Digital wellness / September 26, 2023

Back-to-school productivity apps and tools for the entire family

Amanda Lee

Amanda Lee

Senior Program Manager, Tech for Good & TELUS Wise

Two female teenagers looking at their tablet and smartphone.

Does the back-to-school season make you feel excited? Or anxious? As a parent, I look forward to it as our household returns to a somewhat regular routine. However, the adjustment is persistently painful at the beginning of each school year and it can feel like a part time job staying on top of school emails, projects, assignments and extracurricular activities as well as family things - events, chores and so on.

Planning and scheduling is key amid the chaos

Having a clear view of everyone's schedules and commitments can help reduce stress and anxiety. It also eliminates the need for last-minute planning and constant reminders (or nagging, as my daughter says), allowing for a more enjoyable and relaxed start to the school year.

Unlock the benefits of using a shared digital family calendar that anyone in the family can access, from anywhere, at any time. A shared digital family calendar allows you to:

  • Stay organized: Keep everyone in the loop about important dates. Family members can access and update their calendar in real time for others to see, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
  • Avoid conflicts: Identify potential conflicts in advance. By seeing everyone's schedules together, you can proactively address overlapping commitments and avoid double bookings. This is especially beneficial for teens as they start to make their own plans.
  • Communicate better: A shared calendar promotes better communication, enabling parents and children to discuss and plan their activities together. It's also a great opportunity for children to learn about time management, responsibility, coordination and compromise.

It is worth noting that there are lots of digital tools and apps available; however these calendars seem to be the most popular:

  • Family Sharing: When you set up a family on Google or iOS, a calendar called "Family" is automatically created. You can then invite your “family” to join and create and view events.
  • Cozi: In addition to a shared calendar, Cozi enables shared shopping lists, to-do lists (i.e chores) and even a recipe box for meal planning. It integrates with other popular calendar programs like Google Calendar, Outlook, and Apple Calendar. For a fee you can subscribe to Cozi Gold for more features, including no ads.

Beyond a shared calendar, you can also make the back-to-school season less hectic by encouraging the older youth in your family to also use technology to help them stay organized and focused. Here’s a round up of popular productivity tools for students to check out:

  • Evernote allows students to take notes, create to-do lists, and organize their study materials. It also offers features like voice recording and document scanning which can come in handy if your child misses school.
  • Google Drive is a cloud storage and productivity suite that provides students with the ability to create, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It allows for easy collaboration with classmates on projects.
  • Todoist is a task management app that helps students stay organized and manage their assignments and deadlines. Users can create to-do lists, set reminders, and even prioritize their tasks. Alternatively, kids can use the Keep and Tasks (Google) or Notes (iOS) feature on their laptop or smartphone.
  • Forest helps students stay focused and avoid distractions through gamification. This app motivates students to resist the temptation of using their phone while they study through virtual rewards including coins and growing trees. Users can then use their virtual coins to plant real trees.
  • Quizlet is a flashcard app that allows students to create and study using digital flashcards. It offers various study modes, including games and practice tests which are helpful for remembering important information.

While technology can sometimes feel like it’s all-consuming, it has the power to transform our lives and make us more productive. Learn how you can maximize the nourishing impact of technology, while minimizing the depleting effects with our TELUS Wise happiness workshop.

Tags:
Apps & gaming
Smartphones
Mental health
Kids & tech
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