Virtual visitation or electronic-visitation with Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or other video chat apps has opened up a new way to stay connected with children following 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. In the best of situations parents will focus on what is best for the child following separation or divorce. 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 what the child enjoys doing during a chat at different ages. A good developmental book like The American Academy of Pediatrics Guide, Caring For Your Baby and Young Child can be helpful. There are also many resources online such as the www.cdc.gov, www.scholastic.com, and www.pbs.org/parents.
Use these resources to learn what books, and activities are appropriate for you to share with your child 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 many states can now mandate electronic visitation as part of a parenting plan or child custody order.
Consider virtual visitation with video chat apps and enjoy seeing as well as hearing your child.
Lillian Tibbles PhD is the 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.