This is one especially for all the aunties and uncles who have nieces / nephews in other countries. Of course this can also work for those closer to home.
I have two nieces in the small city of Armidale (NSW) Australia, aged five and two. Since the eldest, Eliza, was two I have been reading her a bed time story by Skype almost every week. This started after we met her face to face for the first time around her 2nd birthday. We had Skype’d before this but intermittently. I agreed with my brother and sister in-law that we would try to Skype on the same day every week at their bedtime to read a story.
When I was working in the public sector I came in early in the winter, and took the time as part of an early lunch break in the summer. It had to change due to the clocks changing in both countries. We Skype for 30 mins max so it is not a huge time commitment on either side and can be fitted into the bed time routine.
Think how you could make it work for your commitments, and theirs, be creative.
Tips I have learnt
You need good lighting in the room on the child’s side
You need a book with big enough text to be seen on Skype
When the child is small you need two adults one to hold the book / child and one to hold the tablet. As the child gets older they are able to hold the book.
Sometimes the child will not be in the mood but don’t take it personally.
Sometimes life gets in the way but don’t beat yourself up about it.
Doing this will put you an amazing mood for the rest of the day. It’s also nice to regularly get to catch up briefly with the parents, who you are closely related to!
This habit has helped me to have a much closer relationship with my nieces from 10,400 miles away. They certainly knows who I am, what I look like, and what I sound like. The squeals of delight when I call, and the requests for me (via my brother holding the tablet) to chase her, play hide and seek, or take the proffered toy tea / cake are testament to this. Occasionally they are running behind and I join them for dinner, propped up on the breakfast bar!
Challenges for the future;
As the text gets smaller in the books she likes I may need the book physically here as well. I still need to consider how we work it when the younger one, Sienna, is big enough for a Skype story too but wants something different. I need someone to invent an app that is a cross between a Kindle and Skype.