I don’t know about you, but my family hates being so far away from my kids and my kids miss their grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles terribly. Visiting often is just not an option for us. So Skyping/Facetime has become the next best thing.
I am so grateful for this technology but it does at times create it’s own challenges. My 3 year old for example will ask to call someone, then once they are on the screen he runs out of the room. Sometimes he just wants to watch TV and can’t even manage a hello.
We have tried a few different things to help foster better communication with our family but we always have to be realistic that we are a dealing with a little kid who sometimes just loves to say “no”.
Kid Plays, Family Watches: Most days my son doesn’t want to talk, but he wants to show people what he can do. Just today he asked to Facetime with family and then proceeded to spin in circles for 10 minutes to his favorite song. I think my parents had had enough after 5 minutes but they hung in there a little bit longer. Other things he has shown them is how fast he can run, how he rides his bike, how he plays the drums or guitar, and how he plays doctor. He also loves to show his artwork.
Grandparent plays, Kid Watches: Not all family members can get silly, but what a great way to bond if they can. If a family member wants to use sock puppets, or talk in silly voices or sing songs, that’s a sure way to get your little one’s attention.
Reading books together: There are a few different ways for this to work. The family member can have a book and hold it up to the computer for your child to see. You can each have your own copy of the book on either end. Or another option is to use an online story. You can access free stories here and both follow along as ones reads to the other.
Play together: I have heard people recommend playing board games together, which I haven’t tried yet, but I know when we play Candyland, my little guy picks the cards and moves the pieces for us anyway so this wouldn’t be much of a stretch. I just don’t know if I can subject anyone else to Candyland at this point☺ For school aged children Monopoly would be a good choice.
Skyping during meals: We put the computer right on the table during dinner and talk to the grandparents. My son is in his highchair and not going anywhere and he has the distraction of eating to not make him feel shy and on the spot. This can work with all age groups.
Watch together: You can stream movies or television together which provides opportunity for commentary. Try this out with your teenagers.
Hopefully, some of these suggestions can help. Remember, they are kids and it’s totally normal for them to not want to always participate. Ask for understanding from family and being open to ne