How Smartwatches Can Make Parenting Easier

I didn’t buy the smartwatch because I thought it could make parenting easier – I bought it because it’s cute and shiny and I love new toys. (I had a Casio calculator watch long before it was popular. Oh wait, it was never popular.) It was fun to tinker with – I can change the watch face and check the weather, and I don’t have to get off the couch anymore. … just see the date. But what surprised me the most was how this little device helps me to be more attentive and less stressful with my children. Here’s how it can be used for good. (Note: I have an Apple Watch, but these features are available on most smartwatches.)

It can free up space on your phone.

When my oldest daughter was six years old, she had an asthma attack at school and they called 911. I missed the call from school because my phone was in another room. Although my daughter was fine, the ensuing fear of missing another important call kept me constantly tied to the phone. However, the closer I held the phone, the more I touched and scrolled; the more I touched and scrolled, the more difficult it became for me to focus or relax, regardless of whether my children were around. Now that I have my watch, I’m not afraid to miss something important and can leave my phone in another room – this is really the only way to mentally disconnect from it. I can further reduce the number of distractions by enabling Do Not Disturb remotely. This way, only phone calls from numbers on my favorites list (my parents, relatives of my husband, sister, girls’ school or summer camp) will ring my wrist. No other calls, messages or notifications go through.

He can calculate your tasks

Setting the timer is easy and I love a good timer. I have set timers to remind me to remove the nuggets from the oven and switch the laundry from the washer to the tumble dryer. I set them up whenever my girls fight over a toy or swing on a swing. (And yes, you can set a timer on your phone, but remember the goal here is to stay away from the damn thing.)

It can make you move

Fitness tracking features inspire and make exercise easier for me. In addition to the built-in trackers, you can download apps to help you prepare for a race, complete a weight lifting program, or pull your dog down. (I myself use the Couch to 10K and YogaGlo .) And the more I exercise , the less nervous I get with my kids.

It can help you fall asleep (or be more careful with yourself when you don’t)

I downloaded an app that monitors my sleep every night, which not only prompts me to go to bed at a reasonable time, but also alerts me when I sleep badly. The visual representation of a crappy night reminds me to lower my expectations for the day, slow down and do as much as possible one thing at a time. All of this reduces the likelihood that I will break, drop, forget, or lose anything, including temper or mind.

It might remind you to breathe

The Breathe app, which guides you through a series of deep breaths, reminds me to stop whatever I’m doing and breathe in and out for a couple of minutes. Focusing on my breathing helps me take my mind off my spinning thoughts and calms me down when I’m feeling stressed. This is especially useful if I’m in a rush or upset with girls.

He can free your hands (which is what you need for parents)

Many smartwatches allow you to pay with a tap of your wrist. You can do this with store-specific apps (Starbucks, anyone?!?) Or Apple Pay, Google Pay, or other similar services. I don’t carry a diaper bag anymore, but I’m not fond of those days at all, and not having to rummage through my wallet while having a fight with an infant and toddler would be amazing.

In addition, a number of applications, including Evernote and OneNote, let you take notes orally. The app decodes your words so you can view them on your phone or computer later when you are not feeding or chasing your baby in the playground.

A smartwatch – or any other device – won’t magically make you a real parent, and it can easily become another distraction. Resist the urge to turn on all notifications. Constant beeps and buzzing will uselessly distract you, negating the purpose of the smartwatch in the first place. And be honest with yourself. If you find that the watch distracts your attention from the kids rather than helping you stay with them , well, give it up. There’s always a Casio calculator watch.


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