"You can see and hear your loved ones on your computer screen," the Arizona grandma of 16 explains. "Not one of them lives near me, but we all keep in close contact via Skype."
Becky's suggestion echos the advice of a growing number of parents who are encouraging their kids to bond online via web cams with grandparents and other faraway relatives. They're using technology to help maintain family ties.
Many Circle of Moms members share stories about how technology is bringing their families closer. Lisa T. shares that her sons "talk to their grandparents every week over Skype" and that her parents "are thrilled to get to see the boys grow up." Jessica K. says that regular Tuesday and Friday sessions with her husband's parents, who live across the country, cuts down the guilt factor, since her kids get to visit with her own parents every weekend.
When my own mom temporarily relocated across the country to my sister's home to undergo a major surgery, I was pleasantly surprised, for the first time ever, to see that my three kids were tethered to their computers. They were online sending get well greetings via video chat to their grandma. I've also found it to be a great connector with my college-aged daughter, who texted and Skyped messages home during her first year away in school. (I'm not so sure who it was more comforting for, me or her.) And when my son had a new baby, I found myself and my new grand child video chatting with both the great grandma (my mom) and my daughter at college. It connected all of us in a way that wouldn't have been as up close and personal in an e-mail or phone call.
Beyond grandparents, many Circle of Moms members say that and on a more practical level, laptops have become lifelines between kids and their dads who are in the military or who travel frequently for business. (And for themselves too when they are traveling away from home on business or if they are deployed in the military.)
"My son could talk to his dad every day on Skype," says Lisa T., an Army wife. "It's great face to face time."
And Zoe R. says that when her husband is away, a video chat is incomparable at bedtime. "My son gives his daddy a wave and a kiss good night... then he will go to sleep."
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