Hitting the Ground Running: Tech Tips to Help Your Kids Start the School Year Right

Do you hear that? It’s school bells ringing in the distance… the first day of school will be here before you know it. While back­-to-­school can be an exciting time filled with new adventures and possibilities, it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year for both parents and kids.

A 2014 survey done by Zulily, a retailer focused on all things for moms and kids, found the cost of back-­to-­school shopping topping the list of stresses for parents (52%), followed by getting kids up and ready in the morning (51%), getting a good teacher (43%), homework (33%), and bedtime (30%).

These tips and handy apps will help you get into a smooth routine and reduce the top stressors of the back-­to-­school season:

  • Shopping Stress Saver. With the cost of back-­to-­school shopping at the top of the stress list, using an app like ShopSavvy brings you the most current and useful information whenever you need it so you can make the best choices for your budget. The app allows you to compare the price of one item across different stores and sites just by scanning a barcode. You can also like products and store pages to get price and sale alerts. Available for free on iOS and Android.
  • Start Now. It’s never too early to establish your back-­to­-school routine. The longer you wait to get your children into the habit of an earlier bedtime, the harder it will be to get them up for school in the morning. And who says bedtime can’t be fun? Try And So to Bed, an educational app for the little ones that helps them learn a bedtime routine in a playful way. With beautiful animation and calming music they will learn how to get themselves ready for bed by helping the character “Cat” do the same. Available on iOS for $2.99.
  • Study Ahead. No matter which teacher they end up getting, you can prepare kids of any age for the school year ahead with Khan Academy, a free online learning resource for all ages. It offers exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard for kindergartners through high school and also serves as a great refresher for parents before helping kids with their homework.
  • What’s for Lunch? On top of everything else you have to do, deciding what to pack for lunch and actually getting the kids to eat what you pack can be a stressful challenge. LaLa Lunchbox takes the stress out of lunch planning for families and empowers kids with their meal decisions. Kids select foods for their meals with fun monsters, colors and sounds (and a completely customizable Food Library) and those choices turn into a handy grocery list for parents. Studies have shown that when kids are involved in their food selection, they are empowered to choose more variety and waste less, which means a more balanced diet and grocery money better spent. The only thing this app can’t do is pack the lunch for you. Available on iOS for $1.99.
  • Keeping it Together. Cozi, an all-­in-­one family organizational tool, helps you manage the chaos of everyday life. With this 3-­time Mom’s Choice Award Winner, you can keep track of everyone’s schedules, appointments and activities, create and share shopping lists and chores, and more in real time. Cozi helps you save time on managing schedules so that you have more time to figure out how to get everyone where they need to go. Available for free in iOS and Android.

So, no need to stress! By getting a head start with setting routines and utilizing these handy apps that the whole family can enjoy, you’ll be organized and ready to tackle the new school year before you know it.


Heidi Raker, mother of three tech-obsessed teens, has written about lifestyle products and parenting for over 30 years. She has a no-cellphone-at-meals policy, which remains one of her biggest family challenges.