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How to keep virtual visitation engaging for younger children

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | child custody |

Life can get very complicated for divorced parents – especially when one of them has to relocate or be away from their young children on a regular basis due to work or other obligations. 

It’s not unusual, these days, for virtual visitation to be part of a modern parenting plan. Virtual visitation, conducted through Messenger, Skype or other online platforms, is a way for parents to stay engaged in their children’s lives from anywhere in the world 

However, virtual visitation isn’t without its challenges, especially where younger children are considered. Because younger children often have short attention spans, traditional video calls can lose their interest very quickly – unless parents get creative. Here are some strategies that may help:

Do some planning ahead of your visit

As the parent, it’s on you to make your virtual visitation engaging for your child. You can’t expect a young child to just sit and chat with you about their day the way a teenager might. Here are some possible activities you may want to prepare in advance:

  • Storytime: Choose a few children’s books and use your virtual visitation time to read your child a bedtime story. Or, pick a chapter book like “The Hobbit,” that’s designed for children and read them the story out loud, one chapter per visit, using different voices for all the main characters. 
  • Show and tell: Find out what your child has been working on at school or during their spare time, or what special interests or hobbies they’ve picked up recently, and ask them to show you their projects or toys. Have them explain how they built their newest Lego creation or show you all the new art they’ve been making.
  • Virtual games: There are tons of online games that you and your child can play together. Break out your Minecraft skills or get on Animal Crossing together and do some world-building, or let them beat you at Mario Kart a few times.

Virtual visitation takes practice, but you can make it work – and your time with your child can end up being special to you both. Unfortunately, not all co-parents are great about respecting the rules of a parenting plan. If your co-parent isn’t cooperative with your visitation rights, it may be time to seek additional legal assistance.