It can be easy to blame technology for making it tougher for families to connect. After all, aren’t all those screens taking away the idea of togetherness and communications? Not necessarily.
Plenty of technological products exist to enhance familiar relationships and together time. Yes, parents and kids do tend to resort to clicking, swiping, and texting. But some tech innovations buck this trend and promote bonding.
Below are tech inventions that serve the purpose of enhancing families instead of isolating household members. Try one or more to encourage healthier, more purposeful relationships with technology.
1. Make rhythms and songs from colors.
Have a bunch of musical youngsters? A fascinating tech product is wearable rings that emit sounds and notes when you tap them against colorful objects. They sync up to a downloadable app to enable you and your kids to experiment with tunes and beats. Not only can you foster your children’s creativity, but you can facilitate their interest in the performing arts. Plus, it’s cool to knock the rings against anything with a hue, like a book cover.
2. Give a starter phone that’s meant for the younger set.
When your child keeps asking for a phone and you think it’s time to consider it, you have options. Don’t assume you need to get them a pricey iPhone or Android with all the bells and whistles. Instead, look for a kids phone designed to allow them to receive calls, take photos, and text—but without Internet access. This type of first kids’ phone is perfect for children in late elementary and middle school. You can stay in touch without wondering what they’re doing online, because they can’t risk their safety.
3. Dive into the world of robots.
We’re not quite to the point where we have robots in our homes yet. Well, not entirely, anyway. However, you and your kids can easily create robots to do a variety of simple tasks. Many manufacturers offer robot-making kits that everyone can play with. Some can be used in augmented reality capacities. Just download an app and see the robot you built compete in a virtual situation.
4. Outfit your home with smart appliances.
You might not think of your kitchen as a place for high-tech. Nevertheless, smart appliance technology can help your family keep in touch on busy weekdays. For instance, smart fridges give you the choice of uploading pictures and apps right to a screen. Forget about magnets or sticky notes. From reminders to cute notes, your fridge can become a central hub where everyone stays in touch. Best of all, no one will ever forget to buy milk again!
5. Present a youth-friendly digital assistant to your kids.
If you’ve hesitated to buy a personal digital assistant like Echo into your household, you’re not alone. Some parents worry that their kids could be exposed to questionable music or news. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be too concerned. Companies like Birde make digital devices specifically designed for toddlers. Your youngest kids will be able to freely choose from pre-selected audiobooks, tunes, and more. And you won’t worry that they’ll accidentally order something from Amazon!
6. Introduce older kids to app-based homework helpers.
The app market is nothing if not crowded. Nonetheless, it’s never going to be without some crazy-good inventions. Take the idea of an app that easily stores and files all those loose notebook papers and tests. Or an app that provides real-time help for kids struggling in a subject area. Parents and children should check out the apps with the best user and safety ratings. Then, they can try them as a team. Moms and dads whose children are involved with online schooling will especially appreciate assistance.
7. Make traveling the world a piece of cake.
Do you and your family tend to do a lot of traveling? Maybe to foreign countries? Instead of flipping through apps, you might want to purchase a phone-sized device that can translate 70+ languages. Devices like these make tons of sense, even if you’re not planning on leaving the country. Just being able to communicate with a stranger in his or her native tongue can spark friendship. Plus, you may be able to translate written text and graphics, as well as the spoken word.
8. Turn fitness tracking into a family affair.
Chances are good that if you’ve been keeping tabs on hitting the recommended 8,000-10,000 daily steps, your child has noticed. Yet it’s tough for a kid to figure out how many steps they take in a 24-hour period. That’s where a kid-sized fit tracker comes into play. Kid fitness trackers tend to be colorful wearables with a few other perks like a stopwatch or timer. Look for a waterproof version, because life can get rainy, messy, and sloppy.
9. Buy an interactive globe.
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve stepped foot in a classroom. Do you think you’d ace a geography quiz, or find it a little tough to remember all those countries? Some companies offer digitally enhanced globes. Tap a stylus against any area on the globe and get information galore. You’ll be able to learn up-to-date facts and perhaps even make discovering new cultures a fun activity.
10. Take tooth time to the next level.
Oral hygiene might not be the most exciting thing you do as a family. It’s important, though. If your kids tend to slack off on their brushing and flossing, leverage a tech-enhanced digital toothbrush. These products frequently look like battery-operated toothbrushes but with serious enhancements. They get teeth and gums cleaner by offering alerts and reminders. They’re not inexpensive, but they’re less costly than constantly paying the dentist to fill cavities.
Do you feel like the only way to unite your family is by going off the grid? Before you take that drastic measure, consider technology that has your best interests at heart. Kid-friendly and family-friendly tech is just waiting for you to discover it. When you do, you’ll see how beneficial it can be.