As a new parent I second-guessed myself about everything.
- Did she get enough to eat? Did he get too much to eat?
- Is she constipated? When's the last time he had a No. 2?
- Why isn't she sitting up yet? OMG is his development delayed?
But I could only call my parent friends so many times a day before they stopped responding. Awkward.
So I was thrilled to find a brand new app called ParentPal, developed by Teaching Strategies, a leader in early childhood development from birth to preschool, and the founders of Baby Einstein. ParentPal is available in the Apple App and Google Play Stores.
This app is a low-stress tool to help today's parents confidently raise happy, healthy, and thriving children. Plus, it never ever gets tired of your questions or updates.
Instead, the ParentPal app combines everything new parents want or need in a single resource. It keeps up with milestones, offers a myriad of resources, and supports a healthy routine ... all while giving you the opportunity to capture and share every moment by photo or video. These developers all must be parents because they seem to have thought of everything and answered every possible question.
Here are the five features I thought were the most impressive — and are bound to be a game changer for parents:
1. Today's Plan
Today's Plan links to recommended activities for the day, helping you organize your day while feeling good about crossing off your "to-do list." (Because we all love that.) It allows you to track important everyday activities and milestones like overnight sleep, playtime, story time and bedtime routines.
What makes this a standout? For each of the activities or milestones listed, ParentPal offers ideas for creating rich, memorable learning experiences for you and your child. You'll find one-on-one suggested experiences for you and your child based on years of research by early childhood curriculum leaders and development experts. You can choose music to accompany bath time featuring more than 125 pieces of classical music and popular children’s songs, and find 100-plus soothing activities created for favorite children’s books like “Goodnight Moon” and “Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book" at bedtime.
The plan and suggested activities are all designed to be age-appropriate so will populate based on the age of your child. Pretty cool!
Did you know 80 percent of the human brain is developed by age 3? With nearly 1 million neural connections forming every second, the first three years are a critical time to support brain development through purposeful play and interaction, while forging that lasting parent-child bond.
ParentPal guides parents through 180 research-based milestones based on their age. You can not only track where your child is, but anticipate what cognitive, social-emotional, and physical milestones they will reach next, along with ideas on how you can help them get there.
This code can be used for annual or monthly subscription purchases. Coupons can only be used for purchases made via the website, getparentpal.com. Coupons cannot be applied to purchases made via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. All coupons expire on December 31, 2021.
When your child completes a milestone? You can tap “We did it!” in the app to celebrate the accomplishment and note that a milestone has been met.
The app will record the date automatically and you can download or take photos or videos. This makes it easy not only to share updates regularly with grandma and grandpa, but also with your child's pediatrician or caregiver.
Plus, take it from an experienced mama, you'll never, ever get tired of looking back at the photos and videos and reliving these early days and you'll be SO glad you recorded every moment and have it in an easy-to-find place!
3. Tracking and Routines
ParentPal also tracks and records important detailed data like sleep, nutrition, diaper changes and toileting, health, vaccines, and growth. This might not be the "exciting" milestones we all look back on, but it's all vital information in our day-to-day parenting lives.
I especially love the once-a-week reminder to take a picture of your child's face. The app automatically saves pictures to your Memory Book, allowing you to see how your child is changing over months or years. It's details like this that make ParentPal a standout.
4. The Library
ParentPal's Library includes a treasure trove of 3,500-plus articles, videos, milestones, activities, songs, and so much more. Seriously, this would have saved me so much money in buying everything from 15 barely-opened how-to-parent books to a noise machine.
I have to say I found the music to be one of the unexpected delights of ParentPal. The library includes more than 125 classical masterworks and favorite children’s songs specifically orchestrated by a Grammy award-winning musician to appeal to little ones. And they're not annoying. (That needs to be said when we're talking kid music.)
Plus — I found this amazing — ParentPal's sleep feature gives you the option to have the music or comforting noise of your choice start playing again if the microphone picks up on baby crying for more than four seconds. Yep, it's a sleep aid too!
I also really liked the "e-words" you can download. These include 260 first words that are typically among the earliest words a child comprehends and produces. Each comes with the spelling and oral pronunciation followed by pictures. A great educational distractor when you need it. And you will need it.
Communication is key, but sometimes overlooked when it comes to dueling schedules and baby — when was the last time your caregiver fed him? Did grandma change her diaper recently? Did daddy give him his nap today? ParentPal allows you to connect multiple caregivers on your "Team" so you can all track baby's day and development, in the moment, in one easy-to-find location. Score!
ParentPal might not change diapers or get up with baby at 2 a.m., but the easy-to-use app certainly can take a lot of stress and uncertainty out of those first few years of parenting. This app gives you all the tools you need in one place to raise a happy and healthy baby.
And before you know it? You'll be the parent your friends are asking for advice.
This review was sponsored by ParentPal. All thoughts and opinions are the author's own.