Monday, February 23, 2015

A Wonderful Way to Grandparent Across the Miles

Developing a relationship with a toddler across the miles can be a tricky thing.  As my son's child is approaching his second year of life, I realize that I am arriving late to the grandparenting-via-the-internet scene. Suddenly, here we are.  Reading to my grandbaby online has been a wonderful experience. But it requires the right book.  I have found that Dr. Seuss' Hop On Pop is the perfect book right now.

Video Calling versus Telephone Calls


My son and I talk on the phone. I treasure those phone calls. But when we try putting the baby on the phone it's no good. At least, not with my grandbaby.  He got to the stage that he would listen for a second, but wouldn't respond.  I think he only wanted to push the pretty buttons. So we have begun using video calling.

I consider myself technologically challenged. I can move around the internet adequately but I have to use fairly simple programs.  As I realized that my grandbaby was getting to the age that he could begin to understand that "Gramma" is a real person, I began to want more time with him.  Of all the video calling programs, I chose Skype to help create some time to visit.  I just muddled through on my own but if you would like more help, there are articles such as Using Skype to Connect with Grandchildren of All Ages to provide both instruction and ideas.

Choosing the Video Calling Program


My son reading to my grandbaby and I
Skype is easy to use, even for me. There are many video calling programs out there and you can choose the one that works for you. But I've chosen Skype.  On Skype, I like the ease of use.  I like the feeling of privacy, I have to answer the call and I don't have random video screens popping up of things I don't want to see  (and that some people should have the sense not to show). The split view shows the small view of me as well as the large window that shows my son and grandbaby.  This split window screen helps me see what I am showing to my grandbaby - especially while i'm reading a book.

The challenge with Skyping with a toddler has less to do with the program and more to do with being interesting.  Let's face it, looking at Gramma on a screen isn't as interesting as pounding on the keyboard or running around the house.  So, trying to keep a toddler's attention isn't easy but it can be done.

Being the Attention-Grabbing Gramma


There are many ways to get and keep the attention of a toddler while online; albeit sometimes not for very long. I mimic my grandbaby. If he is showing me his Snoopy slippers, I show him my socks.  If he shows me a toy, I try to show him something interesting.  In those small ways, he keeps interested.  I like to read to my grandbaby and have realized that some books just don't translate well across the miles. Too many words or too busy of artwork just doesn't keep his attention. Slick pages reflect the light and he can't see the pages as I read.

I have found that Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss is a very good attention-keeper.  The few words on each page keeps the pages turning quickly.  The pictures are very easy for my grandbaby to see when I hold the book up to the camera.  He is intrigued by the pictures and he always points at the mouse and the bee.

I can keep his attention with Hop on Pop.  After I read to him, he runs to get a book and has his dad read to him and Gramma.  Right now, his favorite books to read back to Gramma have to do with Lighting McQueen.  You may know Lightning McQueen from the Pixar Cars movies. That little boy loves the Cars characters and Lightning McQueen. I share a bit more about his treasured collection in a separate article.

Now that I know about Skype, I wish I would have started a bit earlier than at a year and a half with him.  Yes, it is frustrating at times but keep at it and you'll find a way to interact and entertain that grandbaby - becoming closer even if you are too many physical miles apart.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

7 comments:

  1. I know it is not the same as being with them and reading to him in person, but it is wonderful that you can skype with your grandson. When we were little, we only saw our grandparents a few times a year and I don't remember the phone ever being part of our relationship or daily lives when we were children. What a tremendous improvement! It is totally awesome that you get to be such a big part of his life. I also want to brag on your son for taking the time to help you have that relationship. Most excellent!

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    1. Thank you, Mouse. I am blessed that my son takes time to stay close. No matter how many miles apart we are. I have wonderful children. I had grandparents who lived far away. They made it a point to visit us yearly, but you are right, it is much easier with things like Skype.

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  2. great idea to use Skype for long distance grandparenting!

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    1. Heather, it has been far more helpful than I imagined.

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  3. I think it's just awesome that you read books to your grandson via Skype! A wonderful way to stay connected with loved from a distance, for sure. I love your grandson's curls!

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  4. such a good idea - I hadn't really thought of something like this, but of course it's a terrific idea and solution for long distance grand-parenting :)

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  5. I just recently (Christmas - when my son sent me the gift of a videocam) learned the joys of connecting with my family via Skype. I shared in my grandsons' Christmas gift opening - 4 boys in one family and, later, catch up with grandson #5 in another family with another call. I LOVE being able to see and interact with my 5 grandboys (ages 18 years to 9 months) and especially getting to see how the baby is growing. I hadn't thought about reading books over Skype, but it's a great idea.

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