I am not sure who has had more video chats during quarantine, me or my three-year-old. She checks in with her school three times a week, calls one set of grandparents just about every day, and then there are her friends and cousins. Although it is a far cry from the social interactions she knew before “The Big Bad Cold” (our family’s name for C-19), video chatting has provided an outlet to connect with others. Imagine all that we learned from our first video chat with 20 preschoolers all unmuted, or how carsick it makes grandma when my girls want to run around with the phone showing her things.
Here are a few toddler and teleconferences best practices we’ve picked up:
- 30 minutes max
- Video chats live in Distraction City and my three-year-old has the attention-span of… well a three-year-old. We have found that a 30-minute limit for any type of call is just right.
- Include an activity or two
- Use your Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Public Library card to log on to the Libby app, and check out books to read together by sharing the screen. This is a grandparent approved activity.
- Scavenger hunts are a hit. “Find something red!” “Find something square!”
- My kiddos and their cousins loved playing with play dough together and showing each other what they were making.
- Use the mute button
- It is 100% okay to mute yourself (and your kids). Kiddos are naturally noisy creatures. For Mother’s Day on a family video chat, we were on mute half the time just so others could hear each other.
- Don’t let the kids run around with the phone
- My 16-month-old thinks it is hilarious to bop the phone repeatedly then crack up laughing. My three-year-old wants to show you everything but doesn’t fully understand how the camera works, and my mom will end a call quickly if she starts getting carsick. Be thoughtful before you hand over the phone.
Playdates and preschool are still up in the air for many of us, and connecting to one another is important. We are thankful for the ability to share a piece of our day with those we care about from the safety of our own home so that we don’t share any germs.