5 Ways Technology Has Transformed Parenting—for the Better
Let’s face it: Technology’s an unavoidable factor in all our lives, as evidenced by that smartphone that’s basically an extension of your hand at this point. While news stories about the downside of tech tend to draw a lot of attention (and may even cause you to wax nostalgic for the pre-digital era), there are just as many, if not more, times it’s made a hugely positive difference in the lives of parents—and your kids too. Here, five ways technology can ease day-to-day life as a new parent, plus the apps and devices we recommend.
Back in the day, you could only catch up with far-flung family through snail mail, costly long-distance phone calls and a few yearly visits. And befriending other young moms in your area? Basically, you’d have to stalk them with your stroller. Now, finding and maintaining crucial relationships are just a click (or voice prompt) away.
Tech We Love: Video chats, like those via the Amazon Echo Show, offer the perfect face-to-face family fix. Then there’s Peanut, aka “Tinder for moms,” which can connect you to like-minded mothers nearby. And perhaps you’ve heard of Instagram? Not only does it let your loved ones see instant snaps and stories of your kiddos, but it also indulges your curiosity of what the famous tots of Hollywood A-listers have been up to.
Every parent, whether they admit it or not, has a moment of panic after baby is born—that flash-worry of “What if I screw something up?” High-tech tools won’t get rid of that completely—hey, you’re only human!—but they can make it easier than ever for you to stay on top of baby’s health.
Tech We Love: Instead of popping in to check on baby (and potentially waking them), the latest monitors allow you to virtually track vital signs or movement. You can also sync the Echo Show to compatible baby monitors to visually keep tabs on your little one from anywhere in your home. Baby not feeling well? Scan the bar code of thousands of prescription and OTC medicines and the MommyMeds app can confirm how much (if any) is safe to give them.
The latest smart home features make protecting your family and belongings a whole lot easier, both when you’re at home and out of the house, compared to those pricey old-school security systems. Not to mention how simple it can be to control your environment. Think: lights you can turn on from another room, or door locks that respond to voice commands—perfect for when you have your hands full with baby.
Tech We Love: The Amazon Echo pairs with a host of smart home features and compatible devices like thermostats, lights and smart-lock systems, allowing you to secure your home with a simple “Alexa, lock the front door.” (Trust us, shouting out a quick command is a lifesaver when you’re juggling a crying baby, an overstuffed diaper bag and a leaky bottle.) For the ultimate peace of mind, the SimpliSafe Haven system allows you to customize as many door and window security sensors as you like (no tools required!).
Hard to imagine, but even a few years ago if you were out of milk and eggs, you had to strap everyone into the car and go to the store to buy them. Today, groceries and takeout can be delivered on demand with zero interruptions to sleeping/sick/cranky kids.
Tech We Love: Figuring out what to make is half the battle, but services like SideChef can help streamline meal planning; if you’re an Amazon Fresh customer, you can even ask Alexa to order groceries for all the recipes and get same-day delivery. Not to mention, there are a million food delivery apps to turn to when you’re seriously craving your favorite Chinese takeout.
Just being honest: As a parent, you will frequently have a day that goes off the rails. You know, the kind where time vanishes as quickly and completely as your baby’s favorite stuffed animal? While you can’t clone yourself—not yet, at least—some hands-free technology can make your day just a wee bit better.
Tech We Love: Help automate chores with a robot vacuum that’ll zoom around your house, sucking up dust, dirt and pet hair—all without judgment! Too busy with baby to see who’s at your door? Check the Ring video doorbell from your rocker, and then ask the Amazon delivery guy to leave your monthly diaper haul on the porch. (Both devices can be voice-activated via your Echo.) And the Headspace Alexa skill will teach you how to meditate—because after all, a Zen parent is a happy parent.