Given recent social restrictions, the way we socialise and bond has changed significantly. While we would love to gather together in person, we now often have to catch up through video calls.
If you have family overseas, the chances are that you’re familiar with staying in contact through video calling. But given kids’ attention spans, it might not always run smoothly.
Kids get bored, they fidget and are easily distracted – it’s in their nature! It’s our job as parents to keep them entertained and engaged, but sometimes we run out of ideas.
Here are six simple tactics you can use to make your video calls more successful.
Six Ways to Keep Your Kids’ Attention During Video Calls
1. Work it into the Routine
You likely have a set routine every day, so work video calls into that routine. Try to work around your children’s mealtimes and sleep times as they’ll find it hardest to concentrate if they’re tired, irritable, or hungry.
2. Plan the Conversation
Planning what your child will talk about with their grandparents or cousins may seem like overkill, but the structure is always a good idea, even when it comes to a video call. Put together a brief “show and tell” section where your child shows off their latest artistic creations, new outfits, or any new skills they’re excited about. You could then plan an activity for your child to do with the person on the other end. Colouring, singing, reading, or watching a movie together are all great ideas.
3. Leave Adult Topics for After
Children will start to lose interest as soon as they’re not engaged, so leave adult (AKA boring!) topics until after they’ve talked to their relatives. Remember that while they look like they’ve stopped listening, they are probably paying some attention, so don’t talk about anything that may worry or upset them until they’re out of earshot. It may be worth doing a second call with your loved ones after bedtime so you can talk freely.
4. Focus on Visual and Aural Stimuli
Since children often pick-up social cues from all their senses, they may feel a little thrown off by only experiencing sights and sounds. Help your child communicate by pointing out interesting visuals and repeating any questions asked by the loved one at the end of the line. Try givinh them something to do with their hands, too.
5. Read a Story
One of the biggest joys of being a grandparent is being able to step in and provide extra comforts like bedtime stories. These days, it isn’t always possible to snuggle up and share those bedtime stories in person but reading together is a great way to bond with family members. Plus, if you’ve got a few evening errands to run around the house, your child’s grandparents may be able to take the reins and distract your little one for half an hour!
6. Share a Meal
Mealtimes are a wonderful opportunity to bond, so why not arrange a time to video call and eat as a group? This activity provides a chance to discuss what each person is eating, who prepared it, their favourite element of the meal, and the colours and smells involved.
Just because your child’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents can’t be there in person doesn’t mean you can’t still bond with them. A fun and successful video call is always possible – all it takes is a little planning!