Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bridging the military deployment gap (and other separations from your children)

A few years ago I was scheduled to deploy to Iraq. Before I left, I wanted to create an archive of videos for my daughter. What I really wanted was a way to read a children's book and actually show the book while I read it, not just hold it up to the camera now and then. Since nothing like that existed, I decided to create it. That is how Ties That Bind Us was started:

When a small child is separated from a parent, it's confusing and even traumatic for them. It doesn't matter if it's because of military service or traveling on business; they just know that mom or dad is not there. Ties That Bind Us has come up with a great new way for a child to still feel a connection while their parent is away. It combines a children’s book with a webcam recording of the parent reading the book. Not just a parent holding the book while they read (which many military parents already did), but actually having the book displayed on-screen while they read. You can see a preview Tie of the book Smokejumpers ONE to TEN here:

The recording and displayed book is called a "Tie", and it can be watched from the website at any time. It started as a way for military parents to create something for their children before going on deployments but business travelers, grandparents, and others began making these Ties also. The child can make them too (grandparents love watching a Tie from their grandchild!).

The early reader books use some wonderful drawings and illustrations which really appeal to young readers. Many have little educational facts to spark inquisitive minds. One thing I really like about the service is that it is NOT "YouTube" for the world to watch; You set up a family account to create or watch a Tie so it is private between your family members. You can link accounts to share with another family (like grandparents) if you like though. Another really great feature of the Ties service is called "Kudos". It lets you know by E-mail or text message when someone watched a Tie you created. Grandparents (again!) really like this feature!

And right now, there is a limited time special where you can try it out for free. Go to to check it out. And don't forget to stop by the Contact page to let us know what you think!


Ties That Bind Us<br/>Keeping Family Ties Strong!

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