When you're parenting young children, some days, it feels like you're barely keeping your head above water.
I call the period of parenting kids under the age of 3 "the tunnel: due to the physical and mental exhaustion at the end of a day. It's physical exhaustion from following them so they won't fall on their head from the climbing castle at the park, and mental exhaustion from never being able to finish a sentence or a job you're in the middle of. In my experience, you start seeing the light when toddlers become more physically independent around 3 years.
Don't get me wrong; parenting has been the most fulfilling and joyful job of my life.
But even the best of us at times need survival techniques. Used in moderation with time limits applied, mobile apps can become a blessed parenting tool, providing 15 minutes silence in the car, restaurant or airplane; an effective distraction technique at the hairdresser's when you risk the barber walking out on the job cause your kid's moving around like a trout protesting at the scissors near his eyes; or a reward for good behavior.
Parenting books will tell you not to use TV as a babysitter, but I'm a parent of two highly spirited boys and I admit that at times, we need it and when there's no TV, we need our mobiles phones. When both our kids were under 5, we used to take our tablets to a restaurant on occasion just so we could stay seated and talk to each other for the first time in days.
I fill my iPad with good quality, safe educational apps for kids that stimulate their imagination. When you're satisfied the games your little ones are playing on your mobile are healthy and time restrictions are applied, mobile apps can become an effective parenting tool that help lift your head a little higher out of the occasionally turbulent waters of parenting.
Follow Catriona Wallis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/catrionawallis