Family life

10 ways the Apple Watch makes life easier for parents

Simplify family meals, track your finances, travel lighter and more—all at your wrist.

It’s easy to write off the Apple Watch as a gadget strictly for tech-lovers or Apple uber-fans, but the timepiece is also pretty useful for parents. In fact, you may be surprised to discover just how much the slick device can do for you. Here are 10 ways the Apple Watch can make your family life a little easier.

1. Take better family photos (that actually include you) Finally, an easy way to get everyone—including yourself!—in your smartphone snapshots. Apple Watch lets you remotely control the camera on your iPhone. Just prop up your phone or place it on a tripod, then gather the family. Once everyone is in place, you can look at your watch to see a live preview of the shot, adjust the focal point and set a timer to ensure everyone has a chance to get in place. When you’re ready to snap the photo, just tap the watch. After the shutter clicks, your family photo will be saved on your iPhone.

2. Simplify family meals Load the Apple Watch with the Kitchen Stories app and you’ll receive inspiration and daily suggestions on what to make for dinner. Use your watch to track your grocery list, or set timers so you never burn or overcook a meal again. And if your meal is a flop, you can always manage a restaurant reservation through the OpenTable app for Apple Watch.

3. Keep track of family finances It’s easy to lose track of your family’s budget—unless, of course, your watch holds you accountable for every dollar you spend. If you bank with Tangerine, you can check your account balances and review transactions right on your wrist. Worried about overspending? Set up an account threshold and receive a notice when you reach your limit.

4. Lighten up Reduce the weight of your purse or wallet by storing gift and loyalty cards directly on your Apple Watch. When you arrive at the checkout, simply raise your wrist and scan your watch. It’s just like having the cards with you—minus the bulk.

5. Stay organized Doctor appointments, soccer practice, dance recitals—there’s a lot running through a parent’s mind at any given time. The Apple Watch can help keep even the busiest family on schedule. The built-in Calendar app helps you plan your day by displaying your schedule right on your wrist. Reminders pop up throughout the day, ensuring nothing will fall through the cracks.


6. Be connected without pulling your phone out You want to focus solely on the kids, but you’re waiting for an important call or email. Every parent's been there. The Apple Watch notifies you of incoming messages right on your wrist, preventing you from having to constantly pull your phone out of your purse or pocket to check it. You can respond to texts with your voice or return a call even if your phone is tucked away.

7. Get more control of your kids’ tablet time More and more, kids are watching videos on tablets and smartphones, and that’s fine—in moderation. The Apple Watch gives you added control of your kids’ screen time via the PlayKids app. When you’d like your kids to take a break, you can stop the video using your Apple Watch. You can also send custom messages to your kids, featuring a cute cartoon character, letting them know it’s time to brush their teeth or go to bed.

8. Plan a better family vacation The Apple Watch can help you discover amazing family activities when you're travelling. Launch Trip Advisor on the Apple Watch and find nearby attractions, restaurants and hotels. Navigate city streets with ease using the Maps app, which gives turn-by-turn directions to your destinations as you travel. And if you're staying at a Starwood Hotels and Resorts property, you can even use the watch to unlock your room door.

9. Get more active The Apple Watch monitors your movements throughout the day, tracking not just the quantity of your activities, but the intensity as well. Using a heart-rate sensor and accelerometer, it provides an accurate summary of your daily activities and workouts. The watch also notifies you when you’ve been sitting for a bit too long and (gently) encourages you to get up. Time for that post-dinner family walk!

10. Improve your cool quotient (maybe) Sure, you know all the words to “Let it Go,” but what about the lyrics to your kids’ other favourite songs? The Shazam app for Apple Watch prompts your iPhone to start listening to a song being played. Once your iPhone identifies the song, it will begin displaying lyrics in real time on your Apple Watch. Your kids will be super-impressed that you know all the words to their favourite songs. (Well, that or totally mortified.)


Apple Watch is available for sale on April 24, 2015, and will retail for $449 and up.

This article was originally published on Apr 21, 2015

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