As a full-time working and part-time traveling mother of two young children, I am always looking for and receptive of ideas to help make my life less insane. The past several months have been especially chaotic as my husband has taken on a new position with his company, which requires him to work an obscene amount of hours per week. So, my free time has become even more limited. That’s the downside. The upside is that, because of my husband’s new position, we have greater financial freedom. That means we can travel more, and now I don’t think twice about paying a babysitter for a few hours here and there so I can attend media events or go to my banjo lessons. I even enlisted our family’s babysitter for several days when I was in Knoxville and then when Mom and I were in Philadelphia. I was slightly anxious about leaving both kids for a few days in a row with someone other than my husband or the grandparents. Nothing against our sitter; she is fantastic! But with school, extracurricular activities, speech therapy… taking care of my kids can be overwhelming.
Shortly before I left for Knoxville, I was introduced to a new app called Little Peanut On The Go. It was created by a fellow working mom named Karla Lemmon and is designed to help parents stay organized and connected when they, their children, or their whole family is away from home. With Little Peanut on the Go, I can create packing lists for when the whole family is traveling together and build care lists for when I’m traveling and the kids are home with a sitter. I found myself in the latter scenario more than once and Little Peanut on the Go helped me to feel more at ease about the care my children would receive while I was traveling.
So, how does it work? After downloading the app from the Apple Store or Google Play, parents should create their own profiles in the “Family Setup” section of the app. Parents should also enter emergency contact info in this section, as well as their family’s doctors and contact information.
Next, add the kids’ profiles by choosing “portraits” and colors. This feature is especially helpful for families with more than one child. I have two of my own children and, for a few days each week after school, we’re also responsible for my 5-year-old niece. Therefore, I set up three separate profiles for the kids and having their own little color-coded avatars really made it easy to keep track of who should be doing what. Now it’s time to set up the plans. On the Main Menu, go to “Planning Guide” and choose the appropriate type of plan for your family. So far I’ve had to use only the “A Sitter” plan and that’s where I outlined everything for my sitter, from morning before-school routine to directions to the practice soccer field. One feature I especially appreciate is the ability to share the plans I’ve created with my sitter. There are options here, too: the caregiver can also download the app and plans can be shared within the app; or, if your caregiver chooses not to download the app, you can still share the plans via email. We used the latter feature with our sitter. She found it to be very helpful and now expects the plan to be shared with her via email whenever she is taking care of the kids.
Little Peanut on the Go is ideal for families on the go, and that includes traveling families. I plan to use it for as long as we’re traveling and – well, we hope to be traveling for a long time to come.