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Parenting Essentials – 5 apps for babies and beyond

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Parenting is tough, and an iPhone won’t change that – even if you child-proof it and fill it with the best toddler-suitable games.

But if you have a baby or young child, the following parenting apps can at least make certain aspects of your life easier, from sleep aids to entertainment ideas to development tracking.

So without further ado, here are five of the best apps for parents.

The Wonder Weeks ($4.99/£4.49)

There’s a reason this is the best-selling baby app in the world. The Wonder Weeks tracks your little one’s development across ten mental “leaps” starting from the day they’re born. The insights and advice here, delivered on schedule right when you need them, are invaluable to a new parent. Armed with the knowledge of what to expect at every stage of development, you’ll know exactly how to nurture new skills and when to prepare for an upcoming extra-difficult week.

The Wonder Weeks

BabySparks (subscription)

Planning the right activities and playing the right games can have a hugely positive effect on a young child’s development. But knowing what the “right” experiences are isn’t always easy, and coming up with new things to do every single day can get stale fast. BabySparks offers a customized program of activities for 0-3 year olds to reinforce brain development and nurture growth. They’re fun too, with instructional videos for every activity. You get a handful of activities free but will need to subscribe (from $29.99/year) for full access.


Luna Baby Monitor (free)

Baby monitors can be expensive, and even if you have a good one at home, it’s not always convenient to take it with you when traveling. Enter Luna, a smart app that can turn two Apple devices into a safe, secure, and reliable baby monitor you can use anywhere to listen to or watch your baby remotely. The app keeps running even in the background, and will automatically notify you if the baby wakes up. The core functions are free, with a one-off IAP to unlock a few extra nice-to-haves. Read our Luna guide for more details.


Dark Noise ($9.99/£8.99)

A good baby monitor’s all well and good, but it doesn’t help with the harder part – getting your child to sleep in the first place. Background sounds often help, and while there are plenty of free ways to play white noise we’d recommend shelling out for a premium app instead. The last thing you want is your peaceful audio interrupted by a blaring advert, or a white noise track becoming your most-played song in Apple Music or Spotify, messing up your recommendations. Dark Noise is the best in the biz, with simple controls, a ton of sounds, and the ability to build up custom soundscapes.

Dark Noise

YouTube Kids (free)

We all know it’s best to limit kids’ screen time, especially at a very young age. But the reality is that sometimes you have no choice but to put something on for five minutes while you cram in seventeen different chores. So it’s best to be prepared with the right app to avoid “bad” screen time. There’s a ton of great content for kids available free on YouTube, but the app is also filled with all kinds of unsuitable videos and adverts – so grab YouTube Kids instead, a safer way to explore everything the internet has to offer. Here, you can pre-approve specific videos or choose an age category and let the app pick suitable content.

YouTube Kids