Category Archives: Tips for Video Call

Video call tips

Video Chatting with Kids Hands Free

Trying to hold a phone or tablet doesn’t allow for much action when video chatting with kids. Innovative stands, mounts and devices can free your hands for interactive video chats that are easier and more fun.

We know that interactive chats are best for building relationships with kids and for learning. Your hands need to be free for interactive calls. Think about puppet shows, showing pictures in a book that you are reading, and teaching a child to knit while using your tablet or phone. The child will also need hands free to play with you or learn a skill. 

When using a desk top computer, or laptop on a desk, it’s easy to be hands-free. There are tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro computer that have the stand built in and covers for the iPad that support the tablet. 

Consider a basic bed tray table for adults or children who are bedridden. There are also bed and floor stands made specifically for computers. Stands for your existing tablet or phone are available in many sizes, and in a variety of materials and prices. Explore the multilevel soft pillow stands, and goose neck phone and tablet holders. 

Finding a stand that works for you is a snap. There are reviews of these products online to help you make a decision about what is best for you. Search online for bed tables, bed trays, tablet stands, and phone stands.

Enjoy playing with grandchildren without having to balance your electronic device.

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.

How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat

What are interactive video chats and why are they important for developing close bonds with children and grandchildren? The newest and most comprehensive book about video chat with children answers that question. Learn how to have fun while keeping children safe online.

Video chat is free, fun, easy to use, and one of the best ways for parents and grandparents to enjoy time with children who are miles away. This book is full of practical advice about how to make the best video calls, with over 100 suggestions for video chat activities with kids from infants to college age.

Video chats take place online. Danger is lurking as we see children under the age of two who, by watching parents, quickly learn to swipe the face of tablets and telephones to gain access. Learn about parental controls and privacy settings that will help you to keep your children safe online.

Learn about the “tech talk” and when you should start teaching children about internet safety. Know what  you need to teach your school age children and your teens to protect them. This is essential reading for parents who want to keep children safe online.

Discover

  • How interactive chats strengthen family bonds with kids
  • Why experts call video chat good screen time
  • Fun ideas for chats with all ages, infants to teens
  • Ideas for celebrating special occasions, birthdays, and holidays
  • How to stay connected after divorce
  • What you need to make a video call
  • The importance of Internet safety for children and adults

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.

5 Tips for Interactive Video Chat with School Age Kids

Engaging kids in a video chat can be a snap with a little preparation and a few fun, interactive activities. An interactive chat is one where there is action as well as communication. Interacting, rather than just chatting with children motivates them to pay attention, to participate, and to learn.

Start all chats with children and grandchildren by checking in with the parent. A  text or telephone call, confirming if it is a good time for a chat, will make your call welcome and more fun than chatting with a child who is tired, or hungry.

  • When communicating with school age children, talk to them in a mature manner as they will become insulted if they think you are treating them in a babyish way.
  • Sharing jokes and riddles is a favorite activity that will produce smiles & laughter. Consider purchasing a children’s joke book. Some of my favorites are Get the Giggles by David Bronwen, Laugh Attack by Highlights, or one of Rob Elliott’s Laugh Out Loud for Kids books. Try this one: What kind of bird has to wear a wig? A bald eagle.
  • Using a pad of paper or white board, play hangman selecting words that the child can easily identify. My granddaughter had recently lost her first tooth. Our word to spell that week was “tooth.”
  • Share objects found in nature that the child would see if they were visiting you. Shells, stones, plants, and a snakeskin are all of interest to children.
  • Reading is interactive if you use exaggerated expressions, sounds, ask questions, or take turns reading with the child. A chapter book during several video chats works well with older school age children.

Don’t forget to blow some kisses toward the screen at the end of the call. You can almost feel the affection headed in both directions.

Lillian Tibbles, PhD  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.

How To Get Help With Skype Video Calls

Skype has great support for users and it’s easy to find answers to your questions on their site. When you sign in look at the left sidebar for your name. To the right of your name select the three small dots. then select Help and feedback. A pop up box will appear where you will select Get help in the left column.  That takes you to the help page. shutterstock_90272782-650Right at the top of the page is a large search window. Just type in your question and click on the magnifying glass, or hit enter, to search for an answer. You can also look for answers below the search box. If 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

As I teach others to use Skype I often come across questions about features that I may not have used. I can find the answers here about using Skype for messaging, connecting to Facebook, using different devices and much more………..

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

 Contact me and share your video call ideas

Video Chat with Two and Three Year Olds

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Preschool children are on the go, running, climbing, and jumping. Their attention span is often short. Don’t expect a two year old to stay in front of a web cam for very long. Their attention span is about 3-6 minutes. Some of the best video calls at this age happen when the parent can position the computer so the web cam scans a large area of the room. Watch the child select toys to play with.

Parents can encourage interaction by suggesting the child show the caller a favorite toy. Often children will come smiling toward the computer to let you see what they have. Cars, trucks, pull toys, dolls, dress up clothes and costumes are all enjoyed at this age and can be shared with the caller.

Don’t be surprised if you preschooler who has enjoyed chatting unexpectedly decides that they don’t want to participate in a video chat. Enjoy chatting with parents or siblings and the reluctant participant may just saunter back to participate when they are ready. I have discovered that even on a day when a youngster is reluctant to interact he usually comes back to wave goodbye and throw some kisses my way.

Reading and Skype

Share stories with children or grandchildren on Skype no matter how far away you are. Reading to children on Skype or Face Time demonstrates your enthusiasm for reading and can encourage a child to read and love books. When reading to children during a video call shutterstock_57014594smtry using different voices for different characters or props to attract interest. Hold the book page close to the webcam after reading each page so the child can clearly see the pictures. Read poems and stories, and for older children, try newspaper or magazine articles.

Take a look at Pam Allyn’s book What to Read When for an extensive annotated list of more than three hundred book titles for children from birth to ten years. One of my grandson’s favorite books to read with me is Dinosaur. It has three sound buttons, stegosaurus’s sound, the sound of his stomping as he tries to find his friend Frog and the sound that Frog makes.

Sending a book that you have on Skype or Face Time to the child is a special gift.

If you have a favorite book to read on Skype contact me and let us know. 

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

 

 

How To Make A Skype Test Call

One of the features that I really like with the Skype app for video call is that you can make a Skype test call to check the sound of your computer speakers. Once you have signed on to your Skype account find the listing for Echo/Sound Test Service or Skype Test Call in Sound Testyour list of contacts.  If you don’t see Echo/Sound Test Service or Skype Test Call in your list of contacts type Test CallEcho in the search box right above your contacts and that should bring it up. Once you see the test, double click on the green call button and it will bring up the sound test window.

Click the green call button Test Callto start the test. Follow the instruction and you should hear a recording asking you to record a message. Record a short message…as simple as Testing 1-2-3. Once you stop speaking wait a few seconds and the test will play back your message. You will be able to hear and evaluate the quality of the sound. If you hear your own voice you have been successful in setting up your sound equipment. You then can click on the red telephone icon to hang up the test call. Red Phone

If you have a problem with the sound check out the troubleshooting videos in SKYPE HELP. Select HELP in the menu at the top of the page. This will bring up a page titled Solving Call Quality Problems (Windows Desktop). There are also links on this page for Mac and Linux users. Scroll down the page to find Audio in the list and follow that link to some helpful hints to solve a variety of common audio problems.

Follow these links to for instructions for Linux and Mac:

https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA11081/how-can-i-make-a-test-call-in-skype-for-linux

https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA10952/how-can-i-make-a-test-call-in-skype-for-mac-os-x

 ltibbles@videocallwithkids.com

How To Select A Video Call Application

Skype, FaceTime, Fring, Tango, Movicha are all applications available to make video calls, and  there are others. Which Application or app is best for you? Apple’s Macintosh computers offer the application called FaceTime to make video calls to other Mac computers, and to an iPad or iPhone. You need an Apple ID and email address to make video calls using FaceTime. All new apple products come with the FaceTime application already installed so unless you have an older device you will not have to download the FaceTime video call app.

FaceTime has the limitation that it cannot be used to make video call to devices that are not Apple products. Unlike Skype which can be used with most computers, including FaceTime2Apple computers, FaceTime is only compatible with Apple devices. FaceTime is also limited to making calls over Wi-Fi or cellular, this limits where you can make calls. At this time group calls are also not possible with FaceTime. Most FaceTime users agree that it is very easy to use and the video quality is usually great, so FaceTime is a good app for users of Apple Products.

Many computers, that are not Apple products come with the Skype app installed. The big advantage of Skype is that you can call any computer with Skype including Apple Skype Logocomputers. If you don’t have Skype installed you can quickly download the app to your computer or telephone by going to www.skype.com. Be sure that you are on the official Skype website when downloading this app.

Another advantage of Skype is that you can make group calls. While on a video call with any contact, you can add another contact-Skype says up to ten contacts. This is an especially nice feature when
celebrating holidays and other special occasions with family members that are in several different locations. Skype requires that you have their Premium Membership to make group calls.

Skype, Fring, Tango and Movicha all allow you to make video calls between Apple
and Android devices. When selecting an application to make video calls you need to consider the type of devices – phone, tablet and computer you have, as well as the type
of devices that the people you want to call have.

If all your calls are to other Apple devices FaceTime is fine. However, if you will be calling others who do not have Apple devices you will want to consider Skype or one of the other applications.

ltibbles@videocallwithkids.com

 

 

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