Puppets Can Increase Attention Span When Video Chatting With Kids

Envision using puppets and playing 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 chat. When she makes a video call she mainly talks with her grandchildren. However, her 5 year old granddaughter has a very short attention span and after just a few minutes is no longer interested in talking. Calling and talking to young children is fun but there are so many other interactive activities that children enjoy much more than talking. Interactive activities have also 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 for video chat was a small, bright red lobster. It’s a finger puppet that I purchased in a children’s store while traveling in Maine. My grandchildren named him Red. Then I found other finger puppets in a Carter’s Outlet store and the tiger and dragon puppets joined the family.

Melissa and Doug have a large collection of soft hand puppets that appeal to a variety of ages. My younger grandchildren have played with the Brave Buddies puppets while visiting with me in Florida and love to see them on the screen when chatting with me. The puppets are comfortable for a child’s hand so they make a perfect gift. You can purchase a set of 4 and send 2 to a favorite child for a two way video chat puppet show.

The next time a young child’s attention span seems to drift, say hello with a puppet and you may be surprised that you have given the two of you the gift of a little more time together.

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.

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. 

ENJOY VALENTINE’S DAY WITH SKYPE AND FACETIME

It’s so much fun to share your love face-to-face with those you are separated from. Skype and FaceTime can help you to give the best Valentine’s gift of all. It’s easy and it’s free! Almost all computers come with a video call application (app). Apple computers come with FaceTime and those using Microsoft Windows come with Skype. You can download Skype to any computer if you don’t have it.

Parents and grandparents separated from the children they love can talk about what love is and their love for the child. “Daddy loves you and I’m so happy to see you on this special day.” Read to the child one of many children’s books with a Valentine’s theme, here are just a few:
Curious George via-amazon

Happy Valentine’s Day, Curious George by N. DiAngelo and Mary O’Keefe Young

My Fuzzy Valentine (Sesame Street) by Naomi Kleinberg and Louis Womble
Amelia Bedella3

Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril

The Story of Valentine’s Day by Nancy Skarmeas  Valentine's Day

 

Don’t forget to blow a kiss when you say good-by. Even very young children enjoy catching your kisses and sending their love to you with a kiss on a video call.

 

 

 

 

Kids, Jokes, and Video Chat

Have you tried telling jokes during a video chat?  With school age children this can be lots of fun. Keep them simple: Why do birds fly north in the winter? Because it’s too far to walk! Or, What is a volcano? A mountain with hiccups! I just discovered Rob Elliott’s book LAUGH OUT LOUD JOKES FOR KIDS. Elliott includes Question & Answer jokes, Animal jokes, Knock Knock jokes, Tongue Twisters and some funny questions to think about.

In the Knock Knock jokes section there are jokes with children’s names. If the child that you video chat with is named Anna, Samantha, Lee, Cameron, or many others, there is a Knock Knock joke for that name – Wow!! If you didn’t find the name of your child or grandchild the book will give you ideas so you can make up your own personalized Knock Knock joke.
Have fun!

Share your video call ideas with me –  ltibbles@videocallwithkids.com

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.

Video Chat with Two and Three Year Olds

shutterstock_84466006

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. 

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