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8 Apps For Grandparents To Stay In Touch With Their Grandkids

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My parents live 3,000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest, so I understand the struggle to keep them connected to my 4-year-old. I also know I’m not alone. Luckily, some savvy app developers have come up with creative ways to help, like these 8 apps for grandparents and grandchildren to stay in touch.

It's a good thing, too, since half of all grandparents have at least one grandchild living more than 200 miles away according to the Star Tribune. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Maintaining these long distance relationships is hard with FaceTime and Zoom. My parents are Luddites. They can hardly use an iPhone let alone download an app.” OK, I hear you. Introducing anyone to a new technology can be tough, especially a set-in-their-ways Memaw or Papop. But, hear me when I say that nothing is more motivating than the promise of more time with their favorite grands. Give your folks the benefit of the doubt. With enough practice (and sure, likely some painfully stressful tutorials), even the most stubborn late adapters can become converts to new technology. Not to mention the fact that “teaching Grandpa” a new app can be a super fun self-esteem booster for your child. It may take some convincing, but we think that with enough work, they'll get on board.

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1. BookChat

Reading a book together is one the best ways to bond with a child, and grandparents know this better than anyone. That's where Readeo's BookChat comes in. The app allows grandkids and grandparents to share a screen with a book, the "text best" thing to sitting side-by-side, turning the pages together. Members are charged a monthly fee of $10 which gives them access to a large library of titles they can choose from with their "guest" (i.e. grandchild) together.

2. Wheel of Fortune

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Chances are, your parents are already Wheel of Fortune fans. Double down on their love of the game with the free multiplayer app. The ability to play free word games with friends means grandparents and grandkids can face off no matter how many miles away they are.

3. Keepy

Have mounting piles of your children's artwork you'd love to share with family but don't really want to ship halfway across the country? Download Keepy. This clever app lets you save kids mementos and artwork then share it virtually with friends and family. Grateful grandparents can then leave voice, video or text comments to say much they loved the work.

4. Ancestry.com

Have a budding genealogist in the fam? Encourage them to share your parent's (free) Ancestry app. By sharing a login in, kids can start to discover their family history which could lead to all kinds of shared activities like creating a family tree or researching ancestors for school projects together.

5. Words With Friends

If your parents are familiar with Scrabble, then they'll probably like Words with Friends. The Crossword puzzle game can be played with opponents all over the world, but in this case we recommend introducing one of your older children to the game so they can beat Grandma!

6. UNO!

A cabin vacation classic, UNO! the card game has been a family favorite for generations. And since your grandparents probably already taught your child to play the old fashioned version on your last family holiday together, the only barrier is downloading the app on their device and yours so they can play online together.

7. Tinybeans

It's so easy to take photos on our smart phones these days that it might seem like the best way to share images and milestones of your child with their grandparents. But maybe you're overwhelming their phone's data plan or perhaps you'd like to make the pictures more accessible. That's where Tinybeans comes in. The app has free and unlimited storage (so go wild with the pictures) and also has a neat milestone tracking device.

8. Grandy

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Designed specifically with grandparents in mind, Grandy ($50 a year) does: scheduled visits for elders to engage with kids, offers digital postcards, and has family friendly support so G-ma won't get stressed out when you introduce her to the software. Plus, the company promises to keep all users info, data, and images private so you can feel safe sharing.