Rare is the family that doesn't have some sort of app-friendly gadget these days. As well as being a source of entertainment for grown-ups and adults alike, a range of apps can make our home lives easier - we've checked out some of the best. Get downloading!
What to Expect, free.
Sister app to the hugely popular book What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, this is packed with information and will also send you a daily pregnancy tips message. Like many of those listed here (due to a shortage of good British alternatives - come on app developers, we need more!), this is a US-based app so some terminology might be different to that used in the UK.
Sprout, free for the 'Lite' version, £1.49 to upgrade for more functionality.
Amazingly sharp images of how your baby might be developing (indeed, some of the early weeks' embryo and foetus images are not something you'll want to see whilst eating breakfast if you're feeling queasy from morning sickness!) Also includes weight, baby kicks and contraction trackers and general pregnancy health advice (again with an American spin and sometimes this does vary by country).
Baby Bump, free or £2.49 for the 'Pro' version.
Everyday pregnancy tracker with room for appointments, space to keep a journal and information about your baby's development in the womb.
Dads don't have to miss out on the pregnancy app action, thanks to this one that's designed specifically for them. Takes a lighthearted, blokey approach – for example, comparing your unborn child's size at 10 weeks to that of a beer bottle top...
Baby White Noise Box, free for three sounds, 69p each for further ones.
For years savvy parents have put a fan or out of tune analogue radio on in the nursery to create white noise and encourage their baby to fall asleep. Now instead, download this white noise app which lets you choose from assorted background noises – our favourite is 'ocean waves' but there are also 'outdoor sounds' or out-of-tune TV ones on the free version. Especially useful if your home is particularly noisy and your baby gets distracted when trying to nod off. There are plenty of other similar, free apps on the market, so if this one's sounds don't do the soothing job for your little one, it's worth trying another.
Best Baby Monitor - £2.49.
Allows you to hook up two Apple devices – one in your baby's room and another close to where you are, to create a modern take on the baby monitor. Even if you prefer a conventional monitor most of the time, this is ideal for when you're away from home. Works with most iPhones, iPads and iPods.
Similar apps are available for other operating systems.
NCT BabyChange - free.
You're out and about, your baby's nappy needs changing, where to go? This app uses GPS on an iPhone or Android phone to point you in the direction of the nearest facilities. Coverage in any given area largely depends on how many parents/ companies have logged local facilities so it can be better in some places than others.
Breast Feeding Friend – free.
Record feed times and lengths and which breast was used – handy for sleep-deprived brains which are struggling to remember such details!
Toddlers/ preschoolers and older kids
Toddler Lock –free.
Smart screensaver-style app for Android that shows toddlers colourful patterns they can interact with. At the same time it prevents further access to your phone, so you can avoid those dreaded 'small child presses random buttons and makes accidental phone call to 'talk' to your boss/ 999' moments.
Keep a record of your children's artworks for posterity without having to have the fridge and every wall in the house wallpapered in them. Take a snap of your little one's masterpieces and then upload them to the app's 'virtual fridge' to be retained for evermore. You can also share them from the app straight to social media should you choose to do so.
Change4Life Fun Generator, free.
No less than 100 ideas for indoor and outdoor family fun, from dodgeball to homemade lolly making, to help you deal with those 'I'm bored' moments in the school holidays.
iReward Chart, free for the 'Lite' version, £2.49 for more features.
Fantastic app that lets you create interactive, customised reward charts for each child in the household. The free version gives you the ability to add four targets for one child, either from iReward's lists or you can create your own. Most parents will need more than four categories, so will need to upgrade to the full version but if you're into reward chart parenting, it'll be money well spent.
The Happy Face, free.
Children been well-behaved? Pop their photo on the happy-faced robot. Not so good? Put them on the sad –faced one. Simpler than iReward Chart for a quick fix 'well done' message with cute robot graphics that has plenty of kid appeal for preschoolers in particular.
Jamie's 15 Minute Meals, free for basic version but charges for extra features such as video demonstrations.
Deceptively impressive meals that are designed to be knocked up in just 15 minutes! Ingredient shopping lists can also be sent straight to your phone. Music to the ears of whoever cooks the dinner in the household.
Annabel Karmel's recipes, £3.99
Handy app for 120 of Annabel's popular family recipes. Useful to have on your phone for those 'no idea what to make for dinner' days.
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