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.
One of the activities all my grandchildren love to share on Skype is reading books with sound. 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.
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:
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 Bedelia’s First Valentine by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril
The Story of Valentine’s Day by Nancy Skarmeas
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.
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.
Share your video call ideas with me – firstname.lastname@example.org
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 feedback. A pop up box will appear where you can select Get help . That also takes you to the Skype help page.
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.
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.
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 try 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.
What is the most important reason to learn to use video call apps like Skype and FaceTime? Video call can keep you connected to your family. I just returned
from Wyoming and a visit with two of my grandchildren. I am separated from my daughter and her children by 3,000 miles. My son and his family are 700+ miles from where I live in Florida. Despite the separation of those many miles, my grandchildren know me well and are comfortable being with me when we visit in person.
Upon my arrival in Wyoming my 3 year old grandson ran into my arms. I picked him up and we hugged and felt the love that we share for each other. His mom had told him that I would be arriving and he waited expectantly for the visit. Later he said “Grammy I have lots of people that love me,” it warmed my heart.
Our 6 month old greeted me with a big smile. Because our Skype visits are frequent, both children have no difficulty being with me, even when months pass between actual visits.
Another important reason to use video call is that young children are much more comfortable sharing their thoughts when they can see you face to face, rather than on a telephone call. I know what my grandchildren like. Chatting online I learned that our 3 year old loves superheroes and he was very excited to receive some hero stickers from me. He also loves to help bake and cook simple foods. So I made opportunities for us to prepare muffins and simple breakfast dishes together. Video call has kept us close. If you haven’t tried it, do it today. Don’t miss out on this wonderful way to stay connected.
Contact me and share your video call ideas
Simple jokes are a wonderful way to get children giggling. With video call you can see the smiles as well as hear the laughter. Both the library and internet are great resources for riddles and jokes. Below are a few to get you started.
Why does a flamingo lift up one leg?
Because if he lifted up both legs, he would fall down!
Why do birds fly south in the winter?
Because it’s too far to walk!
What is a volcano?
A mountain with hiccups!
Have fun, be silly and share some giggles.
Contact me and share your video call ideas
Video call is a must for parents who travel for work, and for military families. It’s also great fun for grandmothers like me. February’s holidays and special occasions are times to share with your little ones on Skype or FaceTime .
If you want to have the best Valentine’s Day ever make a video call and ask what the child thinks love is – get ready for some wonderful definitions. Watch younger children open Valentines and send craft supplies to older children and watch them make Valentines. Read The Story of Valentine’s Day by Nancy Skarmeas to toddlers and young children.
February also brings Presidents’ Day and Flag Day. This is a good opportunity to ask children if they know why we celebrate Presidents’ Day. Wear red, white and blue; display a flag that can be discussed. Send a small flag that the child can wave. Read President’s Day by David Marx.
Contact me and share your favorite video call holiday ideas.
I just love all the great video call ideas that I get from friends and family. My friend Carol recently shared her experience playing Hide and Seek with her 3 year old granddaughter Meghan. Hide and Seek is a game where one player attempts to conceal their location while other players attempt to find them.
This is a favorite game for children of all ages. Hide and seek can be played indoors or outdoors, with several children or just one. With older children and multiple players outdoors would be more practical. A tree or other landmark is designated as Home Base. As the person who is It searches, all players attempt to reach the safety of Home Base.
With a young child remaining in one room that has some favorite hiding places is just fine. Setting down some rules is a good idea. For example Megan knew in advance that she would be hiding in the family room only. Grandma would be It – the person who attempts to find the child.
Meghan’s mom signed onto Skype on her mobile phone in Pennsylvania. Carol was sitting at home in Florida. Meghan was excitedly waiting to play one of her favorite games with her grandmother.
To begin the game the person who is It covers their eyes with their hands and slowly counts to ten – grandma began to count while Meghan scampered to one of her favorite hiding places. The person who is It is not allowed to peek until the count is done. Once the person who is It is finished counting they shout Ready or not here I come!
With a little help from mom – moving the mobile phone to look behind the sofa and under a table, grandma was able to search for Meghan. Finally two little feet where spotted behind a curtain and Meghan squealed with delight. Of course, she wanted to play again and again.
Don’t let the distance stop you from enjoying playing games with the children you are far away from. Be creative – have fun with video call!
Contact me and share your video call ideas