By Kay Bransford
SpouseLink Guest Blogger

My in-laws live states away but are very interested in being involved and staying connected to our kids. On every visit with the grandparents, my kids will spend time giving an iPhone or iPad tutorial. However, it’s usually been to answer questions. On our last visit, we set up these three applications to help stay connected over the miles that separate us.

My kids (13 and 18 years of age), who prefer to type over talking on the phone, selected the technologies they like to use or would use more often with Grandmom and Granddad. Here are their top 3.

1. FaceTime/Skype

My kids have used both and share that it’s really about the video, which they find more personal and engaging. Thankfully, we all have iPhones, so we can easily use FaceTime to make video calls. This is the leading way my daughter stays connected with her friends. We have also used it to talk with our son who is now away at college. It’s so much more personal to see eye-to-eye as we catch up.

Glam Alert: Holding the phone down below your chin is very unbecoming… so be forewarned, you may find doing these calls from your iPhone also offers a limited workout for your arms as you try to keep the phone up near your face (and maybe a little higher for a more flattering view to share with kids and grandkids).

If you don’t have FaceTime, you can use Skype. You can use Skype from both smartphone apps and from an Internet-connected computer.

2. Snapchat

My son sums up Snapchat as a “better way to send snapshots of what you are doing.” Not only does he find it easier than texting a photo, he showed me how you can easily add words, captions, emojis, and even filters to enhance the image.

I’ve witnessed him take hundreds of selfies and share them with friends. I opened up an account in hopes of making sure I had the opportunity to have him share a few of the good photos with me, especially now that he’s away from home most of the year.

He’s more apt to respond to Snapchat than return a text.

3. Words With Friends

When we visit the grandparents at their cabin, we are usually huddled around a game of Bananagrams. When we aren’t together, it’s one way my kids can still have fun with Grandmom, who is the gamer in the family. Words With Friends is another way we stay connected.

I hope you will find these suggestions give you some new ways to connect the generations within your own family and shrink the miles that may separate you.  

About Kay

Kay H. Bransford is a daily money manager and the best-selling author of “MemoryBanc: Your Workbook for Organizing Life”. She has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Huffington Post, in addition to many television and radio programs to educate families, caregivers, and retirees on why getting organized is important to the well-being of every adult. The company Kay founded, MemoryBanc, received an “Older-Adult Focused Innovation” award from AARP Foundation and has helped thousands of families since its launch in 2013. Kay is an Army brat and currently resides in McLean, VA.

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