Daycare and Kindergarten Apps make Parent-Involvement a Breeze

The dreaded, "what did you do at at school today?" is a staple of parent-child relations and frustrations. As a teenager, I rarely remember giving much in the form of an answer, except for good grades or the ever-appreciated teenage gossip. I do remember having good communication skills in middle school. When learning was an adventure, sharing with your parents brought that initial joy of discovery back home. What's a parent to do when their child is too young to grasp broad concepts, yet old enough to want to convey their daily exploits?

Apps released in recent years tackle this initiative by offering parents a glimpse into the day in the life of their children. Catching up to the likes of other photo and video sharing services, apps like HiMama and Tadpole give interested parties the opportunity to share in a way not previously available. Each of the apps has different features for parents and caregivers/schools.

HiMama FB
Starting in 2012, the founders of Toronto-based HiMama came together with the idea of effectively capturing childhood. By harnessing the organic interactions between children and caregivers or parents, HiMama "[combines] modern technology with long-standing simple pleasures, like hearing about someone's day or seeing a fun photo." Thus, HiMama software became a reality. On one end, for parents, the app acts as a journal of sorts where a child's favorite things, personal milestones and photos/videos can be saved online for a nostalgic review later down the line. Real-time media exchanges, sharing capabilities, and access to daycare information (menus, reports, photos, calendar events) are icing on this free cake.

Conversely, schools pay $29/month per class for attendance management, scheduling, developmental guidelines, interactive training and customer service, in addition to the communication with parents. The added bonus to this service is the cost saved on printing and paper! With user numbers somewhere around 100,000, HiMama has overwhelmingly positive reviews online and is available on both iOS and Android.

Tadpoles' service, based out of Bethesda, MD operates similarly to HiMama when it comes to parent and caregiver functions, stressing the savings on paper and time. However, they've streamlined their business model by choosing to operate only on iPad or iPod Touch. In limiting their capabilities to two devices, the company knows "exactly how each device will perform for the teacher in the classroom" down to the battery capabilities for a day's use. Opting for a safety-focused app, Tadpoles shows the headcount for each classroom, facilitates immediate contact with parents, and allows directors to take care of administrative tasks, all in real-time.

Tadpoles costs $2.25/month per child and is free for parents. While the app is restricted to iPad and iPod Touch for in-school use, the information gathered including online profiles, teacher interactions, and journal-like memories are available to parents on both iOS and Android or, for those without a smartphone, through email.

Word spreads like wildfire through the realm of parenthood, especially when a service is offered one place but is lacking elsewhere. Honestly though, how could parents not jump at this service? Each service provides an informal method of communication which promotes parent input and investment. 

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