Online resources for parents

In honor of Father's Day, we take a look at resources on the Web to help parents.

Father's Day is Sunday, which means that it's time to celebrate Dad. He and Mom most likely raised you with the help of relatives, babysitters, and teachers, as well as a few books, toys, and TV programs. These days, however, there are also a variety of online resources designed to make good parenting a little bit easier.

From finding nannies to keeping children occupied, there's a site for any parent in this roundup.

Parent resources

Babble Soft After you sign up for Babble Soft, you're brought to your home page, which allows you to input information about you and your child. The site also asks you to input your baby's caretakers, including their name and relation so you have everything you need to identify them.

The software's Baby Insights page is fantastic. Whenever someone feeds your baby, puts your child down for a nap, or gives them medicine, they can put that information into the online software. You can then access that from work to see if your children are getting what they need. Parents can also run reports to see how much their babies are sleeping, how much they've been eating, and more. Those reports give you a full printout of exactly what's been going on in your child's life. Babble Soft is an outstanding tool. It's just too bad it costs $37.95 for 12 months after a free trial.

Babble Soft
Babble Soft lets you track your child's activities no matter where you are. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

BabyCenter BabyCenter provides you with help as your children grow from a newborn to a "Big Kid." When you sign up for the site, you'll find a variety of articles providing guidance on raising your children at different stages in their lives. Most of the articles are worth reading and offer some great insight.

But the real value of BabyCenter is the community. The BabyCenter Community allows you to chat with other parents who are going through the same experience of raising their children. You can get support for issues, give advice to other parents, or simply post questions you're curious about. Since the site has a social element, you can also make friends with other parents and discuss things with them privately. It's a great service.

BabyCenter
BabyCenter lets you make friends with other parents. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Care Care is basically a search engine that helps you find babysitters, nannies, tutors, pet caretakers, or housekeepers in your area. The people providing that service list their expertise. In their listing, the service providers give information about themselves, how they can be contacted, and after registering for the site, you can also get in touch with their references.

Care
Care helps you find nannies in no time. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Disney Family The Disney Family Community page is a fine resource for building a network of parents to communicate with. After you sign up, you can immediately start adding friends or create groups of friends to discuss parenting. The site will also let you share experiences with other parents in its forums. The Disney Family page has a big, engaged community. It's definitely worth joining.

Disney Family
Disney Family lets you join groups that relate to you. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Parenthood Like BabyCenter, Parenthood provides a variety of informative articles to help parents. From topics such as pregnancy to stay-at-home dads, any parent should find something to like on the site. But the site's Community is where it provides the most value. You'll be able to discuss parenting issues, determine if a nanny is worth hiring, and more. Most parents on the site are active and quickly respond to your questions.

Parenthood also has a directory where parents can search for service providers, like nannies, babysitters, and housekeepers. Other parents review those services to give you some insight into whether you should use them. It's a great way to find people in your area who would be trustworthy.

Parenthood
Parenthood has some neat tools to help parents. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Parents R People Parents R People is a social network for parents to compare notes on child rearing, finding doctors, having a good marriage, and more.

After signing up, I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the site. You'll find information on a slew of topics. One of the best features on the site is its reviews--whether you're looking for a good nanny in your area or trying to find a new pediatrician for your kids. The site will also let you communicate with other parents, so you can get help or give help as parenting troubles arise. It's a great service.

Parents R People
Parents R People gives parents great advice. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Sharefam Sharefam is a place where parents can bring their family members and children into a private social network to share memories and communicate. You can add photos of your family, create events that everyone can attend, and tell the family story, so your children know about their heritage. The site also provides you with private messaging, so you can quickly send messages to other family members. To ensure you don't miss any birthdays or special events, Sharefam also offers a calendar that will alert you when an event is coming up. I really liked Sharefam. I think it's a great way to bring a family together.

Sharefam
Sharefam lets you share special family moments online. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Tumblon Tumblon helps parents remember the important milestones in their child's life. Once you sign up, the site lets you input special moments on your "Family Blog." You can also track your child's development, upload photos, and add videos to your profile for anyone to see. Unfortunately, Tumblon's free version only allows you to upload 50 photos and two videos. Its paid version, which costs $7 per month, lets you upload an unlimited number of photos and videos. That might turn some away, but I liked the free version. It's definitely worth trying out.

Tumblon
Tumblon helps you express your thoughts on parenting. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. Babble Soft: Track everything in your child's life.

2. Tumblon: What's better than remembering the special moments?

3. Parenthood: With a great parent support group, Parenthood is a fine resource for parents.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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