If you’re like us, there are two things you never leave home without: your car keys and your smartphone. The steady introduction of newer, better apps for managing all the details of life from the palm of your hand makes that phone even more indispensable, especially when you’re trying to get organized for heading back to school!
Managing your family’s schedule, finances, schoolwork, and home life can be a little easier thanks to a bevy of new smartphone apps. Put that little device to work and things can run smoothly for your busy crew!
1. Keeping Tabs on the Family:
Life360 – Parents of busy tweens and teens, rejoice! Life 360 allows you to see their location on a map with advanced GPS technology, check-in with ease so they can let you know they made it to practice, and group message the whole family in one easy step to say your meeting is running late, etc. All of these features are available in the free version, and an available paid version adds even more options and enables you to track even non-smartphones via GPS. Free/$5 monthly or $50 yearly for premium features. Android, iPhone & Blackberry.
2. Tracking Kids’ Chores:
iRewardChart – This app lets you track your kids’ chores and other good behaviors (practicing the piano or eating the veggies, for instance…) and reward them appropriately. Available for multiple devices, including iPhone and Android. Free version supports one child and limited activities; $3.99 paid version supports multiple children and offers more flexibility.
3. Mom’s To-Do List:
Astrid – There are lots of list-making and to-do apps out there, but Astrid gets high marks from reviewers for its clean interface and ability to share lists with someone (like your spouse) to collaborate. Also allows voice entries so you can speak an item into the phone while walking down the sidewalk. For iPhone and Android. Free and premium versions available.
4. Shopping & Saving:
Grocery IQ – Allows you to make and access your shopping list from your phone and even keep lists for different stores. Add favorite/every week items with just a tap or two, coordinate your coupons to maximize savings, and sync your list between multiple devices. iPhone and Android. Free.
SnipSnap – Ever gotten to the check-out to realize you left a coupon at home? SnipSnap allows you to scan, save, and redeem printed coupons right from your phone. Works for most retailers and restaurants. One drawback: no support yet for manufacturers coupons. Android and iPhone. Free.
5. Bill Paying:
Check – Do you struggle to keep up with due dates on a myriad of household bills, kids activity fees, and more? Check can help you see upcoming bills, remind you of due dates, and even make payments on the go. This secure app lets you see all of your accounts in one place as well. For iPhone and Android. Free.
6. Co-Parenting After Divorce:
Our Family Wizard – Sharing custody with busy kids and parents can be tricky. Good communication can minimize conflict and ease the stress of co-parenting. This app allows you to keep a joint calendar with your child’s other parent or step-parent indicating which days are scheduled at which home, kids’ activities, and even lets you track shared expenses. Our Family Wizard also allows you to enter key medical information and other details that all caregivers need to access. Requires a yearly subscription for each parent; child accounts are free. Android & iPhone.
2houses – While 2houses isn’t a native app, it is compatible with your mobile phone browser and offers many of the same basic features for communicating between divorced parents and coordinating schedules. Best of all—it’s free!
This is a general recommendation, but a vital one! Find out which school management software your child’s school uses and ask about a mobile app for parent access. Most school software companies are offering these now and they make it infinitely easier to access homework assignments and grade reports, see your child’s attendance, and even check the lunch schedule.