This week, I think I have been more socially engaged than I had ever been in a long time. No worries, I’m following the rules and staying home. Reaching out to friends and family throughout the day using technology is actually fun. For example, I’ve been reading bedtime stories to my grandkids almost every night. I’m “meeting” a friend for lunch today with a live video chat. I get text messages throughout the day from one of my son-in-laws. I actually answer my phone now! In a weird way, I think this making me become a little more outgoing!
One of the challenges of living a distance from grandkids has always been staying connected. Video chat apps have always seemed a bit clumsy for me. In real life face-to-face visits, kids like to size you up before they start talking. At least that’s how it works with my grandkids. Just sitting quietly near by and waiting for them to initiate a conversations is important. And once they start, what a pleasure it is to feel included!
Typically when grownups meet up, they naturally jump into catch-up questions. You know: what’s new; whom have you seen lately; is that a new outfit… Grandkids I have discovered just aren’t as interested in small talk. Starting in with a lot of questions usually leads to a strained effort to answer, often with well-meaning parents coaching the conversation.
Thankfully my daughters discovered a great app for sending video messages – Marco Polo. My grandkids can send me a quick message, a joke, or a story when they want to share. The message can be as long—or as short as they want. I get to see them, hear them, and it feels natural. I also get to read stories, share something I think they might be interesting to them, and they can watch it when the time is good for them. An added bonus is that I can save the videos and watch them as many times as I want!
Here’s a link to the free app that I have been using: www.marcopolo.me