Long Distance Love!
Connecting Kids With Family.
Technology lets us connect like never before. Here are some great ideas from real parents about texting and video tools like ooVoo, Facetime, Skype and Google Hangout.
My parents are not tech-savvy, but my son helped them set up their iPad and they use it to FaceTime with him.
At 3 she can FaceTime with her grandparents (whom she only gets to see a few times a year). She will tell me that she wants to talk to them, and then will bring me the iPad and ask if she can call. It was harder to teach her grandparents to FaceTime than it was to teach her.
My daughter has connected more with her cousin that lives 2 hours away. They text each other often. It has been nice to see them grow closer.
When I travel for work I get to FaceTime my 2-year old each night and read to him. He knows how to start a FaceTime on his own and can call me for a story.
I'm away for work often and I can be with my family for meals virtually via Skype!
We have begun a series of vlogs. We're always filming family events, but we never get to share them because we have hours and hours of unedited footage. Together we pick out the best few scenes from the movies and crop out everything else. Then we use the laptop's webcam to film an introduction of us talking about the event. We even pick out music for opening and closing credits. It's a fun father-son activity. He's also begun learning to "play" the drums by playing Rock Band. It's been excellent for developing his hand-eye coordination. I'll play the guitar and my wife will sing and it's a whole new take on family game night.
My kids have been able to video chat with our family in California (we currently live in Arkansas).
My daughter has a diagnosed mental illness and struggles with school and making appropriate choices. Texting me allows her a comfortable way to reach out when she is in times of crisis, often while we are in the same house. The texting allows her a bubble of comfort that direct contact does not. It also lays the ground work for me to text back, "Hey, let's talk in person about this."
I have one son and daughter. Using FaceTime, ooVoo and Skype means they can spend time with their school friends without having to have them over.
When my wife and I went away for a parents' vacation, our daughter stayed with Grandma but was able to Skype with us. This was especially reassuring as Hurricane Sandy hit while we were away and our flight home was delayed.