Being a parent is challenging in many ways, as we often talk about here, on Up All Hours, but one of the main challenges that many parents don’t talk about is, boredom.
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Yes, I know we should all be brimming with satisfaction and joy at going to yet another baby singing class, or the umpteenth trip to the playground but most of the time, these things are done on our own, with a limited amount of adult interaction.
Sometimes, us adults can go a whole day without talking to another grown up, so the smart phone has, in many ways, become a parent’s best friend. It provides us with a link to all the other adults out there, be it through reminding yourself what life was like before kids, by checking out your single friends weekend activities on social media, or catching up on something other that sodding Pepper Pig, on I player, or just reminding yourself you have a brain by keeping yourself up to date with the news.
The phone is a great parenting tool and can open us busy parents up, to a whole new world of easy communication and life planning, so here are our Top 5 apps for busy parents.
As a parent making time for a social life can be tough, let alone making the time to plan one. Doodle help you to solve this problem, allowing you to get a date in the diary with just one message, cutting out the endless WhatsApp chats. You just list off the dates you can do and send them to your friends via the app, email or iMessage and then let them instantly vote on which options work for them. Doodle does the rest, confirming the best date for everyone. You can even use it to select the venue or meet up point, simply enter the suggested locations into a poll and everyone can vote for their favourite.
Free to download on iOS and Android. Your friends don’t even need to have the app for it to work.
Hoop makes it easy to find fun things going on for kids aged up to 11 years old. Open the app and you can instantly find everything to do nearby, including loads of activities that are completely free. All the activities on Hoop come with an age recommendation so you'll only see things that are right for your family. The new ‘Best of the Weekend’ feature lets you know what the top 20 activities are for your kids over the weekend. It’s currently available in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Brighton, Bath & Oxford. So with any luck, Hoop can help you avoid the dreaded soft play on a wet and windy afternoon!
Free to download on iOS and Android.
As parents finding the time and the finances, for dinner out can be a challenge, so there’s no point taking even more time to work out where to go. That’s where Quandoo comes in, offering a choice of dining experiences from Michelin-starred restaurants to local favorites. The app uses GPS to show you the restaurants in your area and lets you earn loyalty points with those you like the look of. The app covers restaurants across Europe, Asia, Australia and South America, so you’ll never be short of ideas of where to eat wherever you are.
So find a babysitter and get that date night back in the diary!
Free to download on iOS, Android and Windows phones.
As a busy parent, keeping on top of your finances can be tricky and sometimes, we would rather not keep track on how much we have managed to spend on coffee and Jo Jo Mama Bebe essentials but in the spirit of being responsible the ClearScore app lets you track your finances. When you open the app, you’re presented with your personal dashboard that clearly summarises your financial position (eeeek!). Your information is updated every month and the ClearScore timeline lets you view a long-term picture of your financial fitness. If you need a bit of help improving your score so you can get a better financial deal, the app has a section called 'Learn' that gives you tips and tricks on sorting your finances. So, look on the bright side, surely keeping an eye on your expenditure will mean that you spend less and save more, hopefully resulting in a little surpluss cash at the end of the month to treat yourself!
Free to download on iOS and Android.
Can’t find that article you saw while you were waiting to pick up the kids from school? Don’t waste time searching for it again when you’re back home just download Instapaper. This app lets you save anything you’ve found while browsing online, from news articles, to cooking recipes or YouTube videos. With one click it lets you save, read, and manage the things you find on the Internet meaning that you will always look like you are totally on top of things, even when you’re not!