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7 Apps to Help Your Kid Be More Responsible

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By Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media editor

Gnashing my teeth the other day after yet another frustrating morning of badgering/begging my 3-year-old to get dressed/go potty/put on her shoes so we could get out the door even close to on time, I found myself thinking that there had to be a better way. What I needed was something that she found more compelling than making faces at herself in the mirror -- or the hundred other ways she finds to dawdle every day.

Enter the iPhone. My daughter loves any excuse to use my phone or tablet, and I'd heard about morning routine apps, so I started poking around. I found a few likely-looking options in the App Store, but before I laid out any cash, I wanted to see whether the idea would actually work. So, I used an app I already had called AnyList, which my husband and I use to share our weekly grocery shopping roster. I set up a new list just for her that includes all of her morning to-dos, like "Eat breakfast," "Wash hands and face," "Get dressed," etc. Once she completes a task, she "crosses it off."

And she loves it! We've even started using a bedtime one, too, at her request. While this approach hasn't completely revolutionized our routines, the chance to touch the screen to check things off has proven a great way to get her back on task when she starts drifting -- which keeps me a lot calmer. And that, in turn, makes everyone a lot happier.

There's a range of time-management apps that go way beyond basic list-makers. Here are some of our faves.

Time Timer (age 7)
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
This customizable timer app can teach kids time management skills while encouraging them to work efficiently and stay on task.

My Video Schedule (age 7)
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Kids can learn structure, time management and motivation with this scheduling app made especially for kids and adults with special needs.

Timers4Me -- Timer & Stopwatch (age 10)
Android, Kindle Fire
You can use your own ringtones and images with this customizable app for multiple timers, stopwatches and alarms.

TextMinder SMS text reminders (age 12)
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
The everyday sound or vibration of a text message can serve as a one-off or reccurring reminder with this handy tool.

Remember the Milk (age 13)
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Kindle Fire
Teens can use this free task-organizing app to stay on top of everything that needs attention.

Evernote (age 13)
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD
Users can access their notes, images, lists, sounds and links from any device or computer with this fantastic productivity app.

Skitch (age 13)
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Kindle Fire
This Evernote add-on lets kids annotate and share images like maps, web pages, photos, or original sketches.

Do you think tech tools are good for keeping kids on track -- or are they just another distraction?

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