It's hard to imagine a time when "Google" wasn't a verb and our mobile phones weren't appendages practically attached to our bodies. Technology has truly changed the way we communicate, interact, and parent, and has certainly introduced many new challenges and benefits along the way.
While we continue to navigate the tricky world of things like managing screen time with our kids, we also applaud the way technology has impacted our lives in many positive ways. Facetime gives grandparents the ability to watch their grandchild's first steps from across the world, and Facebook can be such a source of support for new or seasoned parents who seek advice and encouragement from others. From a day-to-day standpoint, technology helps keep things organized, save time, and answer essentially any question you have (thanks, Google!). Here are tools we think are changing the parenting game:
Artkive: Thanks to this handy app for digitally preserving kids' artwork, you can save every one of your toddler's scribbles on construction paper, without compromising closet space. Organize artwork by kid in the app and even create printed books—a precious way to memorialize their masterpieces over the years. (Free for up to 40 pieces of art; then membership prices start at $3/month)
Baby Brezza Formula Pro: Those middle of the night feedings requiring stamina and coordination, especially when stumbling around the kitchen at 3 AM trying to find the formula canister. But thanks to this appliance, you can make a bottle with the touch of a button, and the perfect temperature and consistency. Consider it a Keurig for baby bottles. ($179.99)
Boxed app: If the thought of dragging the kids to your local warehouse retailer gives you hives, you'll be overjoyed to order all those bulk essentials (paper products, toiletries, snacks, and so much more) directly from your phone. Not only does it save you time, money, and manuevering the huge cart around the aisles, your order gets delivered in 1-2 business days. (Free, iOS and Android)
Circle by Disney: It's very easy for our kids to get sucked into their devices (parents, too!), but thankfully there are gadgets like Circle by Disney to help manage everyone's tech time. You can set time limits for everyone in the family, enable access (or block) certain websites and even shut off all Internet access at certain times. Perfect for everyone who needs a tech-free family dinner. ($99)
Peanut: Parenthood can be isolating at times, especially if you're new to your area. Peanut wants to change that by offering a match-making app just for moms. You can find and connect with other moms in your area, start chatting, and hopefully form bonds and a long-lasting support circle that every mom needs. A couple of caveats: you can only sign in with a Facebook account (which most people have) and, the app is only useful if other moms in your area are using it, too. (Free, iOS)
SNOO: A sleeping baby is a happy baby, and a happy baby means happy parents. The first few months of a child's life can be utterly exhausting when sleep is so staggered and so desperately desired. This very high-tech (and very splurge-worthy) smart sleeper, created by famed pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp (also a Parents advisor), combines motion and sound that automatically adjusts to the intensity of your child's cries and lulls him back to sleep. ($1,160)
Waze: Driving to a birthday party at a jumpy place three towns away is a cinch with Waze, the ultimate navigational app that provides you with the best and fastest route, not to mention closed roads, accidents, and traffic jams, so you can be sure your little one gets to the party on time. (Free, iOS and Android)
Willow Breast Pump: Innovation for breastfeeding moms means no longer being relegated to the couch for hours a day, thanks to this wireless breast pump. One of those why didn't anyone think of this before? products, the Willow promises to give breastfeeding moms the gift of time and the use of their hands, while still pumping away.