Free Parenting Tools

parents reading to child - free parenting tools

The best things in life are free, but children and their upkeep do not fall into that category. Simply the cost of their food and clothing (never mind their entertainment) makes them a big expense. Fortunately, we live in a time of digital access to resource guides that can help with a lot of their care. Kids really are the apex of the “best things” pile and, with the right tools, you can build yourself some time to actually just enjoy being a parent.

Tools to Get Organized

Of all the tools in your parenting toolbox, your calendar is your best friend. Paper or digital, you can’t do without it. It informs and organizes, reminding us of all those appointments, meetings and deadlines we simply cannot miss. In addition, because of all these services it performs, it offers us peace of mind. 

Life with children gets ridiculously busy. A calendar provides a structured schedule; a bird’s eye view of how the next stretch of your time will shape up. 

Perhaps the most popular digital calendar is the free one offered by Google. It is part of the apps package included when you sign up for a free email account, and it is simply marvellous. After setting up your own calendar, you can add separate calendars for each household member and colour code them. Then you can share individual events or your entire calendar with whoever needs to know its contents. 

Your child (and you) can check it to stay on top of homework, chores and family events. Best of all, Google calendar sets reminders that you can tailor to your family’s needs. Learn how to make the most out of this essential tool in this easy to follow video tutorial by Teacher’s Tech. 

Another great resource is your municipality’s calendar. It’s not just for checking holiday garbage pickup anymore—in it you’ll find free family-oriented events year round, often with links to the event’s description so you can decide well in advance if it’s a good one for you and your crew. Roadworks, civic holidays and municipal government meetings will all appear here so you can plan your daily life to best advantage.

Your child’s school’s calendar is also a must have in your digital reference library. Don’t rely on your kids to tell you thingsthey won’t, and not just because they’re being secretive. Students have had enough of school by the time they get home. The school calendar is a much more reliable reminder about that upcoming parent-teacher meeting. 

Superimpose your work calendar over the school calendar to find problematic overlaps well in advance of the date. Future you will be very grateful. 

Co-Parenting Tools

man and woman sitting on street curb with baby - free parenting tools

Apps developer Andrew Lancaster has gathered a curated bundle of the best free co-parenting apps out there today. Perhaps the most valuable among them is the Easy Parent Communication Plan from  

The premise of this app is that all communication is writtenno phone calls or in-person chats. This approach keeps a common shared history on the record and gives each party time to consider their words before sharing them. This practice will lead to the app’s main goal: conflict-free co-parenting with no drama and no ensuing collateral damage. It works even with just one parent signing up and adopting the plan’s structured communication style.

Clear, business-like writing is required, as is sharing the outcome of those communications with your child, who is the main party impacted by parental decisions. The app also encourages respecting the authority of each parent while the child is in their custody, supporting cross over activities and stopping arguments in favour of agreeing to disagree or going through mediation to find a solution. 

Healthcare Resources

One of the biggest worries you have as a parent is the health and well-being of your children. You want them to be happy and carefree, but this will not always be the case. When something isn’t right, accessing the appropriate healthcare resources in a timely fashion is the next natural step to take, but not all parents have the same ability to do so. 

In the United States, access to healthcare (and the quality of that healthcare) is governed mainly by income. The wealthy stay healthy and the poorer must make do with whatever they can afford. To offset this inequity, various organizations have set up programs to help out lower income families. Go online and research what is available in your area using “free” and “subsidized” as keywords. 

Free mental health resources are becoming more prevalent as awareness grows around the topic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that as of March, 2021, 9.4% of U.S. children aged 2-17 years have received an ADHD diagnosis; 7.4% of children aged 3-17 years have been diagnosed with a behavioral problem; 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years have been diagnosed with anxiety and 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years have been diagnosed with depression. 


Seek treatment if your child’s behaviour is affected to the point of causing serious changes in their learning, everyday interactions or handling of emotions. The first step is talking with their primary healthcare provider, most likely your family doctor. You can also use the links below for guidance:

In the USA: 

In Canada: 

Fitness and Activity Resources

General healthcare can be costly, so prevention is your best approach. Eat healthy, stay active and avoid junk food and poor oral hygiene, both of which lead to a host of health problems.

Happily, staying active can be done for free. With a little imagination, fitness can even be fun. Check out this list from to get your family moving. Or pick and choose from this list of wellness apps put out by Hello magazine to keep your crew on track.

Don't Forget the Library

A library card for each member of your household will unlock a treasure trove of resources, from the internet to tool loan privileges to a safe, quiet place for your kids to do their homework. Each local library offers different free programs and resources, so check yours out to learn what’s available.

Parenthood can be daunting and feel quite isolating at times, and a work-life balance impossible to find. Absolutely every parent or guardian has felt this more than once. Do not despairsolutions are sometimes just a click or three away.

Written by Jane Thornton

Feature image: Andrea Piacquadio; Image 1: Katie E


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