By Sandra Quinn

This week, amidst tears, tantrums, panics to get out of the house in time and last minute trips to the shop to pick up stationary supplies, thousands of children got ready to go back to school.

For as long as we can all remember, a first day at school or going back to school after the blissful summer holidays is a milestone no matter what age you are.

Not only does this week come with the obligatory photographs, signs and keepsakes, but also with panic, rushing and varying levels of worry and anxiety.

The only solace to be taken is that this transition and milestone is now so much easier than it was years ago thanks to major digital innovations.

Going to a new school years ago, whether in a new area or just in an unfamiliar part of town, always came with an obligatory trial run, as parents bundled their unwilling children into the car and timed how long it would take them to travel to the new school – the GPS enabled smart phones and Sat Navs in cars are now the saving grace here. No more unnecessary trips to gauge times, you just pop the destination in and the wonderful gismo will even factor in things like traffic, roadworks or accidents so that you know exactly how long the travel will take.

Going back to school, or having your first day of school, both come with a lot of organising, planning and of course timetables play an integral part.

Again, this is where the calendars on your smart phone, tablet or laptop are all really handy. Not only can you make note of things like what days sports gear needs to be packed or when school outings are taking place, but you can also take note of meetings, holidays and much more. Why bother using a digital calendar when there is one on the fridge? I hear you ask. There are a few benefits. The family can sync their online calendars, so there is no confusion and everyone is on the same page, armed with the same information. You can also enable reminders so that you don’t forget anything.

School is often not somewhere you associate with expressing individuality, wearing a uniform, having the same books and copies as everyone else and wearing standard issue shoes and sometimes even jackets. While this gives a wonderful uniform feel to the school environment, it does mean that there are hundreds of students in the same place every day with the same things and so the potential to mix items up is huge.

Here is where label printing apps could be your saviour. Use the app to design labels with the school crest, child’s name and their class, to prevent against loss and mix-ups.

For anyone with issues with their vision, hearing or with problems such as dyslexia, apps on tablets and smart phones can help significantly with making school work and homework that bit more manageable, giving them tools to put them on a level playing field with their peers.

So, while going back to school will probably never get any easier, the above tips and tools might just make the whole experience a little less stressful.