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|
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.
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