By Mindy Jones, Crosswalk.com
There may be lots of debate on technology's good and bad, but today, let's focus on the good! It can be a wonderful way to keep in touch with family, especially for grandparents to stay in the loop of their children's and grandchildren's lives.
Whether your grandparents live far away or you cannot see them as much for other reasons, you'll want to check out these five simple media tools to keep in touch with them! Or maybe you are like me, and we simply utilize them to show simple day-to-day things, even though they live right down the road! Either way, you are sure to find one that works for your family and make sure you can create beautiful memories even if you aren't able to be around each other all the time physically.
Before you get started using these media tools and apps, do this first! Before we get into these apps to help you keep in touch with grandchildren, you've got to have somewhere to use these apps, right?
Years ago, right around when great-grandchildren were being born, our family pooled together our money to buy our grandparents an iPad. That way, we could communicate with them through some app or another. Plus, they could actually see their great-grandchildren and had a way to talk with them.
You can give this to them as a birthday or Christmas gift, or surprise them with a visit and this gift. While you are there, you can show your grandparents how to use whichever app works best for your family - that may be just one or maybe 2 or 3, depending on what types of phones and devices everyone has.
You can also opt for other tablets or devices like a Samsung tablet, small laptop, or something similar. It may depend on what type of phone you have - for example, if most of the family has iPhones, then an iPad would make sense because you can video call easily.
Whatever device you decide on, you want to ensure you have someone there (or everyone during a holiday) to get everything set up and show them how to use the device specifically for video calling!
Now that you've got an idea of how to present this to your grandparents, let's take a look at some excellent media tools and apps to keep in touch with your family!
For those families who are iPhone users, FaceTime is the easiest way to video chat with each other. It's simply a phone call with video, so very easy to help get set up for your grandparents!
All you have to do is type in your email or phone number (you can use both) and save yourself and other family members as contacts on their iPad. Then, whenever they want to FaceTime, they can click the person's name and know how to answer when you call them.
We use FaceTime with our parents and grandparents so they can see our daughter, and it's so simple and something that doesn't cost a penny.
2. Marco Polo
Think of this one as more of a "texting app," but instead of writing texts, you send videos back and forth! This is great because it can be done on your own time if there isn't time to sit down and video call. You can send fun videos of your kid's ball games, preschool graduations, and things that your grandparents may not be able to attend but can still be a part of this way.
Then, they can respond just as easily! Let's say, as a grandparent, you want to send a quick message to say hi, or that you love them; you can do this with the Marco Polo app without having to be on a video call. This app is also free for the basic features!
We have used this app not only for the family but in our women’s Bible studies as well! It's a great one to have all around.
This is a newer option, but so cool! Basically, you buy what's called a "Grandpad," which is a tablet specifically designed for this app. Then, all of your family members who want to participate can download the app for free. You can send messages, pictures, videos, and tons more through the app on your phone, and it sends it straight to the "Grandpad." Pretty cool!
This one has an upfront cost of buying the actual device, but once you do, everyone can join in and use the app for free.
4. Digital Photo Albums
Did you know there are such things as "digital" photo albums? Here are some examples and great ideas to keep in touch with grandparents.
There are devices called digital photo frames, where you can upload pictures from different phones and devices to this one electronic picture frame. This would be a great gift to get for your grandparents and to include everyone's phone numbers/emails, etc. Then all you have to do is send your photos to the frame (there are more instructions for each specific kind), and they show up live on the photo frame! How cool is that?
So if your child hits a homerun in their baseball game, you can send a picture of them and share that memory with grandparents. You can search "digital photo album frame" and find some great options!
Another option is to utilize Facebook photo albums. If your grandparents are already on Facebook, this would be an easy and wonderful option! You can create a private photo album and choose who to add to it.
For example, let's say a new grandchild or great-grandchild is born; you can upload all their pictures to this private album. Then, simply allow who can see the album, and they can check it every few days on Facebook to see what is new.
5. Messenger App
This has been a wonderful option for our family who does NOT have iPhones - Facebook now has a messenger app that is great for sending messages and video chatting with someone, no matter what device they have.
All you need to do is download the Messenger app, connect it to Facebook, and you can choose someone's profile to video chat. It doesn't matter what type of smartphone someone has. As long as they have the app, you can video call from anywhere.
These media tools and apps for keeping in touch with grandparents are so helpful, especially for those who are either a long distance away from their families or unable to visit due to other reasons! You are sure to find one that works for your family.
Video credit: ©iBelieve
Mindy Jones is a Christ-follower, loving wife, and stay-at-home mom. She is a graduate of Campbellsville University with a Major in Business Administration and a love for writing. Her mission is to guide Christian moms in being more intentional in their faith, family, and homes with practical tips and authenticity! She hopes to inspire moms to be fervent in raising children who love the Lord, offering tons of activities and resources to do so on her website, Mindy Jones Blog.