We live in Ottawa, but our family doesn’t. Our extended family is scattered across three provinces. While that means lots of people to go and visit, I am not eager to undertake long car rides or plane rides with two kids four years old and under very often. At the same time, we want our kids to know their aunt and grandparents. Our solution is not only a great way for the kids to keep in touch with family but also a great distraction/ time waster/ thing to do when you want to load the dishwasher without kids underfoot.
Skype is a free program that you can download from the Internet that allows you to make free video and audio calls from your computer. The first few times I used it I felt a bit like Jane Jetson, but without the cool hair. Now I am used to it and so are my kids. Whenever we make an actual phone call to a family member my four-year old girl always asks Can we Skype? right away.
Skyping will keep your kids amused for much longer than a phone call will, but I would still recommend some props. To keep my young kids interested for a good period of time, my family relies of books. A big pile of books. Grandma reads a lot of Maisy. My dad pulls out a book about cats. My sister once tried to read an art history book, but that didn’t go over well so she quickly stocked up on some kids books from the library. And if you don’t have books on hand, an impromptu puppet show with socks always works.
The only hard park about Skype is that it seems like the people on the other end are really just in the other room. When we recently Skyped with friends who moved to London this past month, I had to explain why the girl couldn’t go over to visit her little friend at his new house. Thankfully his dad then turned the computer around so she could watch the television with them and all was forgotten!
Do you Skype? Do your kids love it as much as mine do?