Technology keeps getting a bad rap, especially in the parenting sphere. Digital doodads are blamed for building a wedge between families, and parents are often judged for using smartphones and tablet computers as virtual babysitters to keep their little ones entertained.
However, in the midst of all the hand-wringing, many of us are missing the amazing ways gadgets and gizmos have actually made parenting easier. They help us connect, communicate and care for our cuties in real time, while giving us some much-needed down time to become better parents. Here are 10 dazzling ways digital devices and solutions have got us parents covered.
#1 Video calls
If you’re staying far away from family (grandparents, uncles, aunts or cousins) and want your kewpie to stay bonded with them, what better way than with regular Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp video call sessions? Just turn on the iPad, desktop or mobile phone, give relatives and friends a “call” and watch the wee one turn on his charm ― yakking, running, showing off his new toys or telling anyone who would listen about what’s happening in school. This technology is also especially helpful if you’re working late or travelling for work. A quick video call will let you catch up with your cuties, make sure they are doing all right, you can even give them a virtual kiss goodnight.
#2 Audio and video books
Instil a love for literature in your little one without having to sacrifice another tree, or space in your already crammed bookshelf with audio and video books. The Internet has plenty of resources you can download for free, including websites such as Storynory, Storyline Online, plus good old YouTube. From classics such as Cinderella to modern-day animated fables like the Caterpillar Shoes, these charming tales will capture your tyke’s attention for hours. Many of these e-books also come with text, so junior can polish up on his phonetics along the way.
A quick video call will let you catch up with your cuties, make sure they are doing all right, you can even give them a virtual kiss goodnight.
Speaking of the wondrous world of YouTube… unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would know the number of peewee-friendly prospects this website has. Fun and educational rhymes and songs, clips on kids dancing Zumba or doing hilarious everyday antics, plus cartoons and child-centric shows you can’t find locally – you name it, this website has it. But be forewarned, once junior jumps down the YouTube rabbit hole, it will be hard to drag him back up again, so set screen-time limits. Or better yet, watch it with him and later discuss what you’ve watched. A kitchen virgin? No problem! Just tune into a YouTube cooking channel and make like a Nigella Lawson because you’ll be turning out anything from chicken cordon bleu to kueh salat.
#4 Educational apps
Junior’s education doesn’t have to stop after school, keep his mind sharp with interactive number or word games that you can download on your mobile phone, iPad or tablet. Games such as Elmo Loves 123s teaches your tyke simple addition and subtraction, while Fish School HD helps junior with his letters, numbers, shapes and colours. The coolest app though will have to be GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine, which inspires budding gal engineers as young as 6 years old to learn the basics of animation and produce their own one-second animated GIFs.
#5 On-demand shows on Netflix
If you haven’t jumped on the Netflix bandwagon, which rock are you living under? This is a blessing for busy parents who simply have no time to tune in at set times to watch their favourite shows or flicks. For a small monthly fee ($10.98 for a basic package, $16.98 for a premium one), you’ll get 24/7 access to a library of TV shows, movies, documentaries, stand-up comedies, plus a slew of children’s programmes. Besides the usual kiddie shows like Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom or Peppa Pig, Netflix also has its own original content including, Beat Bugs, where friendly bugs learn big lessons about the world around them, Veggie Tales, which encourages kids to eat healthfully and Word Party , which introduces different words and concepts to young learners.
#6 Baby monitors
Leaving the kids with the helper or grandparents during the day, but want to keep an eye ― just in case? Invest in a baby monitor! Readily available and easy to install, wireless cameras are linked to an online app you can download onto your phone and access when you’re on the go, so that you can keep tabs on your kiddos and their caretakers. In the evenings, turn them on in the room your mini-me sleeps in, so as to keep an eye on him all night.
Who needs paediatricians when you have Dr Google? Just kidding! While nothing can be more reassuring than a trip to the doctor to confirm that your child has a clean bill of, websites such as WebMD and the Mayo Clinic can give you a quick heads up on what illness you think junior might be battling. Online research can also give you tips on how to care for your munchkin.
Readily available and easy to install, wireless cameras are linked to an online app you can download onto your phone and access when you’re on the go, so that you can keep tabs on your kiddos and their caretakers
Ever been stuck in a car with a motley crew of bored kids who incessantly ask you if you’re there yet? Then you’ll know how important it is to have your GPS fired up before you pull out of the driveway, so that you don’t make a wrong turn with children who just can’t sit still. And if you do miss an exit, kudos to GPS “lady” who will quickly re-calculate your route and put you back on track before junior yells out that he needs to pee “right now!”.
#9 Mobile phones
While you have several reasons to refrain from giving your tween a smartphone, you also have one good reason to do so. You’ll be able to keep track of your tyke at all times, especially if he’s taking public transport home on his own from school or a friend’s house. Knowing that he’s reading your WhatsApps and picking up your calls gives you the peace of mind to go about your day at work, while encouraging your child to learn some independence.
If there’s ever a time to get your act together for real, it’s after having kids. Activities such as drop offs, pick-ups, school performances, piano class, soccer practice, play dates, family gatherings and work schedules need to be factored into your daily routine. Before you start feeling overwhelmed, know that there are plenty of e-calendars you can download into your phone and sync with the hubs, grandparents and caretakers, so that no one misses anything and no child is stranded somewhere without a ride home. Suffering from mummy brain? These apps have got your back because you can set reminders for each task or activity.
What else will they think of next? Long live technology!
SMARTgen Asia ― the coolest tech event for youths and parents in SG!
Get set for lots of fun exploring and experiencing the latest technology!
Your children will learn in-demand 21st century skills and have fun, while laying the building blocks of success in a technology-driven future at SMARTgen workshops. Classes are conducted by renowned enterprises such as General Assembly, Singapore Media Academy and more.
SMARTgen will also host various keynotes and seminars where the top tech movers and shakers will congregate and share their success stories, in addition to how technology is changing the world we live in. There will also be panel discussions revolving around innovation, success, technology and entrepreneurship aimed at motivating and inspiring youths and parents.
Join us and prepare your child for a 21st century career. Get valuable advise from top industry players from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, Uber and more...
We hope to see you at SmartGen 2018!
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