By Melissa Fiorenza

When my husband and I toured daycares nearly three years ago, every center said the same thing, “You will receive a handwritten daily report at pick-up.” However there was one other place that stood out. One hi-tech daycare offered an online program we could access all day. Essentially, we wouldn’t have to wait until 5 p.m. to get our son’s scribbled up daily report because we could check up on him in real time. For that reason and many others, we chose that center. I thought the software was the coolest thing until they released a mobile version. Now, it’s even better.

As a working mom, a mobile app for daycare is a no-brainer—one of those how-did-we-function-before-this-?!?! things that makes life so much easier and more comforting. Here’s why…

It makes me feel connected to my kids. In between meetings or during lunch, I love that I’m able to check the app on my phone and see what my kids have been up to. Their teachers often utilize the app to send us heart-melting pics of our littles smiling out on the playground, or thorough notes about what they learned at circle time that day, what they painted, what books they read, or what songs they sang. For working moms, the struggle is real. But having details about their day in my hand makes me feel closer to them.

It’s practical. On any given day, my husband is out and about for meetings and sometimes I’m running errands at lunch. If for some reason we aren’t able to check the mobile app, the pop-up messages telling us that our 6-month-old will need a new supply of diapers or wipes tomorrow—or that our son will need a plain, white T-shirt next week for Tie-Dye day—are super convenient. We don’t have to wait until the end of the day to find out. If we’re somewhere near a Target (or there already), perfect! We can grab them and keep moving through the day.

It’s reassuring and helpful. When a parent wants to know what they’re in for that night after work, the million-dollar question for many of us is: did they nap today? No matter if I’m at my desk or on the go, the app enables me to check to see if they snoozed (and for how long) and how well they ate. Call me crazy, but getting notifications throughout the day whenever their diaper was just changed reminds me that they’re in good hands! At other centers, this is information most parents receive in that handwritten note at the end of the day. But clarity combined with real-time access does a lot for us—and not surprisingly, we often hear from friends that they wished their daycares had the same.

The fact that our daycare invests money into something that makes parents—and their teachers—more connected reminds me that I made the right choice. If you’re a parent or a daycare provider, please check out this app. But beware: it’s just as addictive as Instagram.

Melissa Fiorenze

Melissa Fiorenza is a writer, author, and ever-worrying mom with two kids in daycare. She has been published on Prevention.com, in Health Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, and All You Magazine among others. She currently works full-time at a higher education marketing agency in Troy, New York.