Parenting is not an easy gig. The endless tasks and countless responsibilities can become overwhelming. But in this digital age, there are so many tools aimed at making life simpler. These handy gadgets and apps make groceries appear at your doorstep, let you know where your kids are, check on the dog while you’re out, and even help you find your keys.
What to do when junior is ready for increased independence, but Mom and Dad don’t want to give him a smartphone? Get one of these wrist gadgets. They allow kids to call pre-set contacts and parents to track kids’ whereabouts. GizmoPal is geared toward kids under 7 and runs on Verizon Wireless. FiLIP 2 looks more like a watch, reaches five contacts (versus GizmoPal’s two) and connects on the AT&T network.
FiLIP 2, $100, Best Buy, or $150 att.com and participating AT&T stores; GizmoPal, $80 verizonwireless.com, participating Verizon Wireless stores and Best Buy. Monthly service fees an additional $5-10 per device.
2. Instacart: Delivers groceries same day
Empty fridge and can’t get to the store? Or simply want to add a few hours back into your life? Send Instacart to your favorite local store (Sunset Foods, Costco, Whole Foods and others) and buy yourself a little “me” time. It’s like a personal shopper you can dispatch for hand-picked groceries in as little as an hour.
$4 per delivery, order online or via app, available on iTunes and Google Play
3. Tile: Locates lost items
Walking out the door, but don’t know where your wallet and keys are? Kids can’t find the remote again? Don’t lose your mind! Tile attaches to anything you’re prone to misplacing, and then helps you find those items using your phone.
$25 for one, multi-packs sold at a discount, thetileapp.com, works on iOS and Android Devices with Bluetooth 4.0
4. Key Ring: Clears cluttered keychains and saves money
Are store loyalty cards, gym memberships, library cards and gift cards crowding your keychain and wallet? No more. Key Ring saves all that information in one place on your phone. Deals are at your fingertips and saving is simple.
Free, iTunes and Google Play
5. Nest Cam: Allows you to keep an eye on what matters
Did the baby wake up? Did my package arrive? What’s the dog getting into? All these questions and more can be answered easily when you have Nest Cam. Use this super clear HD streaming video camera as a baby monitor or home surveillance system. You can get alerts on your phone, zoom in for a closer look and even see in the dark.
$199, nest.com, Amazon, Apple Store, Best Buy, Google Store, Home Depot and Lowes
6. Cozi: Organizes family calendars
No more double-bookings. Manage the family calendar easily and stay on top of everyone’s busy schedules with Cozi. Stop returning home from the store without the one thing you needed most. Shopping lists will never be lost when they’re right on your phone. Cozi is the all-in-one electronic command center for the modern family.
Free, cozi.com, iTunes, GooglePlay and Amazon
7. Common Sense Media: Helps parents make smart media choices for children
Worried if that new movie is right for your kid? Want to know what apps will make learning fun? Common Sense Media offers detailed reviews of movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books and music to help steer families toward the ones that are developmentally appropriate and offer the best learning potential.
Free, commonsensemedia.org, iTunes and Google Play
8. Paprika: Manages recipes and grocery lists
Create your own digital cookbook with recipes from all over the web. Tired of grocery lists with eggs listed separately three times? Make a meal plan and this app will create one organized list of all the ingredients. Want to know how long it actually takes you to cook a recipe? Time yourself and edit serving sizes as you cook.
$5 each for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook Color; $20 each for Mac and Windows, paprikaapp.com
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