Modern parents, let’s get real: Our phones have become our third arm. Whether you’re scrolling the depths of an online retailer while nursing at 2 a.m. or handing the phone over to your toddler so you can steal five minutes of relative silence, smartphones have become an essential part of parenting life. But while it can be easy to feel guilty about all of that screen time, there are some ways to make your phone really work for you and your family (just remember to don your bluelight specs).
Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or looking to entertain and educate your kiddo, there are an overwhelming number of apps on the market. While it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff—we’ve tried tons of parenting apps that did absolutely nothing but try to sell us random stuff—here are a few that we’ve found to be genuinely worth the download.
1. Ovia Fertility
The business of babymaking isn’t always as simple as we were led to believe in health class. On average, it can take couples 4-6 months to get pregnant, and that can be a really stressful time. The Ovia Fertility app helps guide couples through that period. Hopeful parents can use it to track their cycles, moods, symptoms and intimacy days to help determine correct ovulations and high fertility days. It also offers ways to get personalized summaries of health and fertility and anonymously connect with others. The best part? It’s free!
2. Ovia Pregnancy
Another free (and super-useful) Ovia product is the Ovia Pregnancy app. The app offers opportunities to track all symptoms, explore pregnancy facts, and even check food and medication safety. But the best feature it has is the ability to track your baby’s growth. Each week, moms-to-be are updated on the baby’s progress with graphics that show the approximate size of their baby’s hands and feet. It also depicts the fetal state of the baby and compares it to different sizes of fruits or animals. And let us tell you: watching your fetus jump from a pumpkin seed into a pumpkin truly puts it into perspective.
3. The Wonder Weeks
New parents are obsessed with milestones. When every day feels like something new, the question of “is this normal” pops into the brain at least a hundred times a day. The Wonder Weeks app takes some of that guesswork out by offering a personalized leap chart that helps give you an idea of where your baby is in their development. It shows when kids are hitting rocky developmental periods and gives parents hope for when they can expect things to smooth out, and also helps support parents in stimulating their baby’s development. One nostalgic element we love: it even helps parents note major milestones so they can always look back and remember significant moments.
Members of this educational app can download the mobile version for some genuinely quality screen time. Perfect for ages 2-8, this app has over 7,000 interactive activities will keep kids entertained (and maybe, hopefully, a little educated?) in basics that match their age level. For about ten bucks a month, your child can access their account on any of their devices, which makes it a guilt-free lifesaver for long car rides or restaurants (#sorrynotsorry).
For more seasoned parents, FamilyTime is an essential app. This nifty tool helps parents take full control over managing kid’s usage and content across all devices. From their own phones, parents can monitor their kid’s cell phone activities, limit screen time, and help block inappropriate apps. It even helps parents set bed alarms, time limits, and homework time blockers to help kids stay focused. While the app is free, there’s a premium program that offers extended benefits, if you find that this really works for you.
6. YouTube Kids
For any parents who swore up and down they’d never let their kids slog through YouTube, this one’s for you. While it’s a bad idea to let them roam YouTube alone, letting them sift through YouTube Kids requires a less watchful eye. Programming is devoid of ads, and populates videos that are appropriate for kids to watch. You also get to block any channels you’re still not ok with, and there’s a timer so you can effectively set your kids’ limits.