COVID-19 is affecting almost every avenue of life, but it doesn’t have to affect our relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. While maintaining healthy relationships during self isolation through the use of apps such as FaceTime or Zoom is crucial, it can be difficult to figure out how to make the most of video chats with small children. To help families and friends navigate through these unprecedented times, Zero to Three gives us 5 tips on how to effectively communicate with small children through video chats.
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Here are five ways to help your child get the max from screen-time conversations:
1. Make it a social interactive experience. Try rhymes, songs, dancing, finger plays, and games like peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek
2. Use props. Encourage the screen partner to read one of the child’s favorite books, as the child follows along with his own copy. Or, the video partner can play with a toy car while the child rolls her toy car. Puppets and stuffed animals also are great props for playing together virtually.
3. Be the “hands and heart” of the person on-screen. When the screen partner “tickles” your baby’s tummy, give your child’s tummy a tickle, too. When a grandparent leans toward the screen to “kiss” your toddler, you can give him a kiss on the cheek. By taking this role, you help nurture the relationship between the child and their on-screen friend.
4. Explain any technical difficulties. Tell the child why the call dropped, or why the video partner may appear to “freeze” on the screen or not be looking directly at her. Explaining these experiences in simple terms helps children better understand both the technology and the interaction. It can also help screen partner adjust factors on their side (like the angle of their webcam) to improve the video chat.
5. Let children take the lead with the technology as they grow. For example, toddlers can learn how to touch the green button to call or red button to hang up.
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