The holidays take on a new meaning when you're a parent. It's a great way to reignite the magic of your own childhood holiday memories. Whether it's keeping tabs on Santa on Christmas Eve, finding a babysitter to get last minute shopping done, or making sure your child is safe when they're out with friends, these apps can help:
Google Santa Tracker
You and your kids can keep "track" of Santa with Google's Santa app (Android). The app counts down to Christmas and has lots of fun activities for kids.
While waiting for Santa, kids can plan holiday games like Elf Maker, Snowball Run, and Dasher Dancer. The app includes animated videos of Santa's friends at the North Pole going on adventures.
The Santa Tracker unlocks December 24.
If you're a parent of an infant or small child, balancing time to celebrate and make sure the little one is still asleep can be challenging. Traditional baby monitor batteries can die, and the sound is sometimes hard to decipher from static.
Parents can track their child's breathing with 98 percent accuracy; monitor sleep cycles; get alerted if the child wakes up; and hear, talk to, and watch their child.
The only downside is that the companion camera device is a bit expensive at $270. Raybaby is perfect to keep an eye on your sleeping child year round.
Letter to Santa Claus
Leaving a note for Santa on Christmas Eve next to a plate of milk and cookies is a special tradition in many families.
Help your child to send their Christmas list to St. Nick with the Letter to Santa Claus app (iOS). The best part is, Santa "writes back."
The app is suitable for all ages and offers step-by-step instructions on how to complete the letter. The parent's portal in the app is password protected, so you can read what your child wrote to Santa.
Acting as Santa, you can compose a reply yourself, or the app will generate a response based on the information your child gives. Letter to Santa Claus doesn't ask for sensitive information or store anything that's input.
Trying to get a night out on your own can be difficult with kids, whether it's for the office holiday party or to do some shopping. The Bambino app (iOS, Android) can help you find a local, trusted babysitter fast.
Bambino searches for available babysitters near you and allows you to scroll through their profile on the app. Parents can read reviews of their past jobs and see how much experience they have.
The app sorts its sitters into four categories: Junior Sitters (13 to 15 years old), Standard Sitters (15 to 18 years old), Advanced Sitters (18+ years old), and Elite Sitters (18+ years old and background checked).
After you select a sitter, the time tracker will start at your scheduled booking time. When the night is over, Bambino will generate an invoice. Paying the sitter is easy. Simply add your credit card to the app, and the payment will go directly to the sitter's Venmo account.
When your kids get older, they'll probably start to want to buy gifts for their friends and family with their own money. To protect your kids from hackers and teach them valuable financial skills, check out the Greenlight app (iOS, Android)
Greenlight is a smart debit card for kids with parental supervision. You can customize the money on the app to be spendable anywhere or only in certain stores. As your child shops, you'll get alerts on their purchases.
If your child doesn't have enough money on the card, it will decline, just like a real debit card. Parents can teach kids how to monitor and budget their funds on the companion app. In addition, parents can teach their kids to save money by helping their child set a savings goal and pay interest into it.
Greenlight costs $5 per month, per family, supports multiple kids, and parents can get as many (or as few) notifications as they want.
In addition to managing their own money, as your kids get older they'll probably want to start holiday shopping with friends or going to holiday parties. For peace of mind as a parent, knowing where your child is is a must.
Finding a trusted GPS location app can make you feel more at ease when your children aren't with you.
Apps like Bark (iOS, Android), Google Family Link (iOS, Android), and Zift (iOS, Android) include location features similar to dropping a pin in iOS. If you don't want to add a new app, you can simply use the location features built into your device.
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