It’s hard to capture a child’s attention during phone/video calls. I have 3 kids and while they say they want to talk on the phone they will only do so for a few minutes. The trick is to engage them. If you ask how was your day? They will often not give you a 5-minute response. They will say, “it was good”. Here are some questions to ask:
- What was the most exciting thing that happened to you today?
- What funny thing happened in school, cafeteria, playing with sister…. Today?
- Tell me the 3 things you wish you could do.
- If you were a superhero, which power would you have?
- What would your superhero name be?
- What does your teacher do when she’s happy?
- How many times can you hop on one foot?
Have realistic expectations when you are on the phone/zoom/facetime with children. The call may only last 10 minutes, if that’s the case maybe do a few calls during the week at 10 minutes instead of a 30-40 minute single call.
Do flashcards, read a story, play a card game – go fish.
Bake a cake together – Go online together and find a recipe to make together.
Play I spy with them or have them do a scavenger hunt in their room.
Have a book, cards, their artwork next to you so you don’t’ have to go looking for it during the call.
During the call, look into the camera. Practice looking at the camera – it is tempting to keep your eyes on your own picture, or the images on the screen – but you really make eye contact when you look at the camera and that is better for interactive communication.
While a zoom call is not the same as an in-person visit, it helps keep the connection between you and your child.