Like most of us, I am addicted to my smartphone. It provides entertainment when I am stuck waiting somewhere, a lifeline when I need to contact someone and an easy way to share information with families and friends.
I started to wonder if I could be getting more out of my smartphone—could it also help me organize my family and keep track of their activities. I’ve found that there are apps to help you to do just about anything. Here are six that go beyond organizing to-do lists, grocery lists and recipes.
1. Cozi Family Organizer
This is the app that promises to do it all – not just organize your family’s commitments but also everyone’s to-do list, your grocery list, your favorite recipes, and your favorite family memories. Using one account for everyone in your family (each member logs in using their individual email), you can create a shared color-coded family calendar that allows you to keep track of everyone’s activities and appointments, and develop a shared to-do list for the family or a chores checklist for your kids. You can also create shopping lists, save recipes and keep a family journal (with photos!) using this app.
2. Carpool Kids
Keeping track of whether you’re dropping off the kids at practice or picking them up can get tricky. Sometimes there is a last minute change to the schedule and you and your carpool buddies are stuck texting back and forth, or frantically calling each other to find out how to respond to the new plan. This app promises to take the guesswork out of carpooling by allowing you to invite your friends to join your carpool and then you can set up as many separate carpooling events as you need and sync them all to your smartphone’s calendar. The app will send out push notifications via text or email to keep everyone updated about who is driving when and where to pick up and drop off.
3. Instant Playdates
Organizing playdates can be a herculean task of emailing, texting, often to rearrange times and places to meet because of naptimes, unexpected appointments or weather. This app aims to make it easier to organize spontaneous playdates by allowing you to import your Facebook friends, and then notify them when you and your child are heading out to the park, playground or movies. The app lets them know when you are available to play and your location. No need to text, call or email.
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My teenage daughter is always accusing her dad and I of forgetting to pay her allowance and we are often dubious about whether she has actually done her chores. This app takes care of both pain points. I can arrange to have my daughter’s allowance transferred directly into her bank account, provided she does her chores. And instead of me hounding her to do her chores, the app sends push notifications to my daughter reminding her to walk the dog, put away the laundry and empty the dishwasher. For younger kids, you can also track rewards like ice cream and video time for good behavior.
5. My Homework
Keeping track of homework can be a big headache but this app notifies you or your child before homework is due, lets you know when you need to study for a test or begin working on a big project to meet your deadline. It also syncs with Teachers.io, allowing your teacher to send class information directly to your smartphones.
Not sure what do with all that artwork that keeps coming home from school and is piling up on the dining room table? Now you can snap a photo of it with you smartphone and save it forever. You can even add a frame to each masterpiece and create a separate portfolio for each of your budding artists.
I think my addiction to my smartphone just got worse.