReQall organizes tasks and information, plus it integrates with your Outlook or Google calendar.
According to the creators of this eat-healthy-on-the-road app, "Convenient eating doesn't have to trump sensible eating." Based on a user's location, the app returns healthy (or at least healthier) options for grabbing a quick bite during a road trip when the kids begin Round 3 of "I'm hungry!"
Containing five real-time slide shows with voice and illustrated instructions to guide the user through CPR or the Heimlich Maneuver, this app is wonderful for parents who conclude their CPR class by asking the Red Cross instructor if she'd move in with them. It covers CPR for infants, children and adults, and includes both American and European first-aid recommendations. It also contains 27 first aid guides for the most common and urgent situations.
I'll be downloading this app to my husband's phone tonight. It's perfect for dads who are sent to the store for bread, formula and what was that other item? While the app itself is free, there is a $25 per year user fee. But, when everything on the list is in your hands? Priceless.
Touted as the most comprehensive baby logging and tracking application available, this app was cited by many of the surveyed parents as a must-have. The app tracks feedings, immunizations, nap length, time nursing (and on what side), growth, allergies and milestones. The app even works for twins, which is fantastic for the parent who finds herself proclaiming, "I know I just fed one of you, but which one of you was it?"
Take Me To My Car allows you to save your current location in a parking lot with two taps to your phone and retrieve your location with just one tap. Great for those Seinfeld parking-lot moments when you can't remember where you parked to save yourself – and you've got three less-than-happy kids trailing you to boot.