With changing family patterns, increased life expectancy, and growing numbers of two incomes, there are higher rates of family breakdown. Grandparents are now playing an increasing role in their grandchildren’s lives. And the definitions of who and what grandparents are has changed over the past decades as well. We grandparents have re-defined ourselves unlike any other generation.
Also, because of higher divorce rates and single parents, grandparents are bearing more responsibility for their grandchildren. Further contributions to the family unit are a direct result of the recent pandemic which has taken a toll that swept our globe. Our lives have forever been changed.
Besides babysitting and sharing our wisdom and guidance, grandparents are also making financial contributions to the grandkids. Collectively, grandparents spend a total of $179 billion each year on their grandchildren; that’s about $2,562 per grandparent, an AARP survey says.
Unlike earlier generations, grandparents now come to their grandchildren with information. We want to be in the know. We want to participate with all that the grandkids are doing, and offer advice and help … without circumventing the parents’ wishes!
We are reaching out to our grandchildren, despite barriers such as distance. In an AARP study, over half of grandparents have one grandchild who lives more than 200 miles away and about a third live more than 50 miles from their closet grandchild.
As we have seen over the last year, technology is making it easier to share in our grandchildren’s lives no matter how many miles create separation. Grandparents are adapting to technology in order to stay connected. We are turning to Facetime, Zoom, and varying platforms of social media to keep up with the younger generations in our families. Here are a few apps that we think are particularly good:
Readeo Ages: 1 -11
Readeo is committed to fostering the joy of reading between loved ones—near and far. You can turn screen time into story time. When you use this app, either side of the video call can flip through the pages of a picture book easily and read together, perfect for grandparent and grandchild. This interactive experience captures the kids’ attention. Readeo is passionate about growing their library with high-quality books that educate, entertain, and encourage little ones to let their imaginations run wild. There is a free trial, and the monthly rate is $9.99.
Words with Friends Ages: 8+
Words with Friends is a multiplayer word game where players take turns positioning letter tiles on a virtual game board, crossword-puzzle style in a manner similar to Scrabble. Multiple players can play, and the game is even available on Facebook. There is a chat feature that allows opponents to exchange messages. This game is a fun way to connect with grandparents and have a playdate. The free versions are ad supported and offer in-app purchases.
Flight Simulators Ages: 10 +
Flight Simulators allow you to simulate flying from your computer or mobile device. Grandparent and grandchild can in some cases “fly together” – and in other cases, discuss their experiences with the same flying adventures. The simplest and best reviewed are X Plane 10 Mobile and Infinite Flight Simulator. They are free or low cost to download. However, if you want to go beyond basic maneuvers, you have to ‘buy’ a plane (99cents).
Genealogy apps Ages: teenage, college age
If you have older grandchildren who are teenagers or in college and would like to research family history with you, look at these apps: my heritage.com and ancestry.com
What do you do to stay connected? Any special apps you love?
*Portions of article reprinted from: https://www.cantonrep.com/news/20190908/grandparents-have-growing-role-in-lives-of-grandchildren