Category Archives: Especially for Grandparents

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. 

How To Get Help With Skype For Video Chat

For those that are new to video chat consider using the Skype software. Skype, which is one of the most established video chat apps, has good access to support for users. It’s easy to find answers to your questions on the website Skype.com by selecting Get help at the top of the page, and then selecting Skype support. A page with a large search screen pops up. Just type in your question and click on the magnifying glass, or hit enter, to search for an answer. You can get Skype for your computer, without charge by selecting the link to download the software.  For tablets and phones you go to the app store for your devise and download the app. You will be instructed to create a user name and password. Skype is available for Apple and Android devices.

When you are signed in to use Skype you can also easily access this same help page. To the right of your name select the three small dots. Then select Help and feedbackA pop up box will appear where you can select Get help That also takes you to the Skype help page.

shutterstock_90272782-650If you are new to Skype select the smiley face icon to Get Started. Find the list for answers about the latest version of Skype, and below that a list for frequently asked questions – FAQ

You can find the answers on the help page about using Skype for messaging, connecting to Facebook, using different devices and much more………..

If you are a visual learner there are also short videos available on YouTube that will help you to enjoy using Skype. 

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 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

Video Call, Children and Music

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Using music during a video call is a wonderful way to interact with children. Singing Pat a Cake, Pat a Cake got the attention of my grandson at five months of age. As I began singing he looked directly at me on the computer screen and smiled while his mother put his hands together and clapped. Repetition of favorite songs is so much fun for children.

Itsy Bitsy Spider is another favorite.  Playing games with songs and gentle touch will pull the child’s attention to the computer screen. Children as young as five or six months can play with a little assistance. A parent holding the child can gently move her fingers up the baby’s arms to stimulate the itsy bitsy spider climbing the water spout. Clapping baby’s hands together while singing Pat a Cake helps the child participate with you in a musical game they delight in. There is no shortage of great children’s songs. If need to refresh your memory look in my book Learn to Video Call With Kids where I list over fifty favorite children’s songs. Children’s songs can also be found on the Internet.

Two and three year olds can play simple instruments and a good quality child’s xylophone is great fun for the child to play for you during a video call. Older children who are taking music lessons can share a new song they have learned during your call. If both you and the child play an instrument, play a song together during your video call. You may be miles apart but you will enjoy the activity as if you were in the same room.

 

 Contact me and share your video call ideas

 

Video Call and Hearing Accessibility

One in five computer users are believed to have some hearing loss. Add the large number shutterstock_80960722of aging boomers to the mix and those needing assistance with hearing while using  a computer is likely to rise.

Video call is helpful for those with hearing problems as it allows for face-to-face contact, lip reading and sign language. Winks, smiles and other facial gestures, which can be seen with video call, are helpful in understanding speech. With Skype, ichat or
FaceTime, students and adults can communicate easily with sign language.Mixer

speakers buttonThe quality and volume of sound can be adjusted on computers and hand held devices such as phones.  On computers look for the speaker button located on the task bar – often on the bottom of your screen. When you click on this icon the volume mixer should open, or you may have to select it, but it looks similar to the picture on the right. You can raise or lower the volume of your speakers using the slide bar on the volume mixer.

Skype has a great feature where you can make a test call to check your computer speakers and quality of the sound. In your Skype contacts you will see Echo/Sound Test or Skype Test Call. Once you see the test button double click on it and it will bring up the sound test window. If you click on the green call button you can start the test. You will be asked to record a short message. When you stop speaking your will be able to hear your voice recording played back and hear the quality of the sound.

The sound can also be improved for some with a headset – speakers worn right on the ears. Some headsets plug into the computer, others are wireless. There is a wide range of hearing assistive features that are available with all computer products. You can search online on the following sites for some great ideas for hearing accessibility:

http://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/#hearing

https://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/hearing.aspx

 ltibbles@videocallwithkids.com

 

 

 

What Grandparents Need To Know

shutterstock_124710580At a recent book club meeting my friend Karen approached me with a concern that her daughter-in-law was not too keen on video calls. “I think that after the first fifteen minutes they just don’t seem that interested in continuing the call. Do you think we should make the calls shorter?” Karen solved her own problem.

Young children and busy, or tired parents often enjoy short calls at a time that works best for their schedule. New parents are often exhausted from sleepless nights and busy days caring for their children. Attention spans of young children are short.

With our own children we often let them initiate the call when the time is right for our grandchildren. Your video call will be welcomed and more enjoyable for all if you keep it short and let the parent determine the best time to call.

Contact me and share your video call ideas