8 Ways To Connect With Grandchildren Online

8 ways to connect with grandchildren online

Snail mail and telephone calls used to be the only way long-distance grandparents could connect with their children in other towns, states, or countries. Fortunately, digital technology has made it easier than ever for seniors to connect with their grandchildren regardless of how many miles lay between them. 

Here Are 8 Ways To Connect With Grandchildren

From apps that allow you to read stories together, to video hangouts and social media platforms, we’ve put together a list of eight of our clients’ favorite ways to connect with their grandchildren online. 

Get the right gadget for you 

If you are not much of a techie, half the battle can be deciding which gadget or computer is the right choice for you. While smartphones work well, most seniors prefer to use gadgets with a larger screen, such as a tablet or a small laptop computer. 

In our recent post on Ending Social Isolation for Seniors, we mentioned Samsung’s Birdsong tablet, which is an affordable, touchscreen tablet designed for seniors. Acer and Chromebooks are other affordable options that keep things as simple and glitch-free as possible.  

Read together on Caribu

Storytime is so valuable. It supports emergent readers, familiarizes grandchildren with their grandparent’s voice, and can soothe and calm an anxious child at the end of a long day. Plus, reading and listening to stories is just plain fun. 

Caribu is a popular app that allows you to video chat with your grandchild(ren) while reading the same books. Once you’ve selected the book, it will load on your respective screens, so you’re looking at the same page at the same time. You can take turns turning pages and reading to one another (or one of you can be the sole reader as the other follows along).  

BONUS TIP: Does your senior loved one enjoy reading stories? Look into community volunteer opportunities that pair retired seniors with schools and after school programs to support beginning or struggling readers.  

Create a slideshow for some reminiscence therapy 

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, you can put together a photo slideshow of pictures from the past. Then, use Zoom’s screen share feature and have a video chat where your grandchild gets to see the same pictures your parent or grandparent is looking at and listen to the stories that go along with it. 

In addition to learning more about your family’s roots, your children are participating in a process called reminiscence therapy (RT), which has positive benefits for seniors experiencing cognitive decline. 

WhatsApp 

WhatsApp is one of the most popular social platforms around the world, even though it has less acclaim here in North America. Unlike FaceTime, which is only available if both people use Apple devices, WhatsApp is available to all. Plus, it is a great option for parents who don’t want their children to use social media just yet. In addition to allowing free video or phone calling anywhere you have internet access, WhatsApp also makes it easy to share videos and pictures. 

Keepy 

Originally designed to help minimalist parents save important artwork, photos, and precious mementos without having to actually store the physical items, Keepy has evolved into something more.  

You can share your Keepy posts with grandparents, so they get to see and view artwork and accolades. Seniors can share their artwork with their grandchildren as well. Plus, those you’ve shared with can record their comments or feedback, which means you and your grandchildren will have precious vocal recordings of senior loved ones even after they’ve passed on. 

Speaking of art…connect with grandchildren while creating art together

The Draw Something app is like a digital version of Pictionary, minus the competition (although you can easily make it a family game…). You simply select a word and then “draw it” on your screen for the other players to guess. And, as the app’s developers reassure us, “No Drawing Skills Required! Stick figures and a sense of humor are welcome! Just wiggle your finger to create a doodle masterpiece!” 

Safety Tip: Make sure to download this one onto your own gadget, rather than your child’s, to prevent strangers from inviting themselves into the fun.  

Watch your favorite Netflix streams together 

Wish you could watch a favorite movie or show together? Now you can. The Netflix Party Chrome extension allows up to four different people to link up and watch movies together at the same time. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows. Now your family can enjoy coast-to-coast family movie nights on a regular basis. 

Play a good ol’ fashioned game of checkers 

Checkers is good for the mind and the soul, helping those neurons to actively fire, a proven way to slow down cognitive decline. Multiplayer Checkers is another online app that allows people to play together for free. If your children can stand it, you can bring other players in on the fun, but we’ve found that it works best (i.e. minimizes sibling spats and fights) if the game is played one-on-one with grandma or grandpa. 

Do you and your family have a favorite way to connect with grandparents online? We’d love to hear about it. Share your ideas in the comment box below. 

When Your Loved One Needs Help At Home

Are you worried that a long-distance senior loved one needs more support to remain safely at home? Contact HomeAide Home Care to schedule a free in-home assessment. Our licensed in-home caregivers are happy to help your loved ones get online and connect with you and their extended family members.

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