Being part of a family with young children means we have more to do in less time. The only way to do this is by finding tools that help us to be more productive. And believe it or not, there is an app for that Jbut how do we find the apps that truly move the needle and make a difference?
For this month’s blog, Natalie asked me to share which apps I embrace to simplify life with three young children.
Sometimes less is more, and it’s not necessarily the apps I do use, but rather the apps I avoid. These include news and social media, as they typically make us lose time instead of gain time, and if you thought you had no time before, you’ll end up with even less time once you tap on a news or social media icon.
Most news is upsetting and outside my control, so I skirt around a lot of it. I figure if the news is important enough, it’ll find its way to me, and in the process, I save time and all the stress that it causes. The same applies to social medial, it doesn’t add any value to my life and sucks my time. It’s been proven that social media releases hormones that make us feel sad and lonely. Why go there?
So what apps am I embracing? I try to use apps that add value to my life, by saving me time or teaching our children new knowledge or skills.
In the morning, our children check the weather, the pictures are sufficient for our 5 year-old, and learn how to plan and pack appropriately for a cold and rainy day.
Once we’re in the car, they love singing along to music, so our iTunes Family Music app with unlimited downloads is lots of fun. We all sing together. They also love using apps that help them identify birds and animals they see through the window when we’re on holiday. For this we use the Sasol Wildlife and Common Birds apps.
Sometimes we need to occupy our little ones so we can finish off our business quickly instead of trying to juggle things, for these moments I’ve downloaded apps that allow them to get creative and practice problem-solving. Current favourites include Colorfly for colouring, Aviary for photo decorating with fun stickers and Monument Valley 2 for a problem-solving maze game. Creativity apps allow them to think without any right or wrong answers, photo apps reinforce fun memories from our time together, and the maze apps build skills for decision making, confidence and resilience. Some of the most valuable skills for future success.
And finally, my banking app saves me so much time, I couldn’t life without it. Our children can also view their accounts on my app, and are learning about the effect of compounded interest on their birthday money when they don’t spend it all.
To find age appropriate and engaging content I recommend Common Sense Media. Despite the fact that many parents feel guilty about screen-time for their youngsters, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have found that there are learning benefits for children between the ages of 2 and 5 as long as interaction doesn’t exceed an hour a day, the apps are of a high-quality, and not used during meal-times or before bed time.