Back-to-school is around the corner, but fret not! Check out these awesome tech gadgets that will help you—and your kids—ease back into the swing of things.
While we're in the midst of the footloose and fancy-free days of summer, all parents know that in just a short time, the start of the school year will be upon us. When homework, sports practices, music lessons, and hectic schedules are managed with precision and every minute is valuable.
- RELATED: 8 Fun First-Day-of-School Traditions
Luckily, we have technology on our side to help ease into the transition—and it certainly is a transition for everyone. Adjusting from late nights to early mornings, lazy afternoons at the beach to after-school activities, and getting back into the swing of things can take a couple weeks and a shift in mindset.
Here are 10 helpful ways that tech can guide you more peacefully through the process.
- Later bedtimes or no bedtimes at all during the summer months means adjusting the body clock to early morning wake-ups. While it's recommended kids get used to earlier mornings a couple weeks before school starts, having a gentle alarm clock like the REMI can help them re-adjust, too. Parents can customize wake-up times, colors, and alarm labels via the REMI app, even use the device as a two-way monitor via the app for a reminder that breakfast is ready. ($100)
- For those first few weeks when school bus routes are new, the Ping GPS is handy for keeping track of your child's location. This super compact location tracker can be put into your child's backpack and will pinpoint location from any distance (even if you're across the country on a business trip), giving you reassurance that your child is where he/she is supposed to be. ($129, includes one year of free service)
- If your kids have a little more autonomy and walk home from school, they don't need to worry about losing keys anymore with the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt. Kids can easily get inside with an access code, and parents can also provide access via the app. The door can also be locked or unlocked remotely via the app, in case kids forget the combination. ($229)
- Speaking of kids who are more independent, it may be time to investigate getting them a cell phone. There are plenty of non-smartphone options as a starter phone, and this Nokia 3310 is a good choice for covering the basics like phone calls, texts, and even a couple of simple games. It's a reboot of the classic Nokia 3310, and although it doesn't have any of the bells and whistles of a smartphone, it allows you to get in touch when needed. ($59.99, data plan required)
- A huge part of getting back into the swing of things is getting organized with groceries and meal prep. We have such advanced tech now that your fridge can help you with that. The LG InstaView ThinQ is much more than a cold box to hold food—its sleek touchscreen can be used to create shopping lists, shop for groceries (Amazon Alexa is built-in!), check the weather, play music, and more. A true fridge of the future, now. (Coming soon, price TBD)
- It can be hard to provide variety in lunchboxes when you are packing them every day of the week, but Boxed makes it easy to keep the pantry stocked. The app lets you buy in bulk from your phone, and within a couple days, snacks, household supplies, paper goods, and much more arrive at your doorstep. It's one less errand you have to run and many fewer bulk items you have to lug from your car. (iOS and Android, free)
- A new school year means a new teacher and classroom. Keeping apprised of your child's progress and being able to communicate with your teacher is made easier with a new app called Bloomz. In a closed and secure space with your child's teacher and other parents from the class, you can communicate, plan, and stay up-to-date on how the school year is going. (iOS and Android, free)
- For the last-minute permission slip, photo print-out, or class list request, the HP DeskJet 3755 All-in-One is great to keep nearby. This compact machine prints, copies, scans and can be at the ready for those spontaneous requests that your kids seem to remember as they're heading out the door. ($59.99)
- Keeping kids' possessions in their possession is no easy task, but labeling their things is a step in the right direction. Or at least increases the chances of finding lost items! The DYMO MobileLabeler is a high-tech way to quickly print out labels—different colors, fonts, and patterns—from your phone or tablet, and lets everyone know what belongs to whom. ($129.99)
- Back-to-school can be a stressful time for everyone, especially for kids who have had two months off. The KODAK Pocket Portable Projector is a great way to liven up those first weekends of the school year. The super-compact wireless projector displays straight from your smartphone, tablet, computer, TV, and more, to any wall for larger-than-life imagery. A perfect way to have family movie night or see back-to-school photos and videos and get kids excited for what's to come. ($199.99)