5 Apps For Busy Parents


Monster Chores could motivate the kids to rake this fall.

Hectic school, work and extracurricular schedules can take their toll. Even the most organized parents find themselves overwhelmed at times. Since everyone everywhere I go seems to be leashed to their smartphones — myself included — we might as well take advantage of technology and use it to make our lives a little easier. Here are five free apps that were developed to ease the stress and help balance the chaos of busy family life.

Cozi: Organization

What I like: This is a shared family app. Rather than maintaining a grocery list on a dry erase board on the fridge, assuming you remember what it was you needed once you get to the kitchen, everyone in the family can add items to a shared list accessed through Cozi on their smartphones. Since downloading it, Hubby and I have been able to keep better track of household to-dos as well as grocery lists and each other’s calendars.

What I don’t like: My kids did not buy in. They would rather add things to the list on the fridge than download another app. Then again, it took me two years to get them to add cereal and milk to the dry erase grocery list. I should be more patient.

Chore Monster: Organization

What I like: It’s another shared app, but for younger children who want to earn prizes or allowance by completing chores, there is motivation for them to use it. Mom and Dad can add children, chores, due dates and rewards. And parents have to verify that the chore was properly completed before the child earns the reward.

What I don’t like: Everyone needs his or her own user name and password. I prefer the way Cozi is set up with one shared family username — like the family’s last name — and family password.

Ringya: Organization/Communication

What I like: It organizes contacts by type of group, such as your daughter’s soccer team or the PTO. It then makes it easy to find and call or text one or more people within a particular group. And, to add a group, you can simply snap a picture of the contact list that was passed out to everyone at the first practice or meeting.

What I don’t like: While the app is free, you have to earn or buy “coins” to use the app’s best features, like uploading contact lists by snapping a picture.

Yummly: Organization/Recipes

What I like: I can browse pictures of various breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and drink ideas, add the ones I like to my library and select which ingredients to add to my personal grocery list. When I’m online and happen across a dish I want to try, if it has the Yummly icon in the share tools, I can easily add it to my collection.

What I don’t like: Sponsored “recipes” from food companies that use their processed products in the ingredients list. I use the app so I can cook homemade, healthier foods, not processed foods high in sodium, sugar and fat.

Daily Yoga: Self Care

What I like: When I find myself with five minutes to spare, I can prop my smartphone on my desk or the coffee table and the app will calmly walk me through a five-minute breathing or office (sitting) yoga routine. The music that continuously plays in the background works to relax and calm me. If I actually have a full 10-minutebreak, there’s a 10-minute routine!

What I don’t like: You have to upgrade to get the good workouts. Also, each type of routine is another download within the app. But once you’re set up, it is a good resource to have on the go.

What apps do you use to organize and balance your life?

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