Bottom Line: Useful, easy to set-up addition to tired parents' arsenal of tools to get their babies to sleep. Worth a look.
If Adam Mansbach's book Go the F to Sleep could top the New York Times Bestseller list for weeks and Samuel L. Jackson's amazingly funny dramatic reading of the book can get over a million views on YouTube, then getting kids to sleep is obviously an issue for some parents. Developer Street Art Advertising Limited has created an app to help with the problem. Lullaby Me will hopefully spare tender young ears an overtired parent's ill-timed F bomb with its collection of classic lullabies, instrumentals, and ambient sounds.
This $0.99 app is simple and easy to use. Parents can create a customized playlist for multiple children from the included music, which is good for moms like me and SAFK's Deanne who both have twins. There are 24 instrumental versions of childhood classics like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Brahms Lullaby. Most of the selections were ones with which I was familiar but a few I was not. I'm not sure if these tunes come from other countries, but I do think the app should include a wider selection of culturally diverse music. I used to sing Frere Jacque to my boys in three different languages when putting them to sleep.
In addition to the instrumentals, parents can select from 12 vocal performances and 10 soothing sounds for their children. The vocal tracks are all sung acapella and some are sung in the round. I certainly can't pull that off, but for parents who want to give it a try, there is a record lullaby feature. The app works like a little Karaoke machine with lyrics scrolled across the bottom as the music plays. This feature would be significantly better if more than three tunes were included and parents could record any of their favorites, even if there were no accompanying music and lyrics. Grandma always sings prayers when she puts my boys to sleep so that would be a nice option for this app to have included.
Once parents create a playlist which can be mixed and matched from all categories, they set up a play routine. The app includes a timer for how long the lullabies should play. It also has a built-in nightlight feature so that the phone display will stay on for as long as the music plays.
The primary drawback to this app's usefulness as a sleep aid is that it ties up an iPhone. The developer helpfully reminds parents to silence the phone ringer or go to airplane mode before using, but many people, my husband included, could not part with their phone or silence it every night even if it helped soothe their baby. An iPad or iPod Touch would be far better ideas for use.
Users should note that Lullaby Me does not work on an older iPhone or 1st or 2nd Gen Touch as they lack microphones. Also, the app is oddly classified as Medical so if you go searching for it in the future, it may be hiding in there with Gray's Anatomy and other medical texts which are excellent sleep aids for adults.
If you want to purchase Lullaby Me ($0.99 iPhone/iPad) please support Smart Apps for Kids by using the following link:
Jill Goodman swaddled her twins in cashmere blankets, rocked then to sleep in her arms, and lay them on heirloom linens in their antique cradles . . . in her dreams. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.