5 tips to keep your family sane this fall

5 for fallKris Cain is a Chicago area mother to 2 sets of twins, photographer, gadget addict, social media trainer, social event planner and blogger.

Summer is winding down and it’s time for families to get back into the routine of school, homework and after school activities. With back to school being top-of-mind for most parents, getting back into the groove can be hard. But, technology can improve your organization this fall! Check out my 5 tips to learn how.

  1. Create a family calendar: Having two sets of twins, I decided to save some money by planning ahead which weekend and after school activities we’ll do this fall. From art classes to zoo trips, scheduling it all in Outlook gives our lives structure. Then, be sure to sync your calendar to your phone so you have your schedule with you on the go.
  2. Have a rainy day tech plan: Of course we wish for nothing but crisp fall weather and light jackets, but depending on where you live, that is not always the case. When the weather isn’t on your side, make sure you have a plan for keeping the kids occupied. This might include arts and crafts, video games, reading, or board games. My kids and I recently started a game of Monopoly, and it turns out everyone has an IOU out to my daughter for at least $1500.
  3. Capture great photos: Luckily smartphone cameras have advanced to the point you can now get great photos without needing to carry around a camera. When hanging out with the kids, use your smartphone to capture every moment of fun or the perfect picture for this year’s holiday card.
  4. Back up your photos: After you’ve captured those great memories, use a cloud-based service like SkyDrive to safely back up and share your photos. You can even set up your Windows Phone to automatically upload photos you take to SkyDrive. Then, instead of emailing photos, use SkyDrive to setup a shared group folder where family and friends can access your photos.
  5. Keep a family recipes file: As my kids get older they love to help in the kitchen, so I use OneNote to keep our favorite recipes (and some new ones) just a touch away. It comes in handy for some family bonding while cooking nightly dinners. You can also install the OneNote mobile app on your smartphone so you can access recipes while grocery shopping.

Whatever you choose to do this fall, consider technology option that will help your family stay organized and have some fun! Also, if you want to win technology upgrades just in time for back to school, be sure to check out Microsoft Office 365’s Back to School Throwback Sweepstakes. To enter, all you have to do is submit a “throwback” picture of yourself from “back in the day” to be entered for a chance to win a year subscription to Office 365 Home Premium or even a Surface Pro!

–Kris Cain

Kris CainMother, photographer, gadget addict, social media trainer, social event planner and blogger Kris Cain.