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The summer is coming to a close, which means students and parents are preparing for the back to school mayhem. I don’t know about you, but the first day of school always manages to sneak up too suddenly at our house. We at GKIS are all about making family life easier so there’s more time for joyful rejuvenation. Here are a few helpful screen-help parenting hacks that can get you prepared for the madness.

Virtual Shopping for Back to School

I’m already after my kids to make their linked wish list for school clothes to avoid crowded school shopping that leaves us all haggard. The Giftster app is what I was looking for! The app allows for family members to share a wish list for the next upcoming event such as birthday, holiday, and back-to-school.

Super Deals

It’s not just the time shopping that can leave us depleted, so can the spending! To get the best coupon discounts, download RetailMeNot.

Not only can you browse for sales, coupons, cash back, and gift card savings, but I often search store names once I’ve collected my purchases. The online coupon can then be scanned at the register. I’m also in the habit of asking for AAA, education, or military discounts in the counter. Our local retail mall often offers up to 20% off every purchase if you qualify.

Staying Within the Budget

Beyond discounts, many of us need to stay within a budget. Intuit’s Mint app links to your bank card for close budget tracking. Spending is laid out on an easy-to-read graph to help you tracking spending in real time.It also gives spending suggestions, allows you to track and pay bills, and gives tips on how to improve your credit score.

Quick and Easy Money Transfers

Another money app that can alleviate stress is the Venmo app. This app allows users to send money to each other with a click of a button.

If your teen is eager to earn independence, a quick money transfer can be the difference between a fun trip with their friends and a stressful tug of war with a parent. Handy notations help parents track how much and when money was offered. This is far easier than handing over money or your credit card.

Location Sharing

Location sharing is a where one person can locate the other via their phone signal. For teens this may be a fun way to see where your friends are; however for parents, this is the perfect way to see what your kids are up to.

Wondering if your youngest made it home safely on the bus? Look up his location, and you’ll be put to ease knowing they’re safe. Wondering why your oldest isn’t picking up your calls? Look them up and see that they’re at the movies, so there’s no need to worry.

As a parent, keeping track of your kids may sound easy, but life can get crazy and sharing your location with your family is a great tool to put little worries to rest and reduce stress.

For android users with a Google account, simply add their Gmail address to your Google Contacts, open the Google Maps app and sign in, tap Menu> Location sharing> Add people.

For iPhones, simply go to the contact that you wish to share your location with, then select Share Location, and select the amount of time you wish to share your location. I often track my kids from messages simply by tapping the little i in the circle in the upper right-hand corner on your texting screen.

Life360 is a free location app that is amazing! You can set up alerts for when family members make it to a specific location (like kids home from school), view route information for distracted driving details, give at-a-glance information and easy access to check in messaging requests, and offers private and group chats as well as group circles and flexible location sharing. Now that my 16 year-old is driving, this is a MUST HAVE at our house.

Thank you to GKIS intern, Adam Ramos, for helping us get the most useful time-and money-saving apps. Also, because teens can be sneaky, make sure and read The GKIS Sensible Parent’s Guide to Venmo so you know every work-around. Have time-saving apps you love? Share them with us in the comments.

I’m the mom psychologist who will help you GetKidsInternetSafe.

Onward to More Awesome Parenting,

Tracy S. Bennett, Ph.D.
Mom, Clinical Psychologist, CSUCI Adjunct Faculty

Photo Credits

Photo by Chema Photo on Unsplash

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Photo by Jose Alonso on Unsplash

Dr. Tracy Bennett
Dr. Tracy Bennett
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