Thursday, October 7, 2010

Must-have iPhone apps for parents

I remember before I had my own child, I would see at restaurants parents who had their kid(s) strapped to a DVD player or Gameboy as they finished their dinner.  And I'll admit, in my mind, I used to judge the hell out of these parents.  "You call that a family dinner?  How lazy!"  Now that I have my own two daughters, I think back on these parents and think, "Wow, you guys are geniuses!  No wonder you were able to actually put food in your mouth and digest it properly!"

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of using our TV, DVD player, or iPhone as a babysitter.  But I am a proponent of doing whatever you need to do to get through the day without going crazy with your kids.  So yes, we have a DVD player in our swankin new minivan but we usually only use it on long road trips.  And sure, I will admit I had no idea what my 2 year old daughter was saying to me when she kept saying to me, "Ayudame" (thanks for nothing DORA!).  But we do try to use our electronics in moderation.  

Our iPhones have been great devices to pull out when everything else has failed.  In other words, the kids aren't eating, they've starting to roam around the restaurant as waitresses walk by with bowls of steaming hot soups, and our entrees haven't even arrived yet!  

Here is a short list of "must have" iPhone apps for the parent and child:

  • Facebook (free): best app for killing time while you're waiting in the car until your kid wakes up from her nap
  • Wallpaper Labeler: not necessarily just for parents but a must have for anyone with an iPhone.  Rip off that P-Touch label from the back of our iPhone!  This app simply enables you to list your name and alternative phone number on your wall paper so that if you lose your phone, the person who found it knows how to return it.  
  • iBook (free): if you commute, this is a great way to catch up on some reading.  There's a library of free books available and you can always buy others.
  • Pandora (free): if you haven't been using Pandora on your computer, you're already missing out.  This is an awesome free music streaming service that automatically plays songs based on songs that you like.  Another great app to kill time when you're at the park watching your kid build sand castles.
For your kids  
These apps are great because they not only entertain your child, but also require minimal involvement on your end.  You simply set up the game and then get back to scarfing down your food before your kid gets bored.  Also, some of these are educational so you don't feel too guilty.  
  • Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($.99): my 2 yo absolutely loves this game.  Its a fun, educational games that challenges your child to match fruits, numbers, and sizes.  While I'm generally reluctant to pay for apps, this one is one of the best ones we've tried.    
  • Scoops (free): this game is simple.  You have a cone, and you drop scoops of ice cream into it.  And who doesn't like icecream?!
  • BubbleXplode (free): again, a very simple game in which you pop series of bubbles that are connected.    
  • Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom ($2.99): sure 75% of this price goes to feed the Dora merchandizing machine.  But if you're kids are anything like mine, they're counting and singing in spanish.  So I couldn't resist buying this app.   
  • Shrek Kart (free):  a very simple game in which you drive a cart around a race track.  And I must admit, the music is kinda addictive.  
And one of the most important secrets that most iPhone users don't know is that you can share apps between phones.  In other words, if you buy an app on one phone, your spouse can download that app for free by logging out of their App Store account and logging in with yours.  Settings>Store>Signout

Finally, in the spirit of sharing, if you have any apps that you've found especially valuable as a parent or entertaining for your kids, please feel free to comment here.  Thank you for your "Ayudame."


  1. I also have a suggestion for parents, who have kids of 5-10 years old. It also makes sense to consider such an educational iPhone app as Kinder Hangman that is an interesting iPhone game that is very useful for development of kids and allows children to learn new words easily. Learning process is organized as an interesting game with graphical themes and animations. It is a good game that kids usually like very much. So, parents can use it to keep kids busy.

  2. another great app is the White Noise app! its awesome for when we are in noisy places and our little boy is just too distracted to go to sleep...i just turn on his preferred white noise and he goes right to sleep!