Category Archives: Especially for Grandparents

Show & Tell With Grammy and Video Chat

Show & Tell is a fun activity for video chat. “Let’s call Grammy, it’s her turn to Show & Tell.” This was a delightful request from my two school age grandchildren who love to play Show & Tell during a video chat. And it was in fact my turn. I was gardening when they called, and I had just chopped off the top of a Ti plant. I knew exactly what they would enjoy seeing and hearing about.

I fired up my video chat app with one hand while holding a 3-foot cutting from the plant in the other hand. I relished the cheers and laughter when the kids spotted the large plant. The Ti plant has bold, colorful, foliage with streaks of pink, purple and green, it is impressive. We chatted about the plant, where it came from in my yard, how tall it could grow, and lastly, what I was going to do with it. I was going to plant it in a pot.

Some of our family’s best video chats were an old-fashioned Show & Tell session. A grandchild comes home from daycare or school with a work of art or a newly completed project and my daughter will suggest they call Grammy so she can see it. Another child might score a goal in a soccer match and call to describe the feat. If parents can take a few minutes to share the child’s excitement with other family members there is a lot of energy and good fun in the call.

Some advice to grandparents……if parents (especially working parents) know that they can make a quick video call they will do it more frequently. You will enjoy seeing the excitement in the child’s facial expression and well as hearing their voice. Over the years we have found that although longer calls with our adult children and grandchildren are wonderful, many of the shorter calls have been great fun!

What can you share with your grandkids?

Lillian Tibbles is a grandmother and author of 3 books about Video Chat with Kids.
Her latest book How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat is available
in both digital and print format.

Enjoy July 4th With A Video Chat

The 4th, as the holiday is sometimes referred to, is often celebrated with family events. This year, with the Corona virus present more families than ever are separated from their loved ones. Independence Day is a national holiday celebrating the date that the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. Although the separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776 the document providing for the legal separation wasn’t finalized until July 4th.  Although there is some debate about whether the Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th that is the date that appears on the document.

Create new traditions that connect you with your family across the miles. Wave or display a flag when you say hello when making a video call. Talk about celebrating the country’s birthday and play or listen to patriotic music. With social distancing there are fewer parades, picnics, and sporting events that the child may be participating in, or that you can share with the child. If you can capture an outdoor event like a parade, or fireworks do it from a distance and share on a tablet or phone. For older children and teens create a trivia game with facts about this period in history.

Read History for Kids: The Fourth of July for Kids by Ian Fraser, or The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh, The Night Before the Fourth of July by Natasha Wing or F is for Flag by Trudi Strain Trueit, or any of the over 50 books written for children about this holiday.

One of my favorite video chat visits was listening to and watching my grandchildren’s excitement in describing the parade that they had just attended. They proudly displayed the beads and candy thrown from parade floats and waved small flags. Seeing the excitement on their faces was priceless. If their parade has been canceled this year, talk about what they recall about parades they have attended in the past.  If they were able to attend an outdoor event ask what they did to stay a safe distance from others and why that is important this year.

 Lillian Tibbles is a grandmother and author of 3 books about Video Chat with Kids.
Her latest book How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat is available
in both digital and print format.

Building Strong Bonds With Kids During The Corona Virus

My grandchildren and I have been socially distancing for the past 10 years. It wasn’t because of a virus. Two of my grandchildren live 3000 miles away from me and always have. A third grandchild also lives in a different state. Today the Corona virus has separated many families and I want to let you know that developing strong bonds with children is possible when using video chat.

There are many video chat apps that will connect you to the children you love. Whether you use Skype, FaceTime, Google Duo, Facebook, or Zoom you are only seconds away from developing strong bonds. It’s easy and it’s fun. If you are not chatting with kids get started today. Children love to see a face as well as hear your voice.

Interactive chats build relationships. An interactive chat is one where there is action and communication between two people. Children become motivated to pay attention, to participate, and to learn when you interact with them. If you play an echo game and repeat a baby’s sounds, he will be draw to your voice. Toddlers love to play peek-a-boo. Using a scarf to hide behind or moving away from the camera and then popping back delights young children during a call.

Reading to a child and discussing the book, or having the child make the sounds of animals or vehicles in a story is fun and interactive. Show and tell is one of my grandchildren’s favorite interactive activities. Sometimes I do the showing, presenting an object like a shell that I have found on a walk. The children love to show me books, toys, clothes, and sports equipment. One of my grandson’s wanted to show me how well he had learned to throw a football and we were both excited as it flew across my computer screen.

Start today and have fun building strong family bonds!

Lillian Tibbles is a grandmother and author of 3 books about Video Chat with Kids.
Her latest book How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat is available
in both digital and print format.

Babies and Toddlers Are Learning During Video Chat

I love seeing and talking to my grandchildren with video chat. It doesn’t surprise me then that interactive video chats can also be a means for babies and toddlers to learn, and to develop and maintain relationships with others.

In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics discouraged screen time for kids under 2 years of age. These guidelines were developed when the screen time was not interactive, but mainly prerecorded video. Watching video is a sedentary activity, inactive rather than interactive.  A prerecorded video cannot interact with the child viewing it. Children spending too much passive screen time were found to have poor language skills and often missed out on other activities that were important for development.

Skype, FaceTime, Google Duo, Facebook, Zoom, and other video chat apps provide for an interactive relationship. Lauren Myers, PhD and colleagues at Lafayette College have demonstrated that video chat provides for an interactive relationship with others. This is great news for grandparents and parents.

Children in Myers’s study quickly noticed the difference between live and prerecorded video. Children were more interactive with FaceTime live video, than with the prerecorded video used in the study. They learned social information, and they preferred and recognized someone they had met via video chat rather than the instructor on a prerecorded video.  They also learned cognitive information like new words and patterns.

The conclusion is that children will engage and learn from screen time interactions. Video chat can represent quality time with your children or grandchildren. 

Lillian Tibbles is a grandmother and author of 3 books about Video Chat with Kids.
Her latest book How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat is available
in both digital and print format.

 

Skype and Your College Student

Using Skype is one of the best ways to stay connected to your college age children & grandchildren. My Mom always said “you never stop being a parent”. Those words have repeated in my mind many times over the years. However, in addition to the trials of being a parent we also get to enjoy the joys of seeing our children’s successes as they head off to college.

Along with typical college supplies, today’s students are bringing Skype to college with them on their smart phones and computers. Colleges are developing Virtual Advising Centers. Once the teen becomes a student on campus, virtual appointments can be scheduled with their assigned advisor.  Skype is also developing a Resident Advisor Program where students can ask questions and share information with other students.

Most high school students have learned to connect with peers electronically. Now you will want to transfer that skill to staying connected with family. Telephone calls are fine but they can’t compare with actually seeing the person you miss being with. Facial expressions provide clues to feeling that may not be expressed.

Show and tell is still a favorite activity for students as they go off to college. The dorm room, the crowd at the football game, and a new friend are all fun for parents to see on Skype. Younger siblings who miss their older brother or sister can connect in this  special way.

Most important is to discuss how, when and how often you and your student will communicate so that you are not disappointed, and the student has the opportunity to learn to become independent.

Share Books With Sound With Skype and FaceTime

One of the activities all my grandchildren love to share on Skype is reading books with Dinosaur350sound. It all began when I purchased Dinosaur written by Mark Radar and illustrated by Casey Sanborn. Dinosaur, whose name is Stegosaurus, is searching for his friend Frog. There is a button to make the sound of Stegosaurus, a second button to hear Stegosaurus stomp as he searches and a third button to hear Frog. What child doesn’t enjoy a game of hid and seek!

“Grammy, read Dinosaur.” All my grandchildren began to request that I read this book. When they came to visit the book was there for us to read together and it was enjoyed as an old familiar friend. Since that time I have added other books with sound. Roger Priddy has written many including Noisy Trucks. Others include Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Bill Martin and Around The Farm by Eric Carle. Consider reading books with sound as they have great appeal to children 16 months to school age.

Watch Plants Grow With Skype & FaceTime

Spring is in the air. Skype and video call have helped me share a great miracle of nature with my grandson.  He and I have been watching a pineapple top that I planted in a pot on my lanai when he was 2 years old. He has been very patient, but not disappointed. Pineapples are easy to grow, especially if you live in a warm climate. My friend Ruth had several in pots on her screened porch and I was hooked. All of those pests, that seem to bother my other plants, ignore the tough, thick leaves of my grandson’s pineapple.

We have watched it grow together with amazement . The first year it grew a lot! In Florida we have a year-round growing season and it loves the sun and heat. I took my small tablet computer outdoors to show him the progress during a video call on Skype. I emailed pictures to him. When he visited last spring he brought his small, soft, toy monkey out to see the pineapple whose leaves had grown to about 2 feet long in just one year.

We are both excitedly awaiting his visit to Florida next month – he is now 4 years old. He has seen the exciting progress that nature has produced. A red flower tucked into the center of the plant now looks like a miniature pineapple. It is a beautiful sight! I have three preschool grandchildren who will visit in April and I have no doubt that they will all be excited to see the pineapple plant. With a video call they will be able to see that pineapple mature and we will all be able to follow the progress on future video calls after they return home.

Share the joy of watching plants grow with the children in your life. Share your stories with us. 

Skype and the First Trip to The Dentist

shutterstock_103939727DentiMy own recent visit to the dentist brought back a great memory of the day that our three year old grandson visited the dentist for the first time. He was so enthusiastic about the visit that my daughter suggested a Skype visit so he could tell us all about it.

He was smiling broadly when he appeared on the Skype screen. He chatted about every detail of the visit. How the office looked, and the earphones he wore to listen to music while his teeth were cleaned. With glee he showed us the the toy ice cream cone that he received as gift from the dentist as he excitedly popped the ice cream – a foam rubber ball – from the cone several times. Lastly, he showed us the Hulk tooth brush (one of his favorite characters) and the floss that he had received in a “goodie bag” from the dentist.

This was one of our favorite Skype visits because our grandson shared a first experience with us as we sat back and enjoyed listening. We are fortunate that our children often suggest a video call when one of the children is especially excited about something special, a new activity, or a new accomplishment. It can be some of their art work, a gift received, a trip to the park, or the first trip to the dentist. We have watched first steps and listened to first words – Skype has given us great memories to enjoy. Video call with apps like Skype, FaceTime or Google video can do the same for you.

 

Contact me and share your video call ideas

 

 

Talking to Children on Skype and FaceTime

Communicating with children is sometimes a challenge, particularly when you are separated. Recently my friend Barbara told me that she sometimes found it difficult to find topics to talk withArtwork her grandchildren about while on Skype. Parents or grandparents can quickly learn to ask questions that will encourage conversation and get more than just a yes or no answer. In our family a favorite question is:

What was the best thing that happened today?

The following are ten basic questions that might help you get started during a video call:

1.     I heard that you had a great day today – can you tell me about it?

 2.     I heard that you had a rough day today – can you tell me about it?

 3.    What do you think you should have done?

4.     What will you do next time?

 5.     What happened next?

6.     What do you like to do after school?

 7.     I see you have a new haircut, new shirt, lost tooth….tell me about that?

 8.     I feel sad about that; how do you feel?

 9.     Can you tell me about your dog?

 10.  And then what happened?

 Don’t hesitate to ask children what they would like to talk about or share something that you did in your day. By age 3 many children have a vocabulary of several hundred words and can speak in sentences. Consider teaching a limerick, a song, or reading a poem or book that the child can enjoy. Don’t let the distance be a barrier to finding topics that you can enjoy together.

 

Contact me and share your video call ideas

 

 

Why Using Video Call Is Important for Families That Are Separated

What is the most important reason to learn to use video call apps like Skype and FaceTime? Video call can keep you connected to your family. I just returned
from Wyoming and a visit with two of my grandchildren. I am separated from my daughter and her children by 3,000 miles. My son and his family are 700+ miles from where I live in Florida. Despite the separation of those many miles, my grandchildren know me well and are comfortable being with me when we visit in person.

Upon my arrival in Wyoming my 3 year old grandson ran into my arms. I picked him up and we hugged and felt the love that we share for each other. His mom had told him that I would be arriving and he waited expectantly for the visit. Later he said “Grammy I have lots of people that love me,” it warmed my heart.

Our 6 month old greeted me with a big smile. Because our Skype visits are frequent, both children have no difficulty being with me, even when months pass between actual visits.

Another important reason to use video call is that young children are much more comfortable sharing their thoughts when they can see you face to face, rather than on a telephone call.  I know what my grandchildren like. Chatting online I learned that our 3 year old loves superheroes and he was very excited to receive some hero stickers from me.  He also loves to help bake and cook simple foods. So I made opportunities for us to prepare muffins and simple breakfast dishes together.  Video call has kept us close. If you haven’t tried it, do it today. Don’t miss out on this wonderful way to stay connected.

Contact me and share your video call ideas