Mary Poppins...Supernanny...Nanny McPhee...you have a lot to live up to. You love the kids you watch, but between entertaining, chauffeuring and feeding them, you're exhausted. And we don't blame you!
Technology to the rescue. Your smartphone is a wonderful source of advice for getting organized, finding outing inspirations and taking better care of your little charges. There are tons of fabulous apps out there, but we narrowed the list down to seven that we think will be a huge help to you. And the best part is...they're all free. Share them with the family you work for and your fellow nannies and babysitters -- along with the apps listed in our article on 12 Great Apps for Busy Moms.
Do you want to stand out with the families you work for? Or do you need help organizing those cute pictures and videos you took at the park of the boy you watch? Download Karoo, the mobile app from Care.com that helps parents, caregivers and relatives stay connected and share all the moments of childhood as they happen. (This is the only Care.com plug, we promise!) Once you and your employers create profiles, you can share pictures, videos and updates about what you and the kids are doing. You can easily let parents know everything from what their kids ate for lunch to how long they napped. And your network is private -- only people you share the information with can see it.
Improve the pictures you take of the kids you nanny for with this popular app. During naptime or while you're waiting to pick up the little ones, play around with different effects to make simple photos frame-worthy. And then post them (on Karoo of course!) for your employers to see!
This app from the U.S. Department of Labor makes keeping track of the hours you work simple. Enter how many hours you watched your charge and this system will keep it organized for you. It also calculates how much you earned based on your hours and salary, and lets you write comments about your day. Work for different families? You can create separate lists for each.
Need ideas for healthy meals you can cook for the kids you take care of? This app collects the best recipes from around the Internet all in one place -- top chefs, food magazines and blogs are all represented. You can search by ingredient or diet and find ideas for picky eaters or vegetarian.
Does your brain hurt from trying to keep track of your busy schedule, along with the schedules of the parents you work for, the kids you watch and your own family? Try an app like Schedule Planner. Plot out your day and organize any tasks you need to get done, such as taking kids to the doctor or soccer practice. You can also color code each entry based on whether it's for you, your family or your job.
Never again be stumped when you're out running errands or looking for places to take kids. This app uses your phone's GPS to find and categorize all the places around you: restaurants, drugstores, movie theaters, supermarkets, etc.
It seems like kids get sick at least once a week. With that in mind, this is an app to keep handy. You can check symptoms and make sure a simple sniffle isn't really something more serious. There's also lots of helpful first aid information -- useful when watching kids who have continuously skinned knees.
Tiffany Smith is an associate editor here at Care.com. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story!