Why you need to shake up the routine and find clever ways to interact online
BY KAREN L. RANCOURT
Many long-distance grands love connecting on Skype (or other free online connections), but not all grandkids do. When a young mom asked me what to do about her six-year-old daughter balking at the desired weekly Skype sessions with her grandmother, I suggested three options:
1: Just Do It! Issue a dictum: “If Grandma wants to Skype with you every Thursday night at 7 p.m., then that’s what you’ll do.” However, this runs the risk of a child feeling resentment and becoming a sulky participant.
2: Make Connecting on Skype More Fun. The grandmother could punch up the Skype conversations sessions by making them more varied and engaging. For example, one grandmother suggests wearing costumes for the calls, or reading a book “together”, such as Sneezy Louise, where the youngster fills in the achoos! in the appropriate places.
3: Do Online Games and Activities Together. Here’s a list of online games and activities that can be done together instead of, or in addition to, gabbing on Skype.
- Grandparenting from a Distance: 20 Activities for Grandparents To Do with Their Grandchildren.
- A Story Before Bed: Adult selects a book from the site library and makes a video recording that resides on the child’s family computer (fee required per book or monthly or one-time membership).
- Be There Bedtime Stories: The pages of the book being read are shown with the adult shown reading it is displayed in a box on top of screen. ($9.99 per book; stored permanently on computer and can be accessed at any time).
- com: 163 jokes appropriate to share with kids.
Q: What did the duck say when he bought lipstick?
A: Put it on my bill.
Jokes can be copied and emailed, minus the answer. Each joke has a cute picture.
- Yahoo! Games: Site contains many multi-player games for kids of all ages.
- Pogo: A source of free online, multi-player games.
- The Color.com: The site offers hundreds of online coloring book pages – point and click and the objects fills in – that can be saved and emailed. A child and a long-distance adult can work on an identical image and share them.
- Google Docs: This application allows two or more people to work together on a document, such as creating a story together.
- Grandoodlez: Comprises a suite of creative activities that can be digitally shared, e.g., draw pictures, create videos (requires a nominal monthly fee).
Here’s hoping these resources for online games and activities help make staying connected more fun for grandchildren, and grandparents.
Karen L. Rancourt, Ph.D., writes an advice column for parents and grandparents at Mommybites.com and is the author of Ask Dr. Gramma Karen, Volume II: Savvy Advice to Help Soothe Parent-Grandparent Conflicts.