Great Apps For Busy Parents
Whether you have 1 child or 10 children, life can get incredibly busy. Trying to keep up with everything can be overwhelming at best. I’ve assembled a list of some of my favorite apps (most of which I have reviewed on my website) that help me to keep things organized, sane and even fun on the go. There are so many wonderful apps out there that it is difficult to choose just a few, but my rule of thumb here (with the exception of one in the list) are apps I personally use on a regular basis and have found incredibly helpful. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.
This app is free and is simply a life saver for me. How many times when you’re on the go do you think to yourself, “Oh, I need to send that really long text message, but I just don’t have the time to type it all out on my tiny phone keyboard!” Well, Dragon Dictation can now come to your rescue. Open the app, record as much as you want (preferably in bursts of 30 seconds or less to give theapp time to process your words). Speak clearly and the app translates your words into text! When you’re done you can do a variety of things with your text. Email, text message, copy and paste anywhere, update your Facebook or Twitter status and more. This is great for sending text messages when you are in a hurry and is one of my all-time favorite apps. For more on Dragon Dictation, go here.
Animal Phone (Universal app)
Ever been stuck in the doctor’s office or in a long line at the grocery store and your little one starts to go nuts? With three kids 3 years old and younger, I find myself in this predicament often. Animal Phone is a wonderful app to pull out in moments of need! The allows your child to FaceTime with adorable cartoon animals. They can interact with them and the animals will even repeat what your child says back to them in silly voices. Without a doubt, this is one of my kids’ all-time favorite apps. They still can’t get enough of it even after we’ve had it for a few months now. A must-have app. It’s free and comes with fun in-app purchases if you choose to buy more characters. For more this app, go here.
Have you ever wished you had a way to gather an archive of all your Tweets, Facebook statuses, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Instagram photos, Last fm loved tracks and more? I often share funny things my kids say or do on my Facebook status and often wished I could save all those moments somewhere. I just don’t have time to keep a journal! Well, Momento came to my rescue. Simply open the app, sign in to the accounts you would like the app to connect to and it will import several years worth of what you have shared on your various accounts and put them into a calendar. Easily back up your entire journal and add entries within the app. I cannot praise Momento enough. Perfect way to keep track of memories for parents who barely have enough time to brush their teeth on any given day. Read more about Momento here.
The Recipe Box (iPad)
Ever get frustrated with how unorganized your recipe box is? Or maybe you are constantly spilling ingredients on your cards? This is a wonderful iPad app that allows the user to enter in their favorite recipes. Rather than scribbled pieces of scrap paper, you’ll have a beautiful, virtual, customized cookbook! Even add your own pictures to the recipes and share them with family and friends via email. You’ll be surprised at how good your recipe looks once you enter in all the details. For more on The Recipe Box, go here.
8mm Vintage Camera (sold separately for iPhone and iPad)
If you’re like me, you like to add a little artsiness to your chronicling family moments. I’m not a big fan of sharp, crisp video (maybe I’m weird), but like to add a little vintage flair to family videos. 8mm Vintage Camera comes with beautiful lenses to make your home videos a little warmer. Even record in silent mode or with projector sounds! Just recently the developers added more handy features such as auto saving to the main camera roll. I have used this one constantly for months and still absolutely love it. For more on what it can do, go here.
The iPhone is almost the most popular camera on Flickr these days. Crazy, huh? With all the amazing photo apps available now, everyone is getting into the iPhone photo frenzy. It’s definitely my primary camera for snapping fun pictures of our kids (and I even own an expensive DSLR). It’s with me wherever I go and I’m constantly capturing photos and videos of my kids with it. My dilemma has been, though, that I rarely ever plug my phone into my computer to sync them all. By the time I do, I have hundreds to transfer and it’s a pain. Thankfully, PhotoSync solves this problems. This wonderful app allows me to wirelessly and quickly transfer videos and pictures between my iPhone, iPad and home computer. I use it every day sometimes more than once. Thankfully Apple will soon offer many of these features as a part of iOS 5, but for now this is a great alternative and I know the great developers of this app are working to make it even better. For more on PhotoSync, go here.
Does this sound familiar, “If you keep your room clean for 1 month, I will take you for ice cream.” Yet, you forget to mark the calendar and your child starts to hound you about when they will get to go with you for ice cream? Well, there’s an app for that. iRewardChart is a wonderful way to keep track of chores, time periods and said rewards for multiple children. Get your kids earning stars by accomplishing goals you set for them and they can rest assured that mom and dad know exactly when they’ve earned their rewards.
If you’re at all like me, you have high aspirations and hopes for being organized with all those piles of papers on your counter or kitchen table, but it just never happens. You get stuck running errands with the kids all the time and when it comes time to find the receipt for the brand new TV you bought because it decided to stop working, you’re in trouble because you have no clue where you put it. JotNot Pro literally turns your iPhone’s camera into a document scanner. Take a picture of important documents and receipts, then the app assists you as you crop the document and process it to clarify the text. Easily export all of your documents and you can even fax documents straight from the app. Impressive, right? JotNot Pro is a top-notch, must have for the unorganized ones of us in the world. Read more about JotNot here.
I admit, this one is a bit frivolous and on the fun side of things. If you use Twitter for your business or even just for personal use, you like to be able to quickly check on tweets from anywhere without wasting time. I’ve never been a fan of the official Twitter app. TweetBot was recently released and is my favorite Twitter app to date. It looks pretty, is easy to get around and gets the job done well. If you like simplicity and functionality, TweetBot is for you.
This app is unique yet incredibly useful and practical. Have you ever wished your iPhone could turn into a walkie talkie? I love my husband to death, but he hates responding to text messages because he’s not fast at typing them out with his thumbs. He much prefers speaking into his phone to typing on it, so this app has come in handy on many occasions for us. Simply create a profile, then befriend people you know who have iPhones or Android powered phones and soon you’ll be able to send voice messages whenever you want. The messages are recorded then immediately sent (over wifi or 3G) to the recipient. Once the message reaches the recipient’s phone they will get a notification and can choose to hear the message whenever they have the chance. This app is great if you are on a long trip and are in separate vehicles or if you have a friend across the county who you speak with multiple times a day. I’ve even heard of executives using it for business. The possibilities are endless! For more on HeyTell, go here.
Check back next week where we’ll feature my favorite GPS apps for everything from travel to working out in the great outdoors.
Hannah is an educator, mom to three wonderful children ages 3 and younger and proud wife of an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran. She is the founder of MyAppinions.com. My Appinions is a site where she posts reviews of iOS apps of all kinds but with a heavy emphasis on ones with educational and practical value.