Working parents leave their place of business and shed their alter egos as they morph into moms or dads immediately upon returning home. Even though they may be superheroes in their eyes of their kids and other parents who wonder how they do it all, every working parent needs an arsenal of essential gadgets and apps to help facilitate communication, aid in multitasking, and ensure that they’re always as productive as they can be during work hours. Here are nine products and free apps that are must-haves for working moms and dads.
9 Essential Gadgets and Apps for Every Working Parent 1 of 10
Home Security Powered by Alarm.com 2 of 10
Nothing is worse than coming home from a day of work and finding that you've been the victim of a break in. Alarm.com provides the technology that allows homeowners to monitor everything that happens in their homes. From keeping track of activity on entry doors, windows, liquor and medicine cabinets, safes, drawers, and more. While most home security systems rely on a phone line (that can be disabled by thieves or intruders) to notify authorities of a break in, Alarm.com works through a secure wireless network and you can monitor and secure your home through an easy to use web dashboard on any computer or on your mobile phone using the app for iOS (iPhone, iPad) or Android in real time. You can get alerts notifying you your kids have arrived home safely, monitor video feeds from afar, and also turn on and off lights using the web or app interface.
Price: Monthly fee for 24/7 monitoring plus the cost of home security hardware
Get it: Alarm.com equipment from authorized dealers in your area.
Image courtesy of Alarm.com
Mojo Refuel Removable Battery Case 3 of 10
A workday full of email, phone calls, and texting equals the perfect recipe for a low phone battery. For any working parent, being disconnected is not an option. The Mojo Refuel Removable Battery Case ($74.99) for iPhone5/5s is a removable case for your iPhone 5 that provies protection against impact and shock in a slim, snug fit profile. Unlike other cases on the market, it is easy to swap out (so you can carry extras and easily change them out for days that you're on the go more than usual) and is headphone compatible.
Get it: Online from iBattz or Amazon.com or in-store at Sam's Club.
Customized Ergonomic Bag for Commuting 4 of 10
Commuting parents know the importance of an ergonomic bag that has a place for everything and won't fall apart over time. Messenger style bags from Timbuk2 are made in San Francisco and the company provides customization options to build your bag according to your specifications so it will hold exactly what you need it to carry daily. Choose your size, fabrics like ballistic nylon in assorted colors or specialty prints, and also compartments to create a bag that's uniquely yours, is comfortable to carry, and TSA friendly. Timbuk2 bags are pricey investments but they'll last forever and feature the company guarantee.
Price: Timbuk2 customized bags start at $149.
Get it: Online from Timbuk2
Images courtesy of Timbuk2
Google Wallet 5 of 10
Forget all of your debit cards, club cards, and coupon apps. Google Wallet stores all these things in your smartphone and provides ease of payment . Android users with NFC phones who have Google Wallet set up can simply tap and pay anywhere contactless payments are accepted to make it even easier to grab a quick lunch out before heading back to the office. Google Wallet can also be used for online payments or to send a money to chip in for an office-wide gift for a colleague.
Get it: For Android phones from the Google Wallet site.
Image courtesy of Google Wallet
TalkTo 6 of 10
Picking up the phone to call and ask a business a question is so 5 minutes ago thanks to the new TalkTo app that allows you to text a business a question and get a fast response. This free app for Android or iPhone is a busy parent's timesaving lifesaver because it puts an end to phone calls to stores to check to see if they have the coolest toy in stock for a last minute birthday purchase, checking a restaurant's reservation system and monkeying with drop down menus to find an optimal time for a date night dinner, or being frustrated with every call you make to find a hotel room for a last minute business trip. a last minute hotel reservation for a business trip. Rather than getting on the phone and making one call to one place of business, it's possible to put out a bunch of queries at a time. Hotel and dinner reservations, salon appointments, and product holds at local stores can be made with a text back. via TalkTo.
Images courtesy of TalkTo
Ringya 7 of 10
Nothing is worse than being at work and needing to get in touch with another and not having their number because the class list, soccer team roster, church group member list, etc. is at home. Ringya is a free app that allows you to get rid of paper lists by uploading them to your phone and creating contextualized groups or "rings." Different rings can be made for each after school activity, child's class, work groups, and personal groups. Just snap a photo of a contact list, or email digital contact lists in PDF or spreadsheet form to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ringya app transforms the lists into a digital "Rings" to provide contextual calling to help eliminate the embarrassing "who is this" when an unfamiliar name or number comes through your phone. Ringya helps provide a context for how you know the individual by displaying "Tim Johnson's mom from Little League" when a call comes through.
Images courtesy of Ringya
RedRover 8 of 10
Major metropolitan cities have so much to offer families but it's often hard to keep up with the latest offerings. RedRover for Android and iPhone allows parents stay on top of events by searching for things happening today, tomorrow, or over the weekend and putting parameters such as distance from your home or age on the results. Or search by topic such as playgrounds, libraries, museums and galleries, bookstores, etc. to get location information on your phone. RedRover currently serves NYC, the Hamptons/North Fork, Atlanta, and the San Francisco Bay Area with more cities coming soon.
Images courtesy of RedRover
Starbucks 9 of 10
Caffeine fueled parents who need their daily cup can pay, add money on their Starbucks accounts, and earn their stars for My Starbucks Rewards benefits directly from the mobile app. If you're traveling, the app will also help you find the closest store.
Get it: For Android and iPhones from Starbucks' Mobile Apps page.
Image courtesy of Starbucks
Cozi 10 of 10
Managing a family calendar and work difficult can be difficult but isn't with Cozi. Cozi pulls in work calendars from Outlook, syncs with gMail, automatically uploads a school calendar to create a comprehensive family calendar that organizes your life so you'll never forget a school performance, soccer practice, or schedule a call during a family dinner ever again. It also puts your to-do lists, reminders, and shopping lists all in one place so everything can be accessed and updated in real time on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone.
Images courtesy of Cozi
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