As a Mom, I’m the first to admit I need all the support I can get to raise my sons. Sometimes that support comes from family and friends, but oftentimes it comes from the one thing we all use, our smartphones. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at a Cricket Wireless in-store event about parenting and smartphones. As a sponsored Cricket Wirless Ambassador, I answered questions and showcased ways that smartphones help you parent, particularly during those tumultuous tween and teen years.
Below I’ve noted a few ways that a smartphone has helped make my parenting easier.
1. Google Calendar (FREE)
In the past, I used a wall calendar. But one, or all of us, would forgot to note down our appointments. With Google Calendar, we’re able to input the information as soon as we get it. We’re also able to invite others to the event so it shows up on all our calendars. Even better, we can set reminder alerts! Now, my sons can’t tell me they didn’t know we had to go to the Dentist because I know it’s in their calendar.
2. Google Drive (FREE)
My youngest and I have a folder on Google Drive that’s reserved for homework. He enters his school projects, homework and essays into the drive. I’m then able to check on his progress or help him edit, as needed.
3. Find My Friends (FREE)
The Find My Friends app is only for the iPhone, iPad or iPhone Touch. I recommend this app to any parent who’s child travels alone. It lets you set up location-based alerts that can notify you automatically when a child leaves school or arrives home safely. It also has parental restrictions – very important. To learn more about this app, head over to iTunes.
4. Threes! ($1.99)
There are tons of games for children on iTunes and in Google Play. One of our favorites is the Threes! app. It was recommended by my oldest. It’s a math game that encourages a love of numbers. It starts off simple and gets progressively harder as you advance in the game. It can be used on long road trips, while waiting on line, or even to pass time. To learn more about Threes, head over to the Threes! website.
5. Enable Restrictions (FREE)
If your child uses a smartphone, restrictions are key, particularly with younger children. Thankfully smartphones allow you to enable restrictions directly onto the phone. On an iPhone, you can go to Settings, click on General and than Restrictions. To enable “Restrictions”, you need to create a Restriction Passcode. The code is important and should not be given to the child. This ensures that they do not remove the restrictions placed on the phone. You can place restrictions on the web browser (example: limit adult content or specific websites), apps, camera and so much more! You are also able to restrict content based on movie ratings (example: PG, PG-13, R, MA), music ratings (example: explicit), books (example: Explicit Sexual Content) and more. Androids also have the option to enable restrictions.
6. NetFlix (Subscription)
Opening a dialogue about tough topics is never easy. Sometimes a movie or a show can open up a conversation. Netflix has some great films on bullying, science and so much more! Plus, it’s always great to have on those long trips to avoid the “Are we there yet?” remarks. A few movies/shows, I highly recommend are:
Let’s talk! Do you use any of the programs, or apps, mentioned above to help you parent? Do you have others you would recommend? Share your wisdom in a comment!