Must-have tech for families heading back to school

When the kids head back to school this fall, you want to be ready. And I don’t just mean that they’ve got cool new backpacks and killer sneakers to show off to their friends, I mean that you and your family are leveraging all the latest technology to make the next school year a safer and more organized one.

While it might feel like summer has just begun, that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to start getting ready. Here are three awesome pieces of tech your family needs to have set-up and be ready to use before this fall rolls around.

1. Shared Calendars

Once school starts, everyone’s schedules go nuts. You’re trying to figure out which parent is picking up which child, while balancing soccer practice and art class at the same time. As parents, you’re also trying to manage a chore regimen, schedule doctor’s appointments, make sure the pet gets to the vet on time, and you’re expected to do all of that efficiently without double booking anyone’s time.

Setting up an online shared calendar with your family is the perfect solution. That way the kids can log in and see their own schedules, so they’ll know when they’ve forgotten to clean the upstairs bathroom. For mom and dad, the transportation regimen is easily accessible so no child is left behind.

Plus, by taking advantage of the ability to access and update calendars from smartphones, everyone will always have the most up-to-date version of the family schedule no matter where they are.

2. Laptops

Kids today might be demanding smartphones and tablet computers, but those devices are not what they need to succeed in school. For junior high-age children and above, I recommend that every student have a laptop so they can do their schoolwork no matter where they are.

While your kids might want something that can play all the latest games, what parents need to be focusing on is weight (you know how heavy those backpacks are already!) and battery life (kids want to work wherever they are, so look for something with four to seven hours of life).

The best way to shop for the perfect laptop is to take advantage of any available educational discounts. All major computer manufacturers have an education store that sells laptops at a discount to students. Your child’s school or university may have a separate educational discount program that offers certain models at even better prices, so be sure to ask about that as well.

As we move into back to school season, various retailers will also be offering discounts on laptops, so be sure to comparison shop before you buy.

3. Secure Storage

Your kids already have a lot to remember: keys, class schedules, French vocabulary and more. Why not give them an app that makes it easier for them to remember their passwords, to-do list and Master Lock combinations?

The Master Lock Vault is a secure digital safe that stores a variety of data. Passwords are a big consideration since remembering those difficult combinations that look like YQ7&#15 is almost impossible. Instead of remembering all of them, the Master Lock Vault only requires one password to unlock everything else.

With gym class and school lockers, remembering lock combinations is tough for kids to tackle as well. But with the Vault, they can easily store and manage your master codes without worry.

And instead of buying your child a new $15 USB flash drive every time they lose one on the way to school, you can encourage them to store documents in a safe, encrypted format inside their Vault app. Then they can log in and get those files no matter where they are.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Hey readers, this is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.