I often have to remind myself phones aren’t just for entertaining toddlers with Peppa Pig eps. Turns out they can also be extremely handy when it comes to the multi-tasking mayhem also known as parenting.
From finding the closest coffee or public toilet to saving time and parking fines, here’s eight great apps to help you with the kids and the chaos every day.
1. Beanhunter coffee app
Life’s too short to drink crap coffee, especially when you’re a parent who hasn’t slept properly in years. Beanhunter helps you find the best cafes in an area by collating user ratings and reviews. You can even filter results by distance to you, if you’re running on empty and need your caffeine fix ASAP.
2. Cozi family planner
Until recently, we used a Pokemon calendar on our fridge to (badly) organise our lives. Thanks to this clever app, Pikachu is now a thing of the past and our frantic fam life is a little less frantic.
With a couple of clicks, Cozi lets you set up shared calendars and tag the necessary family members involved. You can also share lists for shopping and recipes, and create to-do lists with your partner, which is especially awesome. I’ve just scheduled seven sleep-ins in a row for next week. Dibs!
3. Toilet Finder
There’s nothing more terrifying than a toddler yelling ‘TOILET!’ when you’re out and not knowing where the closest one is. This app will save you a lot of stress (and soiled clothes), with its easy Google Maps-based interface that shows your location and nearby loos. It also lets you add new ones, mark if they have disabled access and see user star ratings. So after you’ve done a number one or two, you can rate them one to five. This is the future!
4. Pocket bookmarking tool
This handy app saves online articles to read later. Kinda like Facebook does with posts, except this works across most of the net. Best of all, it saves them offline so you can view them later without using wi-fi or data (so it’s great for flight mode or bad reception areas). Ideal for bookmarking stories you want to read but can’t because the kids are having none of it.
5. Tinybeans online baby journal
Wary of posting your child’s pics on social media? The highly-rated Tinybeans app lets you create your own private, personalised social network to share photos, memories and milestones. Chosen family and friends can log in to see them and the app will even notify grandma via email if she doesn’t have a smartphone. Plus you can create a photo journal with calendar view, track your child’s development and even order photo books (at an additional cost).
6. Park Patrol car park tool
Shopping with kids is tricky enough without stressing about car parking limits and nasty fines if you overstay your welcome.
This app solves this dilemma, letting you set a timer alarm and location when you park (so you don’t forget, like I often do). Most importantly, it sends you notifications if a parking inspector is reported by other app users. You can also send an alert if you spot an inspector yourself, which will warn other parents also racing the clock.
Links: Apple / Android - sadly, not available
7. Stocard reward card wallet
Love loyalty cards but hate lugging them all or constantly losing them? This nifty app creates digital copies of your cards on your phone which you can scan in-store. Goodbye overstuffed wallet/purse! It also lets you back them up to email, share them with friends and even get special offers relevant to your cards.
8. Shop Ethical retail guide
When you’re shopping with kids underfoot, the last thing you have time for is to research if they’re made in non-evil ways (the shopping, not the kids). Spanning everything from fashion to appliances to food and drink, this app gives you instant info and rankings on companies’ environmental and social records so you can shop with a clear conscience. It even has a barcode scanner too, and will suggest alternative brands to consider should yours get an F for fail.
The best music apps for kids
Got a little Prince or a baby Beyonce in the house? Encourage their music talent with these fun and creative apps.
5 awesome apps for new school starters
Letters and numbers don't stand a chance with these exciting and interactive apps under $10.
How to avoid screen time tantrums and other tech tips for kids
Got a problem getting your little one off your iPad? Learn how to unplug them without the tears.
Seven tips for healthier screen habits
Struggling to get the online/offline balance right? Dr Kristy Goodwin shares advice for managing your kids’ screen time.
Dear mum with the "difficult" child, you need to know this
You are not failing!
Kmart's new same-sex family doll sets are selling out fast
Aussie families are cheering Kmart's new range of family doll sets that include same-sex families.
Mum’s clever blue bucket idea to help kids with autism enjoy Halloween
This simple idea will make Halloween an easier time for kids with autism and other verbal issues.
6 ways to avoid daylight saving messing with your child's sleep
The change to daylight saving time can really interrupt your child's sleep routine, but it doesn't have to.