Category Archives: Virtual Visitation and Divorce

Virtual Visitation & Electronic Communication Following Divorce

Virtual visitation or electronic-visitation with Skype or FaceTime has opened up a new way to stay connected with children following divorce. In the best of situations parents will focus on what is best for the child following separation or divorce. Research clearly shows that children do best when they have contact with both parents, and that they suffer when an adversarial approach is taken. Although virtual visitation or e-visitation is not meant to be a substitute or replacement for face-to-face visitation, it does open up many new opportunities for non custodial parents.

How Can You Get Started with Virtual Visitation?

It is important for parents to understand how the affects of divorce vary with the age of the child. A good developmental book like The American Academy of Pediatrics Guide, Caring For Your Baby and Young Child can be helpful. A summary of these stages in also included in my book Learn To Video Call With Kids. Know what books, and activities are appropriate to share at different ages. For example, you can connect with infants with just your voice. Infants can recognize the voices of their parents if they have heard those voices prior to birth. Older babies love songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Pat-A-Cake as well as books with big bright pictures. Playing peek-a-boo with a scarf or towel is fun for young children and hand or finger puppets can quickly draw attention to you on the computer monitor.

As children get older they love to “show and tell” about their activities, toys, or milestones like stacking blocks, riding a tricycle, playing dress up. You can share hobbies, play an instrument, celebrate birthdays and holidays and watch children open gifts.

Virtual Visitation Can Be Court Mandated

Like all other custodial questions it is better if parents can work out solutions together. When that isn’t possible courts in seven states now can mandate electronic visitation.

States that currently mandate  virtual visitation include: 
Utah, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Indiana. Legislative efforts and pre-draft bills can be found in other states. A good website that provides links to state virtual visitation and child custody laws is http://www.internetvisitation.org.  The links can be found on their Legislation page. 

Consider virtual visitation with Skype or FaceTime and enjoy seeing as well as hearing your child.

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