Between work, school, activities, appointments and friends, today’s parents are pressed for time – to say the least. Who wouldn’t enjoy shaving some time away from the daily grind? Just having an extra half an hour to spend more time on fun family stuff is probably something we could all use. Here’s a quick list of time-saving gadgets every busy parent should have on hand.
Crockpot or Slow Cooker
Preparing meals can be an incredibly time-consuming process, especially if you have a large family. This means a good slow cooker or crockpot is a must for busy families. These gadgets make it easy to have a hot, nutritious meal ready for dinner without spending hours in the kitchen. For most crockpot recipes, you simply place the ingredients in the cooker, turn it on and go about your day – the food is ready to eat when you are. You can find a good quality crockpot or slow cooker at your favorite retail store or online, with prices ranging from around $30 to $100.
Clutter can be a major time-sucking problem for many families. Often, household clutter revolves around paper – bills and statements, cards, pamphlets, warranties, product instructions, and much more. With a good quality scanner, you can easily digitize and store all your paper clutter on your home computer and get rid of a hard-to-organize mess. A typical good quality document scanner can be found for around $50 or more. There are even smartphone apps available that allow you to quickly scan documents when pressed for time.
Whether you’re a first-time parent or you have a new baby with older siblings, there’s a lot involved in infant care. Fortunately, there are plenty of gadgets to give the busy mom or dad a helping hand. Just a few of these include:
Smart Pacifier: Taking a baby’s temperature can be a real challenge, but you can make it easier with a pacifier that includes a built-in thermometer — finally, something your baby won’t spit out! Some smart pacifiers will even keep track of prior readings so you can monitor your baby’s progress if they are sick.
‘Baby Talk’ App: The Infant Cries Translator app, available for Android or iOS, can help you quickly understand your baby by indicating whether his cries are from hunger, sleepiness, a wet diaper, or pain. While the app is not foolproof, the creators claim an accuracy of 92 percent for babies under two weeks old, and 77 percent through the first four months.
Self-Warming Bottles: For parents on the go, this gadget warms your baby’s bottles using heating cartridges that are filled with salt and water. Simply place the heating cartridge in the bottle, shake gently, and the formula is gently warmed to the right temperature.
Any parent with small children knows keeping things organized often revolves around the effort to corral small toys. Blocks, toy cars, dolls, and action figures, and especially Legos can quickly generate disaster areas that take a long time to clean up. Swoop bags aim to solve that problem, saving you tons of clean-up time (not to mention the pain of stepping on stray Legos).
The Swoop is both a storage bag and a play mat. Simply open the bag fully so your kids can play on the mat, and then ‘swoop’ it around all the toys when playtime is done for easy putting away. The price of this bag is in the $40 to $50 range, and it comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes.
Home Security Apps
For a busy, on-the-go family, home security is an important concern. You can save time and peace of mind with a home security package or app that lets you control your security system from anywhere. Many home security apps like ADT Pulse makes home automation easy and allow you to lock or unlock doors, control lights or small appliances, arm or disarm security systems, receive notifications and alerts remotely – so you can rest assured your home is protected while you’re gone, without having to rush back and make sure you locked the doors.
Maintaining your busy family and household can be difficult, but with a few easy tips and tricks, getting things in order is as easy as 123.