Getting Creative with Video Calls to Boost Your Child’s Communication Development


With the social distancing guidelines brought about by the pandemic, many families have been relying on video call apps more than ever to help keep in touch with loved ones near and far. However, getting young kids to participate in these interactions can sometimes be a tough sell. Here are a few ways to add structure to your child’s language to make the most of FaceTiming with relatives, while also working in some opportunities to practice communication skills. #multitasking

Show and Tell

This activity is a preschool classic because many kids love talking about themselves and their interests. What are their current favorite toys? What crafts or artwork have they made lately? Did they finally perfect that cartwheel? These are all great conversation starters for kids to share their latest updates.

Share that Screen

With a few clicks, some programs (such as Zoom) allow you to share the content of your screen – including YouTube, Epic, Netflix, and other content-based sites, which can be incredibly absorbing for kids. Kids can virtually watch a clip or read a book with their conversation partner, then chat about it. Other activities that pair well with screen sharing include pausing the activity to make predictions, or engaging the child in making connections to real life by asking questions or modeling your own thoughts (e.g. “I wonder if the mouse’s cookies taste as good as Grandma’s!”, etc.).

Worth 1000 Words

Queuing up some photos of the child’s recent activities can be another fun way to encourage them to talk about what they’ve been up to. Prompt the child to provide the context for the picture by asking “Wh-” questions about who they were with, what they did, where it happened, and so on. You can also boost sequencing skills by modeling transition words like “first, then, next,” or asking the child to talk about what happened before and after the picture was taken.

One more bonus activity…

Mask Fashion

Many of the kids I know have not been huge fans of wearing face masks when out in public (and who can blame them). We can help normalize and encourage this practice by showing them that even their aunties, cousins, and grandparents are getting in on the mask wearing. If you’ve invested in any face masks with fun patterns or graphics, consider asking your child to model it for relatives. Receiving praise from loved ones for wearing a mask can help reinforce kids’ willingness to do so again in the future.


by Mary Stanton, M.S., CCC-SLP


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