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.