By Emma Thomas – Full-time mum of a one-year-old, part-time blogger and writer, with a background as a Kindy Teacher/Director

Video calls have always been a great way to connect with family and friends. During this time of uncertainty, it is even more important to stay connected with those that we love. Video calls are a great way to maintain social connections while practising ‘social distancing’.

Video calls with children can be tricky but they are so worth the effort! Seeing the happy face of a grandchild can turn a grandparents day around. A video call to a friend who is stuck at home will brighten their day. Even cousins and friends can have playdates together over video!

Here are my tips after a few weeks of video calls!

Plan out a schedule

  • I usually call my grandparents on Thursday morning while driving to swimming, now that we are home this has become a video call! It’s great to have this regular connection to look forward to.

Check out different ways of video calling

  • We’ve tried Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video calls, Zoom video meetings and Skype! They all have their advantages depending on what your needs are.

Think about device positioning

  • Try putting your phone in a holder or your laptop on the bench so that no one can touch it.
  • Figure out where to sit so everyone is visible.
  • Can you position your device so that the people you are calling can see the children playing?

Do something together

  • Sing a song, read a book or even play a game together!
  • Making the call during mealtimes means that children will be sitting at the table already and distracted by their food.

Have something to share

  • If your child is likely to lose interest in conversation have them collect 2 or 3 things that they can show, like a favourite toy or a picture they have drawn.

Mute yourself during group video calls

  • A group video call is a great way to catch up with everyone but it can be hard when lots of people are talking at once (especially if you all have children on the call!). Mute yourself when you’re not talking to prevent excess background noise.

Take a photo

  • Find out how to take a photo or screenshot in the video call app. These are some special memories you are making!

Try filters

  • Most video call apps have inbuilt filters and backgrounds! This can add interest and excitement to a call, children love looking at themselves making silly faces.

Keep calls short

  • Young children only have a short attention span, let them talk at the start of the call and then let them go and play. You may find they just want to pop in and out of the call.

Prepare questions

  • Prepare your friends and family with some good questions to ask your children. You might send a text before the call to give them so ideas!