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.

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.

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.

 

Fun With Puppets and Video Chat

Envision playing with puppets with children or grandchildren during a video chat. My friend Susan was surprised to learn that playing with puppets is a fun activity for video chats. When she video chats she mainly talks with her grandchildren. However, she was curious about why I would plan activities for chats with my grandchildren. Calling and talking is great but there are also so many activities that are interactive and that children enjoy much more that talking. Interactive activities also have been shown to build strong bonds with children.

Playing with puppets is fun for toddlers and older children as well. The first puppet that I MelissaandDougadded to my collection was a small, bright red lobster. It’s a finger puppet that I purchased in a children’s store while traveling in Maine. We named him Red. Then I found other finger puppets in a Carter’s Outlet store and the tiger and dragon puppets joined the group.

Melissa and Doug have a large collection of soft puppets for a variety of ages. My younger grandchildren have played with the Brave Buddies puppets while visiting with me in Florida. The puppets are comfortable for a child hand. They are also perfect to use for a video chat. If you are a parent who travels for work, consider adding a puppet to your suitcase. Have the puppet share with your children where the two of you are, what your day has been like, and that you miss being with them. Children like to play so don’t hesitate to play with them  with puppets during your video chat.

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.