I’ll admit it. When the news came that the kids would be out of school and my husband would be working from home for a while, I was almost, dare I say it? Happy! While our schedules would obviously be interrupted, the thought of having my family home and getting back to basics really did excite me.
Well, it’s been 10 weeks, and let’s just say… we’re bored!
Balancing the demands of two careers and the needs of three little kids has slowly eaten away at any of the blissful promise of what time together could feel like. I’m realizing now more than ever how much I relied on the social obligations that had grown to be such an important influence on how we raise our family: A random Saturday afternoon spent in the yard while my father-in-law helps my husband with a construction project. A trip to the park with friends. Sports practices, games, and a trip to the ice cream shop afterward. With all that on hold, there is an air of sadness in my house!
Enter Houseparty — the face-to-face social network!
Houseparty allows for groups to video chat on mobile or a desktop app. It’s incredibly easy to use and super intuitive — the user opens the app, and their friends receive a notification that they are now “in the house” and ready to chat. Friendship on Houseparty is by mutual agreement. Only people you have accepted as friends can join you when you open the app. Rooms can be locked or unlocked. It is safe and secure, and the perfect way to stay social even while we are physically distant!
To download the app, simply visit your app store and search for Houseparty. From there, you’ll create an account and will be given the option to identify phone contacts and Facebook friends who already have Houseparty accounts. When I created my account I was so surprised — many of my best friends already had accounts and had never told me! Better yet, even my grandparents had accounts! How had I missed out on all the fun until now? We connected instantly, and the rest was super easy to figure out.
My kids and I use Houseparty for general catch-up calls with our family and friends, but the best part is the games we play on the app. Have you ever had a video chat with live games being played? Have you ever done it with kids? It’s a riot! My boys are 7 and 4 and are able to understand and navigate the games pretty much on their own. Their favorites are Heads Up and Superhero Trivia! They love to play a quick game with their aunt, and it helps add a little silly to the middle of our hardest days stuck at home.
While we’re using Houseparty right now to connect with friends and family we’d typically see in person, we’ll absolutely continue to use it in the future. I love the idea that my grandparents will be able to play a game with my sons in real time, even when they’re living in Florida and we are here in Boston.