A new app from What To Do With The Kids® is in the final stages of production following the work done by the Mobile Application students at Ottawa’s Algonquin College and will now launch a Funding Campaign to hire a seasoned professional to finish the project in time for its release this summer.
SitterAdvantage is an app designed for sitters, nannies, youth workers and teachers that will be used to keep the kids happy and entertained without electronics while providing access to emergency help in the palm of their hands.
The SitterAdvantage Funding campaign features rewards designed for sitters and nannies including flyers and business cards designed to help them get more jobs. Our largest rewards feature our What To Do With The Kids® Creativity Programs held (almost) anywhere in the United States and Canada. A video featuring all of the rewards offered in this Funding Campaign can be found on our website.
What To Do With The Kids® is the website that adults go to when they want to know what to do with their kids. The site features games, crafts, activities, party ideas, downloads, directories, product reviews and articles of interest to parents. The website is based on my self-published book of the same name and comes from my years as a youth counselor and program director with the local Boys and Girls Club and as a stay-at-home dad for the past 16 years.
Soon after the website’s expansion and re-launch in 2011, WTDWTK started to develop the idea of encouraging sitters and nannies to offer kids something different to keep them busy. These “traditional” or “old fashion” activities encourage kids to use their brains and/or be physically active which seems to have been replaced by watching television, playing video games and staring at hand-held devices.
There are many babysitting courses available but many do not provide more than just the basics. Most people who do babysit have never taken any type of training and therefore must rely on their instincts and experience at all times. We originally developed a number of checklists that sitters could refer to that would help them be better prepared along with an emergency page that sitters could print and fill with important information in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a popular feature.
With two teenage girls at home, it didn’t take long for me to realize that smart phones had become a permanent fixture with teens and that putting all of this information in an app would be the ideal way to reach sitters and nannies. It was also an opportunity to add additional features and so after a few months of writing and designing, SitterAdvantage was born.
SitterAdvantage allows the sitter or nanny to enter important information about the parents, their contact information and their address. Information about the kids is also entered which includes any allergies or handicaps and disabilities they may have which can be vital in the event of a medical emergency. The photo feature allows the sitter to take a picture of the kid as part of their profile and can be used by the authorities if the kid goes missing.
Many parents give instructions that must be followed before they leave and the task features allows the sitter to enter and schedule them in the app. These tasks may include bed times or more important items such as when medication must be given.
It was also extremely important to create a feature that would allow the sitter to easily contact the authorities and to have important information available immediately.
Each screen has an emergency icon that when selected, opens the emergency page. An icon with “Call 911“ can then be selected and allows the smart phone to automatically dial for help and place the call on speaker mode. Information about the address and the parent’s name and contact information is also displayed on the page. Information about the kids is also available in their profile if needed.
If the sitter is away from the home with the kids and may not know exactly where they are, the “Find my Location” icon uses the smart phone’s GPS to pinpoint where they are so that emergency help can find them.
The resources section features links to checklists that are designed to help the sitter before and during the job. These checklists include: what to ask before you accept a job; what you need to prepare for a job; and what to look for when you arrive at a job.
SitterAdvantage also has direct links to What To Do With The Kids so that they can find just the right game, craft or activity that they can use to entertain the kids. Most of these games do not require any equipment and most of the crafts use items found around the home. Since they don’t use electronics or screens of any kind, the kids may think it’s a revolutionary way of playing.
The app is almost complete and the students at Algonquin College having done a lot of work in taking some drawings and a concept and turning it into a program. Their program is now over and they are off to start their careers but there is a bit of programming and testing left to do. The SitterAdvantage Funding campaign will allow us to hire a professional to complete the project and bring it to market during the summer of 2016.
If you have any questions about SitterAdvantage or What To Do With The Kids, feel free to visit us at WhatToDoWithTheKids.com/.