Health Apps for Families
Luckily, a growing number of online and mobile tools can help.
Some are aimed at parents who must manage the never-ending paperwork and health records of little patients. Others make it fun for kids to learn about the value of exercising and eating healthy foods. And still others tackle challenges, such as teaching healthy sleep habits, developing resilience and staying active.
Here are some of the latest tech tools to help your family be healthy, happy and fit.
Kinsights. Free. Online. kinsights.com
Kinsights offers a place for parents to keep track of their health records online, as well as turn to the parenting community to ask questions and seek advice. Parents can fill out their child’s medical records on the site, including immunization history, medical prescriptions, growth statistics and developmental milestones, so it’s all in one place online. They can also use the forum to ask other parents questions, such as how to manage food allergies and how to remedy diaper rash.
MomAssembly. Free to $59 per course. Online. www.momassembly.com
Don’t have time to read another parenting book? Turn to a short video instead. Created by the authors of “The Sleepeasy Solution,” MomAssembly publishes online video tutorials for parents. As expected, teaching healthy sleep habits is heavily featured in its catalog of courses, but others include tackling sibling rivalry, coping with postpartum depression and potty training. Each course comes with a series of video lessons, each about 10 minutes long.
MotherKnows. Starting at $9.95 per month per child. Online and iPhone. secure.motherknows.com/home
MotherKnows helps parents keep their child’s health records at their fingertips – without having to lift too many fingers. Once you give the website your child’s information and permission to contact the physician, MotherKnows collects the data and stores it online. Parents can easily look up immunization history, medications and other health records wherever they are – such as when they are out of town and suddenly find themselves in the emergency room.
FOR KIDS. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame. Free. iPhone/iPad, Android, Amazon Kindle. www.sesamestreet.org/parents/apps
One of Sesame Street’s furry blue monsters helps preschoolers learn good practices for handling life’s frustrating moments, from waiting in line to struggling to do something independently. Children interact with the furry blue monster, helping him take slow, deep breaths to calm down and popping bubbles as he brainstorms ideas to cope with the challenge. The app was introduced late last year as part of a Sesame Street initiative to teach young children resilience, and is available in both English and Spanish.
Eat-&-Move-O-Matic. Free. iPhone/iPad. www.4-h.org/youth-development-programs/kids-health/programming-resources/health-nutrition-fitness/youth-voice/eat-move-o-matic/
Feel like eating a hot dog? It will take 33 minutes of running to burn off all 242 calories. A medium bag of popcorn at the movie theaters? It has 720 calories, which means dancing for two hours and 37 minutes or swimming for two hours and six minutes. Eating broccoli, on the other hand, translates into an easy eight minutes of jogging. Developed by a youth program supported by 4-H and the Walmart Foundation, the Eat-&-Move-O-Matic is a fun, interactive way for older children to see the correlation between different foods and activities. Just spin the wheel of popular things to eat, from a granola bar to macaroni and cheese, and see how it matches up with your favorite activities, from doing homework to jumping on a trampoline.
The Adventures of SuperStretch. Free. Online and iPhone/iPad. www.adventuresofsuperstretch.com
One of many apps to teach children yoga, the Adventures of SuperStretch blends the fun of a caped cartoon instructor and videos of real children demonstrating yoga poses. The 12 exercises are easy enough for the youngest yogi to learn, such as the downward dog and the tree pose, and come with easy-to-follow instructions. There’s increasing interest in how yoga can help children develop mindfulness and focus. If you can’t attend a class, an app such as this one, could be your next best thing.
Ellen Lee is a local parent and writes frequently about technology for Bay Area Parent.