Tech Tips To Help You Refresh & Refocus in 2021
Refresh & Refocus
Most of us have likely learned a lot more about ourselves, as well as our family members, over the course of 2020. How much self-care we need and what that looks like, how our children react to stress and changes, and so much more. So, how do we start 2021 on the right foot by providing the self-care we need so that we can, in turn, take care of our children’s needs? Sometimes that means taking a short break from online school or working from home. If you are unable to step away from technology altogether, as is the case with many of us, use it effectively and intentionally. Try a meditation app, connect with a friend, read, listen to music, or watch a show. We have found by simply taking a breather and engaging in something you enjoy, you can refresh your mind and feel ready to tackle tasks again.
Below are just a few examples of ways that you and family members of all ages can rest, relax, and refresh in 2021. How about listening to an audiobook? Most people are familiar with Audible, but have you ever heard of Epic? Epic is a reading app that some refer to as “a Netflix for books” because it is packed with books for children ages 2-12. Teachers and librarians can access the books for free, hence there is a chance your children have used it at school, but you can also access Epic’s collection of books for a subscription fee. Also, if you are someone who has used Audible in the past, but haven’t recently, now is a great time to check it out again. They made big updates in December of 2020 with Voiceover capability, improving the accessibility of the app for even more users.
Or, how about catching a favorite family movie by Disney? Sometimes
Sometimes settling down with a snack and a movie is just the thing to help everyone unplug from work and school. Disney+ is a popular choice among families as they show new releases along with those classics that parents watched growing up. The app is free to download and subscriptions start at $6.99 per month (current price in December 2020).
Epic- Kids’ Books & Reading
By Epic Creations, Inc.
Epic is a reading app for kids ages 2-12, some people refer to it as a Netflix for books. It includes both audiobooks and digital books. The app gives subscription users access to over 35,000 books and learning videos, with the ability to instantly read as many books as users want.
Price: Free to download, subscription for full access, but FREE for teachers and librarians
By Audible, Inc.
A must have app for users of all ages and abilities, Audible audiobooks and podcasts is the world’s largest selection of audiobooks, audio shows, and original series. With the app, users can listen to audiobooks anytime, anywhere—at home or on the go. Even if you switch devices, you will never lose your place.
Price: Free to download with in-app purchases
Disney+ is the streaming home of your favorite stories with unlimited entertainment from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. You can watch the latest releases, original series and movies, classic films, throwback TV shows, and so much more. We love this app for the accessibility options available such as on-screen captioning in many languages.
For a new, fun way to connect with friends and family, try an app like Marco Polo. You can record and send video messages, emojis, and fun graphics. Unlike FaceTime or a video call, the receiver can view the message and reply on his or her own schedule. So, if someone sends you a Marco Polo while you are enjoying that favorite new book or movie, you don’t have to feel pressured to reply right away.
Marco Polo- Stay In Touch
By Joya Communications
Marco Polo is a free video messaging app available for iOS and Android. The company’s motto, “Be together again, even when life gets busy” is definitely a great way to describe this wonderful app that helps users feel connected to family members, co-workers, caregivers, and friends. You can create videos to communicate walkie-talkie style or respond when it is convenient to you.
Price: Free to download, individual or family subscription required after 7 day free trial
Lastly, we want to share a few apps to help with you and your family’s health and wellness as we start the New Year. For managing your family’s health, Walmart has released a new app, Walmart Wellness, which combines medication management, health tracking, and overall health management into one app. If you are a former user of the app CareZone, you will be able to access your CareZone information by linking your Walmart Wellness account to your CareZone account. For assistance with mindfulness and meditation (this can help with calming down and focusing on what really matters), we have a couple of apps to suggest. Mindful Family and Stop, Breathe & Think are both apps that can teach you how to become more mindful and give you (and your children, spouse, etc.) the tools to use when you are stressed or overwhelmed by all that life throws your way. We hope that you find something in these offerings to help you relax and refresh in 2021 and we wish you a safe and healthy new year!
Walmart Wellness is a free app that makes it simpler to take care of yourself and your family. Easily manage medications, keep track of your health, and store information in a single, easily accessible place.
Stop, Breathe & Think Kids
By Stop, Breathe & Think
Price: FREE, Offers In-App Purchases
If you are interested in searching for more apps, creating your own list of apps and sharing them, please go to BridgingApps.org. BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers who share information about using mobile devices with people who have special needs.
*Amy Fuchs is the Program Coordinator at BridgingApps and a former special education teacher. Amy Barry is the Content Manager and Editor at BridgingApps and mother of five children.
Cristen Reat is co-founder of BridgingApps and a mother who found success when using a mobile device with her children who have special needs. We share a passion for using mobile technology to enhance the lives of people of all ages with disabilities.*
This post originally appeared on our January/February 2021 Magazine