When you and your loved ones live far apart, it can be challenging to feel connected to each other. Every individual in your family has their own life and their own schedule, and as your grandchildren grow older, they only become busier. It’s harder to keep up with monumental news or share meaningful moments when you can’t simply gather around the dinner table every night. However, with the right technology, it’s easier than ever to bridge any distance, whether your family is 15 minutes down the road or a two-hour plane ride away. Here are five technologies that can help you nurture a healthy and robust long-distance relationship with your grandchildren.
A senior-friendly computer
While today’s computers come chalked with every feature you can think of, many senior citizens admit that these bells and whistles aren’t necessary to stay connected. With a senior-friendly desktop from The Wow Computer, user-unfriendly features won’t stand between you and your long-distance grandchild. For example, intuitive touch screens and easy-to-read buttons will make computer-based correspondence a breeze.
If your tech-savvy grandchildrens’ preferred mode of communication is email, these elderly-friendly desktop computers will ensure that sending and receiving emails won’t send you into a technological tailspin. Instead, elderly users, much like yourself, will be able to download features useful for your personal life and stay far away from the clutches of virus detonators. Additionally, with a senior-friendly computer at your fingertips, you can schedule monthly or even bi-weekly video chats—and take advantage of the benefits of face-to-face communication.
Video chatting software
One of the most impactful developments in tech is the creation of video chatting software. Though you may be miles away from your grandchildren, you never have to wait until Thanksgiving to see how tall they’ve grown or the school projects they’re proud of. There are a plethora of video chatting apps available for download, including Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, and Whatsapp.
With video chatting, you can find creative ways of keeping in touch with your family. Though you may not be physically present at the dining table, coordinate virtual family dinners to share a meal with your family and catch up on any news. Try teaching your grandkids the recipe for any traditional family meals over video chat, and share memories about the meals you ate. For young children, become a part of their nighttime ritual by reading a bedtime story over video chat before they doze off to sleep.
If you’re a family of film aficionados, consider hosting long-distance movie nights via remote watch applications like Teleparty or Squad. Additionally, many streaming services have begun offering in-application remote watch services like Hulu’s “Hulu Watch Party” and Disney+’s “Groupwatch.” Rather than pulling up your video chat app and attempting to sync up your TVs manually, simply use one of the remote watch applications.
Many apps also allow you to chat in an integrated chatbox or react to the movie or TV show with pop-up emojis as you watch. Apps like Squad include an integrated video chatting feature as well, making it the perfect option if you’re a family that likes to discuss and socialize while watching movies or TV. While it’s not quite the same as being physically in the same room for a film, the additional features spice up the viewing experience, making it fun for the whole family.
If your grandkids enjoy playing video games, consider joining in on the fun with online games the whole family can play. You can download apps on your phone like Quiz Up for trivia and Words with Friends, which is similar to Scrabble. These smartphone games are an excellent option for busy grandchildren who can quickly play a round between school and soccer practice but don’t have time for more involved games.
When your schedules allow, try hosting remote online game nights as well, utilizing video chatting and free online game simulations of classic games like Battleship and Pictionary. If you’re keen to learn, ask your grandchildren to teach you how to play their favorite online video games. However, if you prefer less digitally involved game nights, consider hosting over video chat and playing games like 20 Questions and Charades.
Chances are, your tech-savvy grandkids are highly active on social media. They likely have accounts on every major platform, from Instagram to Snapchat and every app in-between. If you’re finding it difficult to stay in touch as much as you’d like to, consider creating your own social media accounts and connecting with your grandkids. Their social media accounts will let you know what’s going on in their lives without needing to schedule phone call catch-ups. You can also use your own social media accounts to keep your grandchildren updated on your own life.
While social media is an excellent tool for connecting with your grandkids, stick to some basic etiquette to ensure your online relationships remain healthy and meaningful. When commenting on updates or photos, keep your comments simple. Ask your grandkids if it’s okay to post pictures of them and tag them. There may be occasions where your grandchildren post statuses or comments that you don’t understand. Remember that your grandchildren won’t always post with context, and it is easy to misinterpret the content they publish. If you’re finding that your social media involvement is becoming an issue with your grandchildren, speak with them one-on-one so they can express what their boundaries are.
The bottom line
Don’t let distance keep you from nurturing a fulfilling relationship with your grandkids. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the technologies you can use to communicate with your family, don’t hesitate to ask them for help. While staying technologically connected can’t fully substitute for in-person interactions, it does allow you to stay involved and engaged in your grandchildren’s lives in meaningful ways.
For those seniors looking to pick up their technological pace and establish common ground with their Gen-Z grandchildren, consider these high-tech innovations. By trying your hand at online games and popular social media platforms, you can build an unbreakable bond with your tech-savvy grandchild.