When my daughter broke her arm two weeks ago, it came as quite a surprise…and an inconvenience to our family. This wasn’t just another skinned knee that required some antibiotic ointment and an adhesive bandage. This was full-blown. A compound fracture in her forearm that punctured the skin and required surgery.
Surgery meant an overnight stay in the hospital, something none of us was prepared for.
While I remained at the hospital with our 7 year old, my husband was at home trying to navigate the school, activity, and social schedule of our 11 year old. Not an easy feat for even the most skilled multi-tasker.
As I sat in the hospital fielding calls from both my husband and my daughter about where she needed to be and when she needed to be there, I realized that there has got to be a better way to manage and record the schedules of a busy family and all of its members. Keeping it all in my head and scribbled on tens of sticky notes on my desk were no longer viable options.
What’s the best solution for busy families in this day and age of technology? Apps, of course.
One of my favorites is Save The Mom, and just as its name suggests, it has come to be my saving grace. Save The Mom is an app that is designed specifically for the family unit. It includes family to-do lists, calendars, both personal and shared for recording appointments and social commitments such as school dances, slumber parties, and birthday parties. It also has options for photo sharing and texting directly from the app.
What I love most about Save the Mom is the calendar feature. To keep track of schedules and appointments, I would email my husband my schedule...when I remembered to do so. When I did remember, he'd sometimes forget to add it to his calendar. With Save The Mom, I enter my schedule of appointments, conferences, and social commitments directly into the app so that he can have direct access to it anytime, anywhere.
Set up is simple. However, each family member that is added must have an email address since invitations are sent to users. Once the invitation is accepted, you can begin tracking the schedule for those family members.
Save the Mom isn’t all business though. There are fun things to do with the app also such as send pictures and create
polls. When my family can’t agree on a restaurant for dinner, we take a vote. With Save The Mom, I now create a fun poll and list 4 restaurants in the poll and each family member can have his/her say by responding to the poll.
Save The Mom offers two types of lists: a “To Buy” list and a ToDo list. Creating a list was as simple as writing it on a piece of paper, except I didn’t have to worry that I left the paper on the island in the kitchen!
If you are the parent of older children such as tweens and teens, SocialParent is the app for you. This social network app is designed specifically for parents to connect with the parents of their children’s friends. This app is perfect for coordinating plans, making recommendations for places to shop and items to buy, and for sharing photos or videos.
I love the premise of this app, but unfortunately, it’s only effective when everyone is making use of it. And while I have input into what my family uses, I have very little say in what apps my daughters’ friend’s parents choose to use. We know some parents who event don’t text. I can’t see them taking advantage of this app.
I love that this app allows for the creation of groups, whether it is a sports team to which your child belongs or an informal group of friends. This is a favorite feature of mine since my older daughter participates in several different types of activities and sports throughout the year ranging from Girl Scouts to gymnastics.
This app works best if you have a group of parents who are close and are willing to coordinate the use of the app. When used effectively, SocialParent is a time (and sanity saver).
These are, by no means, the only apps on the market. There are others such as eFamily, but I like SocialParent and Save The Mom for the robust features and day-to-day schedule management capabilities. eFamily is more of a photo sharing site and is designed very much like a Facebook for immediate and extended family. I couldn’t imagine using this app between acquaintances.
If you are at your wit’s end trying to keep your family’s schedule together, take a look into Save The Mom and SocialParent. Both are free and can be found in the iPhone App Store.