Grandparents using internet for virtual visits with grandchildren

Every child should be able to spend time with his or her grandparents and grandparents typically love to be involved with their grandchildren. Unfortunately, not all grandparents have easy physical access to their grandchildren. When the child and his or her grandparents are separated by a great distance, it can be very difficult to establish and maintain a close relationship.

But more and more, grandparents are taking advantage of the vast array of communication tools available via the internet to reach out to their grandchildren. Facebook, Skype, and other platforms provide an effective means for family members to make direct connections. All that is needed for a nice video chat is a broadband connection and a computer or other device outfitted with a camera and microphone.

So, if you are a grandparent who is considering using the internet to build a bond with your grandchild, here are some suggestions that other grandparents have found useful:

  • Limit the first session to around five to 10 minutes in length.
  • Try reading the child a picture book and holding the illustrations up to the camera so he or she can see them.
  • Establish familiar rituals, such as a particular game or just making faces at one another.
  • You don't have to always talk. Sometimes just watch the child engaged in play or some other activity.

Of course, as much fun as it can be to have a virtual visit, nothing beats the real thing. But if your grandchild's parents are not allowing you to spend time with your grandchild, you may want to talk to a family law attorney. Typically, grandparents have a legal right to some measure of visitation. And an attorney can help clarify your rights and may be able to help you have the opportunity to visit with your grandchild.

Source: The Bulletin, "More grandparents turn to video chatting with far-flung grandkids," Treva Lind, Dec. 2, 2016

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