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There's an App for That!

Every one of us has a cell phone. Heck, even my 12-year-old brother-in-law has one. One of the fun (and overly time consuming) advantages about having a smartphone is the apps. There are tons of them. What many parents don’t know is that there are apps designed with them in mind. This includes apps for the various stages of pregnancy, to an app designed to help parents become better “brain builders,” to apps that store your child’s artwork digitally, and finally apps that keep track of your children at all times.

During her pregnancy, my wife was always a mixture of excited and scared. As her number one supporter, I was only able to do so much to ease her mind. Sometimes, you just need that little extra help to get you through the day without having to contact your OB-GYN. Well, there are quite a few apps available that can be that voice of reason. Here are some of the "Best Pregnancy iPhone & Android Apps of the Year".

- Looking for answers to a multitude of baby-related questions, including your baby’s movements, nutrition and development? Search for "My Pregnancy Today".
-Are you looking for the perfect name for your baby? Do you want to know what your favorite name really means? Try "50,000 Baby Names".
- Finally, there’s "My Labor Bags". Aside from having an amazing title, its goal is to make sure you’re covered when you have to jet to the hospital to give birth.

In the first 5 years of a child’s life, the brain is an endless garden of expressions, words and movements. As parents, we are tasked with watering that garden on a daily basis with the best possible nutrients. A great app that will definitely help in this regard is "Vroom". Here’s an example of a tip, or what they call, “Today’s Vroom”:

“As you change [your child’s name], describe the textures of the things you’re using. Talk about the wet wipe, the soft pad, etc. Watch where [your child] is looking or pointing, and talk about its texture. “That’s the bed. It’s soft,” or “This is the diaper. It’s smooth.”

Get those synapses firing! It’s such a simple task for a parent, which will only produce positive results.

Kids love to draw. As they get older, those confusing squiggly lines eventually become much more understandable, and the shapes in the coloring books turn flush because the colors finally made it inside the lines. But, once that happens, parents will want to look back on their artistic growth. Here are a few apps that allow you to store artwork digitally:

-Dubbed “The New Family Album is "Keepy". You can take a picture of the artwork and store it. You can even record your little one describing the artwork!
-Want to reduce clutter? Check out "Artkive". Similar to "Keepy", you can take a picture of the art and look at it later digitally. You can also turn all of their masterpieces into a hardbound picture book.

Much to our dismay, our children are going to grow up and venture out into the world. But, if you want to keep tabs on them, here are a few apps to check out:

-Using real time GPS, you can locate your child with their phone by watching "Footprints". You can also set permissions, in case you want to restrict access to your child’s whereabouts.
-When your child goes missing, it's probably the most terrifying feeling in the world. While the vast majority of these cases are resolved without major issue, you can now plan ahead and submit all of your child’s information early via "FBI Child ID". This way, if something does happen, they can be quickly flagged at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
-The ICE contact on your phone represents the individual that will be contacted when an emergency occurs. With "iEmergency ICE Family Pro", you can go even further by storing child and family photographs, physician information (including any allergies) and even health insurance information.

MIT Professor Sherry Turkle said, “It used to be that we imagined that our mobile phones would be for us to talk to each other. Now, our mobile phones are there to talk to us.” At the end of 2014, it was estimated that 1.2 to 1.3 million apps were available on each of the Apple and Android app stores, and more and more are currently being added daily. While some of the apps discussed herein are free, others may cost up to $10. That’s really a small price to pay for peace of mind. Because technology is quickly advancing, there will probably be an app for an app one day!

For more “best of” apps, check out "The Best iPhone Apps for Parents" and the "10 Best Apps for Paranoid Parents".

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