Before my Army son’s deployment, my first thought was how we would communicate. His deployments and overseas duty stations spanned many states and continents over the years. Having an international phone plan was not cost effective or practical. So we sought out better solutions.
That’s how we discovered phone apps!
Today’s apps make it easier than ever to connect on a regular basis. Investigate the apps before your military child leaves so you can agree on which one to use and work out any kinks.
Here’s a list of the top apps that military parents need for communicating with their loved ones.
“How to communicate” is the first question from military moms when their child begins their military journey. Sandboxx is the ideal app for military parents looking to stay in touch with their child.
Showing support and gratitude through frequent letters is the best way to send love and laughter through the miles. And, you can do it right from your phone with Sandboxx.
Wherever you are, you can send a letter from your phone and also include an image. Your message and images get converted into a real letter that’s printed and mailed to your service member in bootcamp.
Your letter will be in your service member’s hands within a couple of days!
Download the Sandboxx App.
We learned about KakaoTalk when my son and his family got stationed in South Korea for two years. Kakao gets used by everyone in South Korea. We used it for text, video chat, and voice calls. You can also share photos, videos, voice messages.
We loved using Kakao as our main communication tool! It relies on mobile numbers and is available for Android and iOS. Best of all, it’s free with no calling charges.
Learn more about KakaoTalk.
Our family used WhatsApp during my son’s deployments to Africa and South America. It was our favorite tool to stay connected via text, voice calls, and video calls. You can also share your favorite photos to send your child a slice of home.
WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption to secure your messages and calls. Like many other phone apps, WhatsApp uses your phone’s Internet connection. Did I mention, it’s all free!
You can also set up group chats so the whole family can join in the fun!
It’s available for Android, iPhone, and Mac or PC.
Learn more about WhatsApp.
United Through Reading
I love the United Through Reading app! It’s perfect for military families with young children. Kids love having stories read to them. Now, service members can record themselves reading a storybook aloud.
The United Through Reading website has a list of age appropriate books with engaging images. Imagine your grandchild or child’s surprise when they can watch and listen to their military parent reading them a bedtime story. It’s a comforting way for kids to stay connected to deployed parents.
It’s available for Android and iPhone.
Learn more about United Through Reading.
One of the challenges for service members and their families is time zones! It’s been years since I’ve been in the same time zone as my soldier son. Whether you’re new to military parenting or have been at it for awhile, Marco Polo is an awesome app!
With big time differences, arranging calls is challenging. So often, we have things to talk about but the timing is off. With Marco Polo, you can say hello whenever you want in a short video message and send it off to your military loved one. They can view the video at any time and respond. I love that you can rewatch the videos at any time.
Marco Polo is available on Android and iOS.
Learn more about Marco Polo.
American Red Cross provides emergency communication services to military service members and their families.
If you have an emergency involving an immediate family member, they verify the emergency and get word to your service member’s commander. It’s then up to the commander on whether military leave will get granted.
With the Hero Care app, you can set up and request Red Cross emergency services. This free app is available for Android and iOS.
Learn more about Hero Care.
Grab an App and Connect
Phone apps help you stay connected to your child during bootcamp, deployments, and far away duty stations. There’s an app for everyone!
Check out the apps listed here to discover the one that works best for you and your military member.
Apps are a wonderful way to maintain strong ties across the miles with your military child.