December 31, 2009
How to Video Chat with Your Grandkids
Grammy Tanda and I love to spend time with our grandchildren in person, but since most of them live in three other time zones, we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like. So some of our most pleasurable moments are when we are chatting “face to face” over the Internet with our grandkids.
If you enjoy talking with your grandchildren on the phone, you will love video chatting even more! It’s video conferencing software you run on your computer that lets you talk with and see your family. It’s just like in the Jetsons cartoon—live audio and video.
What could be worth more than seeing the grin on your grandchild’s face when they see you talking with them on the screen? They’ll be proud to show you how much they’ve grown and to show off their first missing tooth. Even grandbabies will respond to your voice and smiling countenance.
Somethings are just better communicated face to face, where you can see expressions and gestures. Compared to letters, email and even telephone calls, video calls can make conversations much more interesting and intimate. You’ll have more to talk about, and your grandkids will more easily remember you or your face.
Now watch this video. It’s full of examples and cool ideas for you.
A grandparent’s job is to give positive encouragement; to be a cheerleader and a talent scout. ~Grammy Tanda Packer
Fun things you can do on your video chat: read storybooks and show them the pictures, make up stories, sing, dance, play games, help with their homework, be playful, play peek-a-boo, make funny faces, and tell knock-knock jokes.
Ask your grandkids to sing and read to you, and tell you jokes and stories. Have them show you their drawings, crafts, homework, new clothes, acrobatics and somersaults.
Options for free video chat software
You’ll need a computer, a webcam with a built-in or separate mic, and a broadband Internet connection. Different programs use their own protocols, so you and your family will need to use the same software. Each of the following programs allow you to make video calls worldwide.
iChat from Apple is an application that comes free with every Macintosh. If you have a Mac, iChat is the best software for video chatting. You can even have a video conference with up to 3 other Macs at once. Since it uses the AIM protocol, iChat works well with AIM on other computers.
AIM is an application you can download to your computer. It uses the same protocol as iChat.
Skype is another popular program for making video calls. Download the program and sign up for a free account. Computer-to-computer calls and video calls are free.
How to get started
- Choose an application and install it. (Consider what your family may be using.)
- Launch the program.
- Create a screen name and password (first time only).
- Share your screen name with your family.
- Arrange a time to call.
- Turn on your webcam.
- Log in to your chat program.
- Initiate the video call by clicking the appropriate buttons, or click “Accept” if your family initiates the call.
- Click the video icon by their name to see their video. (Note: Some programs make you click a button to allow them to see your video.)
Videophones are another option for video conferencing. These are special phones with an LCD screen. No computer is needed, but they need a high-speed Internet connection. You and your family both need the same brand of videophone.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then live video is worth ten 10,000 words. ~Grandpa Shayne Packer
We know you’ll love video chatting with your grandkids! So go try it.
Enjoy – Grandpa Shayne
Announcement: This post is part of a blog carnival hosted by Susan Adcox, About.com’s Guide to Grandparents.
We’d like to hear from you. Please comment below to tell us about your videochat. What fun things did you do on the call with your grandkids.