Do you have a child who is always up before everyone else? There's an app for that. How about keeping track of multiple allowances? Yes, an app can make it easy. Want reinforcements for wrangling kids at bedtime, teaching them potty training, explaining screen time restrictions and modeling good behavior? Storybook apps have you covered. Here's a list of clever apps that are designed to make your parenting job easier.
Sleepasaurus - Dinosaur Sleep Trainer for Kids
(Wee Taps, best for ages 2-6, $1.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; 4 out of 4)
Does your toddler or preschooler frequently get up way before the crack of dawn? "Sleepasaurus" might be just want you need. Kids choose one from seven baby dinosaurs and then sprinkle magic sleeping dust over it just before bedtime. Once the dinosaur is asleep, it can't be awakened until a time set by the parents. The idea is that the dinosaur becomes your child's sleeping buddy. If your child wakes up too early, the app trains your early riser to go back to sleep until such time as the dinosaur is awake and can roar when touched. Parents also have the option of setting the app to play bedtime music for going to sleep as well as music to wake up your child. This is a clever app that doubles as a nightlight if plugged in; and it operates masterfully.
The Adventures of Ash & Ollie: ScreenTime - A Fingerprint Network App (also on Android)
(Fingerprint, best for ages 3-6, $2.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android; 4 out of 4)
Two little brothers, Ash and Ollie, really like playing on their tablets and video game players. But their parents have taught them the importance of balancing screen time with other forms of play. By having your kids read this story about how another family imposes rules around screen times, it just might make it easier for you to do the same.
Tico Timer - your fun timer f! or children!
(Ricardo Fonseca, best for ages 3-8, $.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; 4 out of 4)
For children who can't yet tell time, this app presents the passage of time in a visual manner. The app has 11 different visuals, from colored circles slowly disappearing off the screen to a shrinking circle eventually vanishing. Parents can use the app to let kids know that they have ten more minutes until bedtime, 30 minutes of screen time left or two minutes for brushing of teeth. The easy-to-set timer screen can be accompanied by one of seven musical tracks.
Kiddie: positive parenting toddlers 2-5 years: reading, reward charts and fun songs
(Kiddie App, best for ages 2-5, Free, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; 4 out of 4)
This free app presents an adorable story about a bear-like character named Kiddie who is getting ready for bed. Using funny made-up rhyming phrases such as "Wopsie Dopdie Deeth, Wash your hands and brush your teeth," this app draws kids into the process of getting Kiddie to bed. Your child will tap on Kiddie's blanket to draw it up and turn on Kiddie's iPad so that his parent can read him a bedtime story. The tale also contains a cute song. Most importantly, the story introduces Kiddie's Reward Chart for going to bed easily and then lets parents create one for your child too.
For $2.99 each, parents can buy additional interactive stories about Kiddie: learning to use a potty, exploring foods at dinner time and discovering how to be sweet. If you want to purchase all three, the cost is $5.99. Each delivers a strong message about proper behavior and lets you set up a reward chart for your child — just like Kiddie's. I would recommend buying all three since they are so well done.
Achieve It With Sesame Street (also on Android)
(Sesame Street, best for ages 3-5, Free, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android; 4 out of! 4)
Elmo monster presents a series of financially based challenges for you and your child to do, away from the device. For example, the challenge might be to sort coins, hand money to a cashier or checkout an ATM machine. For each challenge, Elmo asks that you take a photo during the challenge (or you can select one of the Sesame Street monsters instead). Completion is rewarded with a sticker or the unlocking of a special Sesame Street video about a financial topic. By playing through these challenges together with your child, you will have lots of opportunities to discuss the difference between what we want and what we need, that people work to earn money and that there are three parts to saving money: for spending, for sharing, and for long term savings.
(BancVue, Ltd, best for ages 5-14, Free, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; 3.5 stars)
"PiggyBot" makes keeping track of your kid's allowance a piece of cake. It also introduces your child to the concept that saving should have three parts: spending, sharing with others, and saving. The app permits you set up profiles for multiple children and keeps all the record-keeping in one place. It also lets your kids set goals, so that they can see how to save for something they want.
Jinny Gudmundsen is the Editor of www.TechwithKids.com and author of iPad Apps for Kids, a For Dummies book. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @JinnyGudmundsen.