BUILDING STRONG BONDS WITH KIDS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING
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 Coronavirus has separated many families and I want to let you know that developing strong bonds with children is possible with 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, it’s fun, and 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’ve 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 has learned to throw a football and we were both excited as it flew across my computer screen.
Start today, get the app have fun and start building strong bond!
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.
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.
Skype, FaceTime, Google + and Facebook all have video chat options. It’s important to know that these are designed for adult use. Children need to be protected from internet fraud when using these apps. Danger is lurking as we see children under the age of two who have quickly learned to swipe the face of tablets and phones to gain access.
Vigilance in using and checking the privacy settings on all devices that a child will have access to is the first step. Young children should never use a video chat app without supervision. Discussion with the child about internet safety is also crucial. Accepting a calls from someone not in the child’s contact list can be dangerous – predators often mask as friends. Parents must discuss the importance of never accepting calls from anyone the child does not know. Consider visiting the FBI Online Safety site with your child – click here: https://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety.
Skype’s provides this warning and good advice on their website:
Skype’s websites and software are not intended for or designed to attract users under the age of 13. We encourage parents to be involved in the online activities of their children to make sure that no information is collected from a child without parental permission.
We take the safety of Skype end users very seriously and have security measures in place to help protect children, who have appropriate parental permissions to use Skype, from being contacted by strangers. These include:
- Only allowing people in the child’s contact list to contact the child using Skype, including voice and video calls, chat messages and sharing screens.
- Hiding the age, date of birth and gender of children on profile pages, so others cannot see this information.
- Hiding children from search results unless they are returned as an exact match by Skype Name or email.
Important: Our security measures are based on the date of birth provided by the end user when creating a profile, so it is very important to enter the correct information.
FaceTime recommends parents use Settings to turn off the option to use FaceTime and turn it on when a parent is present. For older children who know how to get to the settings you may want to consider a password to protect the device.
Consider a program like Skypito for younger children – click here for more information:
The Intel Security Company also has a guide for keeping video chats safe – click here: https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/parents-to-know-video-chat
If safely used video chatting is great for kids. They can stay in contact with a parent who is not home, call grandparents, do homework, and be with friends. Share some of the ways that you keep your children safe online – firstname.lastname@example.org
www.videocallwithkids.com – Like us on Facebook.
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.