5 tips to help parents and students with back-to-school prep

(BPT) - There's something special about this time of year, no matter how old you are - with plenty of excitement and anticipation as the next school year approaches, mixed with just a little anxiety about the upcoming changes. Parents and kids of all ages, especially those who are college-bound, can sometimes feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to happen to be ready for this big transition.

Fortunately, you can make preparing for the upcoming academic year a lot easier with some tips and tools to help everyone stay on track during the shift from summer to school mode.

1. Tackle time management

One of the biggest shifts from the lazy days of summer back to school again is keeping on top of everyone's schedules. A tried-and-true tactic is to create and post one big family calendar where everyone can see it (like on your fridge or other central location). That way everyone can add their appointments, extracurricular activities and upcoming events so the whole family knows what to plan for and look forward to each week. Try using color-coded markers so everyone knows which events are for which family member - or for everyone.

To make this task easier, one helpful tool you can use is downloading and printing out a family calendar template from a site like CalendarLabs.com.

2. Make mealtimes easier

Another important adjustment that takes place each fall is the need to plan ahead for speedy breakfasts, packable lunches, after-school snacks and easy-to-prep meals for busy weeknights. Preparing nutritious meals for kids takes some advance planning, so it's a good idea to print out a useful tool like a printable meal chart from TwoPeasAndTheirPod.com.

With a planning tool like this, you'll be ready to shop and prep for meals more efficiently, so you can continue to feed your kids well before, during and after school. Involve kids in the planning by asking what they want to eat for each meal, while introducing different colors based on each of the food groups to show them what a balanced meal looks like.

3. Get ready for the move to campus

For college students, the move away from home can be a real test of their organizational abilities. Help ensure they'll have what they need by printing a list of everything they think they'll have to pack for the big move. They can share their list with older siblings, friends and family to get everyone's advice. Once their list is complete, they can print out their finalized list for shopping and crossing off items they've already gotten.

They can also help reduce the homesickness they're bound to feel their first year away from home by printing out pictures of beloved family members (and pets) from their phone so they can always have loved ones with them, while also making a welcome addition to their dorm room decor.

4. Maximize technology to help with planning

You and your kids can easily print out all of these types of helpful calendars, scheduling tools, mealtime planners, photos and to-do lists using the Mopria Print Service app, which enhances print functionality on any Android phone or tablet, allowing you to connect and print to one of over 120 million Mopria certified printers without any additional set-up - eliminating the need to install additional software or drivers so you can easily print, regardless of the printer's brand.

Simply download the app from Mopria.org/print-from-android or Google Play to get started.

5. Stay organized at every stage

Each year also brings with it a new slew of important papers to keep copies of, including information that your kids will need to have. The Mopria Scan app offers a convenient way for you to scan documents from your scanner or multi-function printer directly to your Android device. This saves you the hassle of installing apps for every scanner you use, and facilitates easy access to your scanned pages for viewing on your Android devices. You can download the Mopria Scan app from Google Play or directly from their website.

With these tools and tactics, you should all feel better prepared for the changes to come - helping you and your kids make the transition seamlessly, no matter what the new school year brings.

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