Parenting – is there an app for that?

FOR the new generation of smartphone-using parents, the big question may be whether to Tweet Pee or not to Tweet Pee. 

Sonya Fladun

Sonya Fladun

Tweet Pee is an app that, believe it or not, tells you when your little one has downloaded in his/her nappy.

This is but one of a multitude of apps to supposedly make child rearing easier.

There are pregnancy apps that give weekly details about your baby’s size, weight and development and what symptoms and cravings to expect.

There’s a birth countdown clock and a daily tracker to calculate weight gain and count baby’s kicks. When the big day arrives you can use an app to calculate the duration and frequency of contractions, and there’s another app that emails family members when you’re going into labour.

There are apps to help dealing with sleepless infants, to monitor feeding and nappy changes, tracking potty training and even translating cries into a series of standardised texts such as: “I’m hungry” or “I’ve got nappy rash” though, apparently, you need at least 30 seconds of crying to get a translation.

There are apps to find public toilets, to monitor your kid’s diet and exercise, help with reading and writing, maths, and social skills. Literally everything is covered, or so it seems.

Now, of course, as the mother of a seven-year-old and 10-year-old (a veteran on the parenting front) I can say: “In my day we didn’t need any of these newfangled devices”.

We relied on taking a peek or applying the old sniff test when it came to deciding whether a nappy change was required. We eventually worked out what our kids’ crying meant, more or less, without the aid of an electronic translator. We didn’t have a toilet finder, so on occasions our kids had to pee behind a bush and, on one particularly pressing occasion, a rubber boot just had to do.

While all this technology is a great help with child rearing, it’s no substitute for getting first-hand advice, especially from trusted sources such as a GP and other health professionals, and from family and friends who have their own experience of raising children.

Recently, I saw two new parents furiously consulting a phone and tablet to work out why their child was crying. When they eventually picked the infant up, they realised all she wanted was a cuddle!

 

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