The Best Smartwatch Apps for Parents

smartwatch apps for parentsDo you use smartwatch apps for parents? A few examples are Cloud Baby Monitor (iTunes), Feed Baby (iTunes and Google Play), and Baby Tracker (iTunes). We’ve previously discussed meal-planning app for working moms and apps that help working moms stay connected to school or daycare — but not specifically smartwatch apps for parents.

A couple of years ago, The New York Times’ KJ Dell’Antonia asked (at the NYT’s now-defunct Motherlode), “Is Your Child Your Excuse to Buy an Apple Watch?”

She wrote:

We can count on Apple, and app developers, to find ways to make the Apple Watch indispensable for parents that go beyond staying constantly connected. For now, there are some fun (pregnancy monitoring apps) and some convenience (you can monitor volume and other settings from the watch while your toddler watches the Nick Jr. app on your iPhone). For parents of teenagers driving some models of post-2014 Volkswagens, there are serious monitoring possibilities: The watch can alert you if the car leaves a designated area or exceeds a preset speed limit. The future holds watch-enabled baby monitors and, surely, virtual toddler leashes. Already, a parent and a teenager could use Apple Watches to stay more closely connected — if, that is, you’re willing to spring for a second watch.

For parents, the option to use apps like these isn’t the only benefit of a smartwatch. A mom who recently wrote a piece for Parents called 6 Ways the Apple Watch Elevates My Parenting Game noted that she can use it as a remote for taking photos of herself with her kids (how many of us have tons of pictures of our children without us?), for example, and it helps her find her phone when she can’t remember where she put it. Another mom wrote a piece for Baby Rabies called 10 Ways My Apple Watch Makes Life As a Parent Easier — for example, her watch alerts her to calendar reminders with a small buzz, and she can make or receive calls on her watch while one of her kids is playing a game or watching a video on her phone. (How cool is that?)

What are your favorite smartwatch features that make parenting easier? What do you think are some of the best smartwatch apps for parents in 2017? 

Picture via Stencil.best smartwatch apps for parents

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Tips for Preserving Kids’ Artwork (Without Keeping Everything)

Tips for Preserving Kids' Artwork (Without Keeping Everything)It’s never too early to start weighing tips for preserving kids’ artwork—or you may find yourself still dealing with it when your kids have their own kids. When my parents were cleaning out their attic recently, they found some old artwork of mine from when I was young … which means it had been up there for decades. I ended up getting rid of most (or maybe all) of it, partly because I already have enough tangible reminders of my childhood, and partly because our house is already becoming overrun by my own son’s school papers and art. When at least one thing comes home in his backpack every day, and there are 180 days in the school year … well, it adds up. (Luckily, there isn’t enough stuff to have expanded into our attic yet — or basement.) So, moms, do tell: How do you organize and preserve your kids’ artwork and schoolwork? Do you save everything? Save only a few special or otherwise noteworthy things? Throw everything in a big box for now, or sort it neatly by grade or age? 

We’ve rounded up a few tips for preserving kids’ artwork (without keeping everything):

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Make My Life Easier Thursday: Philips Hue Lights

Philips Hue for NurseryI’ve written before about my love of our nursery light bulb, which emits a soft yellow/orange glow designed to get your little one in the mood for bedtime — but we’re recently getting into smart lights like Philips Hue at Casa Griffin, and I’m in love — especially for a small space like a child’s bedroom, where you may not have the luxury of having space for a dedicated nursery light.  If you get one of these, you can have it as a regular white light during playtime — then turn it to an orangier twilight glow at bedtime that fades away to a nightlight. If your little one has problems waking up, you can turn it on slowly (like over the course of 30 minutes) to an energizing light — and you can amuse your little one with blue lights and more.  There are apparently apps where you can also sync it to work with the music, but I haven’t gotten into those. (Oh, and if you forget to turn it off and don’t want to creep back into baby’s room? You can turn the light off with your phone or iPad.) The dimmable colored light (pictured) is only $50, but note that the smart bridge (necessary to connect the lights to your WiFi) starts at around $65 depending on which kit you get (we started with the lightstrip kit for undercabinet lighting). Philips Hue Dimmable Color Lights

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4 Free Apps for Privately Sharing Photos

apps for privately sharing photos Many, many articles and essays have been written about the potential dangers of posting photos of your kids on Facebook and other social media. Whether or not you agree (that’s a topic for a whole other post!), there are some great alternatives out there for sharing photos of your children with family and friends. (Psst: We recently did a post on apps that help working moms stay connected to school/daycare, and we’ve also talked about how to organize family photos and make photo projects.) Sure, you can safely use platforms like Instagram, Flickr, and Google Photos to show off pictures of your kids (as long as you adjust the privacy settings carefully), but there are some great apps for privately sharing photos on the market right now — and all of them have a “free” tier for pricing.

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4 Apps That Help Working Moms Stay Connected to School or Daycare

Apps That Help Working Moms Stay Connected to School2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on our favorite apps to help you stay connected to school or daycare — but you may also want to check out some of our newer stories on tech for working moms.

Does your child’s daycare or school use any apps that help working moms stay connected to school (and dads, of course, and parents in general)? It’s helpful and reassuring to get regular updates when your kid is too young to tell you about his/her day, and when yothe best apps to help working mothers stay connected to daycare or schoolur kid is older, you can get around the “What did you do at school today?” non-answers. (My son’s favorite is “I forgot!” when I ask him about certain things that happened during his first-grade school day.) It’s especially nice if you don’t have time to volunteer at school and don’t ever get to see what goes on during a typical day. Today we’ve rounded up some parent communication apps that you can consider recommending to your child’s school if they don’t currently use one (before the year is out).

With various features and options (and prices), here are four apps that help working moms stay connected to school:

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The Best Online Backup Services for Backing Up Family Photos, Unfinished Novels, and More

online backup services for momsThese days, everyone has precious things on our computers: those family photos, that old voicemail from Nana you saved on your computer, the half-finished draft of your novel. Some of it you can save casually in the cloud, sure — but some of it, for sheer size alone, kind of has to live on a hard drive. How do you back up those hard drives? We looked into the best online backup services that keep your stuff safe — and don’t require a ton of effort or money on your part.

If it hasn’t happened to you personally, it’s definitely happened to a friend or family member: Your computer crashes and you lose everything … because you haven’t backed up your files. Backing up data is usually pretty tedious and time-consuming — and it’s so easy to forget to do — but online backup services make the process much easier and hands-off. Today we’re rounding up the 3 best online services for backing up files.

Pictured: The normal time everyone thinks about backing up their computer: when they see the blue screen of death. Credit: Flickr / Blondinrikard Fröberg

By the way, over at Corporette we’ve talked about Evernote and other note-keeping apps, the Morphine plugin for Chrome for limiting distractions, and apps for working women, and here at CorporetteMoms we’ve talked about how to organize family photos and make photo projects.

Here, we compare the popular and highly-rated online backup services Crashplan, Backblaze, and IDrive: 

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