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How do I engage with grandkids on Skype?

(26 Posts)
GraceT Thu 26-May-16 15:44:07

My daughter moved to Australia last year. It ripped me apart then as we lived quite close to each other and I miss her and my two beautiful granddaughters terribly. We Skype which is at least something because I get to see them as well as hear them but I'm having trouble communicating with my eldest DGD (5). She never wants to talk to me and leaves the room. sad We had a great relationship when she was here and when I went to visit them over Christmas things were as normal. She just won't engage with me on Skype. What can I do?

Jenty61 Thu 26-May-16 15:52:58

I know how you feel just give her time to thing you could try is reading her a story so as to get her attention..then ask questions about the story and lead on to what she has been up to since you last saw her on skype...

fiorentina51 Thu 26-May-16 16:22:16

Whenever I phone or Skype my grandsons (age 3) one is totally relaxed and chatty and the other flatly refuses to acknowledge me. He's fine when I visit though which I think is more important.

ninathenana Thu 26-May-16 16:24:34

It's very difficult at that age. When D was in Scotland and the GC were with us she would Skye them. They were 3 and 6 at the time and apart from the initial excitement of seeing mummy and telling her how much they missed her, they had very little to say to her and as you say would soon wander off. D could sometimes engage the older one by reading to him whilst holding the book so he could see the pictures, they would then discuss the story. This didn't always work though. D would sometimes find it upsetting but as I said to her, at that age they don't understand that you feel hurt and how much you want to engage with them.

GraceT Thu 26-May-16 17:08:11

Thanks very much for your messages. I will try the story thing but that's if she even comes close to the screen to hear it. It's been almost a year not so would have thought that enough time to adjust. It's so hard when all i want to do is reach out and hold them. Watching them on screen is just about bearable but having her walk away upsets me so much. I mustn't dwell I know but it's hard. The 'other' grandma doesn't seem to have this problem (as she delights in telling me!) Maybe we should try having a joint call one time so I can see how she does it.

notanan Thu 26-May-16 19:27:45

I saw someone say they played hide and seek via Skype: the kids would hid, then the GP would say "left a bit, right a bit, check behind that curtain"

Some children are kinetic and sitting and concentrating is not their thing and they react better to active things so I thought this was a great idea to bring skype to life.

It doesn't have to be an actual game, but the idea of moving about the house WITH them on Skype, rather than have them sit and focus on the session, is I think a good one!

Could you skype when they're in the garden and time their races for example?

madamecholet Thu 26-May-16 19:57:00

Our youngest DGC was the same when he was that age - perhaps they just can't work out what Skype is all about. We just accepted it and hoped he would come round. One day, when I was speaking on the phone to his Mum, he asked to speak to me and we had a lovely chat. In fact when his Dad asked to speak to me, he said very self-importantly "I'm talking to Granny". After that, we always spoke to him on the phone and he would happily talk to us and seemed to enjoy the individual attention. Now he is older, he joins in the Skype conversations with the rest of the family - as I'm sure your DGD will when she is ready.

JessM Thu 26-May-16 20:27:18

It's a trial isn't it. But also a delight to see their beautiful faces. My particular trial is finding a time to call in between the multiple sporting activities that go on after school and at weekends. My GD is quite chatty and 11 now. Brother 8 is not quite such a conversationalist. I have taught them both to say, when they have had enough "It's been lovely talking to you Nana" so that they do not feel trapped and unable to end the conversations.
When younger I used puppets (I know of one other GNetter who did the same) A big crow puppet with a squawk in its beak was a success in particular. Some kids might chat to a funny puppet.

specki4eyes Thu 26-May-16 22:05:34

When my grandchildren were small, my son used to take the laptop into the bathroom when they were in the tub. It was great to watch them playing and splashing around and that way it wasnt necessary to force a conversation with them. It was a great way to engage with them. Try that.

Newquay Thu 26-May-16 22:43:23

I've heard of something called Caribou which lets you both read the same book at the same time. I don't know if anyone has any experience of it?

grannyactivist Thu 26-May-16 23:00:00
Here's the link to the Caribou app.

JackyB Fri 27-May-16 07:02:26

The problem is, if you are reading a book whilst Skyping, you can't look at the screen at the same time, so you can't see how she is reacting.

Perhaps you just have to skype at a different time of day, she is are more attentive or perhaps you could video yourself reading and the parents can sit her down to watch the video when she is in the mood for it. Don't forget to show the pictures to the camera as you read, with your face in view and your hand pointing at the relevant parts of the pictures.

Working out the technology for recording and sending the recording may be a challenge, but we can't let ourselves be beaten by something like that!

Children don't quite get the concept of sitting and talking about things, so it may seem just plain tedious to them, having to sit face to face and just talk. On the other hand, there are, of course, those like the young lad described by madamecholet, who will hold a lengthy conversation on the phone.

I shall be looking into that Caribou - sounds brilliant!

JackyB Fri 27-May-16 07:07:31

Oh - and learn (or re-learn) some old action songs, with clapping and silly hand movements. With my tiny GC I have already had fun communicating on Skype with clapping and peep-bo games*. After all, that's the great advantage of Skype over the telephone. You have your hands free, and you can see each other! So use the visuals!

*In fact, to the 2-year-old, I am now "Nanna Peep-bo". He even asked the other day about "Nanna?" because he instinctively knew it was a Saturday and Skype time was coming up!

Sorry about that funny sentence in the previous post.

Flossieturner Fri 27-May-16 07:09:15

How about a funny glove puppet who can talk to her. I think that children get bored quite quickly and the puppet might keep her attention. Also, of course, having a face on a screen is no substitute for her living, laughing cuddly granny.

My grandchildren also wander off if we Skype,

ffinnochio Fri 27-May-16 08:47:32

All three of my grandchildren react differently to communicating via Skype/FaceTime. Some of it is to do with their age, but what worked for one 3yr old for instance, didn't work with the other when a similar age. I don't fuss or feel upset if any of them are not particularly communicative. Rather like me, sometimes I feel like chatting and other times I don't.

As JessM said, it is a delight to see them.

The other thing that has just occurred to me is that these days kids experience quite a lot of techie interactive stuff - intelligent blackboards for instance - so perhaps they're not so enamoured with more of the same when at home. Just a passing thought.

Take it all as it comes. I'm just thankful that all us long distance grandmothers have such great technology at our fingertips.

My mother had 6 of her grandchildren living thousands of miles away, and didn't have such facilities. Photos in envelopes had to suffice.

Willow500 Fri 27-May-16 13:12:13

My two grandsons (2 and 9 months) are both in NZ and it's only in the last couple of months that the elder one has started to engage in a little conversation with us. I don't think he really understood the concept of talking to the people on the screen he sometimes uses to watch tv programs smile We've tried the puppets and last week was the first time he was laughing at Brian the Lion and Tommy the Tiger's antics with biscuits and bananas! His little brother is just pulling himself up now and was looking at the screen too so I'm hopeful he might interact with us when he's a bit older. It's very hard trying to converse over the net - we find we sometimes struggle to find things to talk about with our son and his wife often disappears off doing other stuff which makes us feel they're too busy to talk. Still is is better to have this contact than none at all. Hopefully as they grow the little ones will understand better and look forward to telling us all about their days.

Grandmalove Sat 28-May-16 14:03:37

Our 3year old granddaughter, who lives in Australia, loves it when we play with her on FaceTime. She loves Barbie dolls so I bought one and our dolls talk to each other. She also loves to dance so I have to copy her dancing. We play games where we get to choose and she takes my turn for me. I have also bought some books to read at bedtime so she chooses which one and I hold it so that she can see the pictures. It's not the same as being there but we have fun.

phantom12 Sat 28-May-16 18:37:15

I have two grandchildren in Australia, an 8 year old boy and a 5 year old girl. We Skype most weeks but it can be difficult with the time difference etc. Some weeks they are full of it and fighting for their turn to speak and other weeks can sit there looking bored and end up arguing with each other. When they were smaller my son fitted up a sort of CCTV camera in the bedroom so that I could see(but not hear) them going off to bed which was nice if I happened to look at the right time. Sometimes I think it is good to have a week or two off, with phone calls in between,then you all come back with plenty of news.

Tessa101 Sun 29-May-16 10:43:10

My daughter and granddaughters live in Australia and I'm here with them now. I used to have the same problem with my granddaughters I used to buy there favourite books and read to them, my daughter set up laptop in there bedroom and leave us to it for about 10 mins and they would show me there school work there drawings etc.Then she would remove laptop from there room and we would catch up and they would come and join in. I think it is difficult if your trying to get them to sit in front of a computer but with a laptop it's easier to place them somewhere where there comfortable with. My daughter often sets laptop at end of dinner table and we all Chat over dinner it's just more relaxed. Stay with it ,hopefully it will come together.I know exactly how you feel.good luck

Blondehedgehog Sun 29-May-16 11:44:52

I chat to my grand daughters every week. At first it was for five ten mins or so. Now it is up to an hour or more. We have read books but they like to chat about the toys, if they have bought something. They draw pictures and explain what they are doing. At the moment it is my little pony and the names and how they dress and comb their hair. Then there is games. They have a floor snakes and ladders, we use that some times. I am exhausted when it is time for their dinner. Lots to do.... let the children lead you

Conni7 Sun 29-May-16 12:27:13

I think Skype is wonderful. My grandchildren (4 and 6) live in Dubai and we chat regularly. The time difference is a problem, but we find it better if they are having lunch which means that they are sitting still at the table. Mustn't mind if they talk with their mouths full! Sometimes they wander off when they've finished, but surely that is just a child's way. Thanks for all the ideas on reading stories and playing games.

Clickgran Sun 29-May-16 23:19:29

My GD is 4 and sometimes when we FaceTime , she has just arrived home from preschool therefore doesn't have a lot to say, because she is too tired. She is happy to be part of our chat, when she feels she wants to. Sometimes she will be playing in the background and run up to the iPad to show me something or take it from mum or dad and take it to her bedroom were she likes to show me her toys etc. As Blondehedghog said, you have to let them take the lead.
Good Luck

elena Wed 01-Jun-16 15:35:41

My neighbour has a collection of Sylvanian family animals and accessories, as do her GC. They play with them all, over Skype, with grandma following directions and with the animals talking to each other through the screen, too.

swji1 Thu 09-Jun-16 10:32:58

I've just come across this conversation and have found it so useful! I have twin GC aged 2 who live abroad and I am finding skype more and more difficult as of course they wander off and very much do their own thing. However we have the added complication that their first language is French as their mother will only speak French to them and most of their day is spent with a French speaking childminder. Our son speaks English to them (as we do when we visit) but they are already talking in French and I am not always sure what they are talking about! I am learning French but am not at all fluent and so I just try and respond with positive noises and comments! We do sing action songs but this does not always work. We also bring our cat to the laptop as her' meows' always entertain (but it is not really fair on the cat). The puppet suggestion and reading books sounds really useful but any advice - especially on the language problem - would be very much appreciated.

elena Thu 09-Jun-16 11:05:25

Your GCs will grow up bilingual, swji1 - what a wonderful gift.

Your idea of action songs is good, but it won't work with two year olds all the time smile

I wonder if you can find some English action songs to do with them on youtube? Just simple ones, of course - they can then look at them again between your skype calls.

Perhaps you can learn a French song, too?