Parenting Made Easier (+ More Awesomely Nerdy) via the WeeSchool App
Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with WeeSchool. All opinions about WeeSchool being awesome for sleep-deprived parent data nerds are, of course, my own.
Also, I highly recommend you download the WeeSchool App here by June 1 and you can register for free, lifetime access to all premium WeeSchool content and features. Because hello, free awesome stuff is extra awesome!
Psychology students typically dread Statistics 101, but it was in this course that I discovered my love for the logic and rigor of data collection and analysis. I loved it so much that I even took the (even more dreaded by psychology students) Advanced Statistics course in college, then followed with a Master’s, Ph.D., and postdoctoral fellowship -- all replete with data nerd opportunities! This sounds somewhat demented but the systematic nature of data collection and analysis really works for my brain, whereas grand theorizing, not so much.
And while I’m no longer an academic, I still love data. My appreciation for data collection led me to document every poop, pee, and nursing session with precision when Laurel was a baby. It’s what led me to track Laurel’s milestones so I could be ready with the information when the pediatrician asked at well visits (give me my gold star, pediatrician!). It’s what propelled me to collect data and plot graphs about the tooth fairy’s going rate.
And then, well, I had a second child and my energy for data collection went out the window. I wanted to do it, but when Violet was a baby, I was back to work full-time within a few weeks of delivery and this included writing a book and also traveling across the country (and, in one case, across the globe to Ethiopia). No joke, even the simple task of finding a pen that worked and a piece of paper was hard.
So when I recently learned about the WeeSchool App, my immediate reaction was OMG this is exactly what sleep-deprived parent data nerds need! I would have loved to have this app when Violet was a baby because I can’t even count the number of times her pediatrician asked me about milestones and I would sit there desperately trying to remember what things happened when. I may or may not have used Facebook and Instagram photos to try to jog my memory.
So what’s the deal with WeeSchool? It’s a new app that helps parents encourage healthy baby development and also offers a great way to track milestones. From the creator of Baby Einstein, Julie Clark, this app is brilliant in that: 1) it’s loaded with all sorts of fantastic content for education and entertainment, and 2) it’s a helpful tool for parents, and parents always have their phone with them. Simply download the app (do so before June 1 and it’s free; the app is currently only available for iPhone but the Android build is forthcoming), enter your kid(s) name and birthday and you are ready to go. Here’s what you can do with the app:
1. Track milestones
The Milestone Tracker serves up research-based tips to encourage your child’s development through 117 key milestones in the categories: social, self-help, language, fine motor, and gross motor. When your child hits a milestone, you can check it off and upload a photo if you like (and also easily share via email, text, or Facebook). The app also offers reminders; for example, if your child doesn’t hit a milestone, there’s a no-pressure reminder the next month, and eventually a reminder in case you’d like to mention it to your pediatrician. (Or, you can adjust your settings to turn off these notifications.) There’s also a milestone log that you can print out to bring to your pediatrician. SO HANDY!
2. Entertainment and education
Educational entertainment is made easy! WeeSchool includes original videos, classical music tunes, a catalog of original ebooks, and soundtracks and soundscapes to support play time, bath time, and bed time.
3. Smart activities
Not sure what to do beyond tummy time? WeeSchool offers parents lots of activities to teach and support their kids in really easy ways. The app also integrates product recommendations. For example, a press and go inchworm toy can be used to help teach kids about cause and effect (hold it down then release to make the inchworm go). And the app will serve up ideas for how to use the same toy across different concepts to help you get more bang for your buck.
In addition to tracking milestones, if you simply want to capture memories you can do so in the Journal. The app will automatically file your monthly photos and your milestones photos and videos into journals you can share with friends and family, or export to save them.
5. A curated toy shop
As I mentioned earlier, WeeSchool integrates a select number of educational toys into its plans. There currently are 43 toys recommended across all the 0-3 Play Plans and you can shop by month, Play Plan, or by the toys featured in a given video. The app pushes product recommendations to Amazon and many of the picks are wooden and inexpensive.
6. Help developing routines
Routines are key for kids and WeeSchool also includes elements to assist in routine development. WeeSleep is a sleep tracker that lets you keep track of when your baby is sleeping and waking in night, and turns music on when your baby wakes to help encourage self soothing. WeeBathe is a video series to help encourage bathtime.
In a nutshell, WeeSchool is a fantastic resource to help parents encourage development and find entertainment right from the convenience of their phone. Whether or not you identify as a parent data nerd, you can’t knock the ease of recording milestones and memories -- both for your personal enjoyment and so you’re prepared at your next pediatrician visit! Go on and download WeeSchool by June 1 and you can register for free, lifetime access to all Premium WeeSchool content and features! After June 1, 2017, the app will be paid.