Stay connected: Set up a virtual story time for your kids

Need to connect with friends and family? Verizon Techxpert Oscar Martinez shares the steps on how to teach loved ones to use video chat apps remotely.

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We’re all finding new ways to connect with others and maintain routines in this time of social distancing. It’s easier for some than others.

Like many families throughout the country, Oscar Martinez and his wife, Erika, are trying to establish a new routine for their family, which includes 3-year-old daughter Angelina. It’s been reported that their city has 5 percent of Covid-19 cases worldwide, and all nonessential workers have been instructed to work and stay at home. So Verizon Techxpert Martinez and his extroverted family are figuring out new ways of working, schooling and socializing from their 800-square-foot apartment.

Routines (and apps) can bridge the divide

A number of apps allow them to video chat with others from their devices. Using these, they still enjoy happy hour with friends at the end of the workday. Angelina still sees her teacher and classmates. They even started a new nightly ritual: story time with Grandma (also known as “Mama”) at bedtime.

Up until these most recent weeks, Angelina and her parents would end her day with story time in her room. They would choose a few books from her extensive library and read them from her cozy little tent. Now, story time at bedtime and naptime are even more special because godparents, grandparents and extended family get involved.

“We’re really leaning into that idea that it takes a village to raise a child. When both parents are working during the day, we’re all pitching in.,” Martinez says. “We’re probably one of the few in our group of friends who have a child, so everyone is helping.”

Get everyone involved

Young Angelina likes to apply filters to her screen, especially one in which she is surrounded by falling stars. Martinez recommends using filters to make the stories more fun.

For example, adding a dog filter to the video chat while reading a story about dogs, adds excitement. Angelina’s grandmothers already knew how to use video chat apps prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Martinez had shown them how so that they could communicate with extended family elsewhere.

He says it’s important to have patience when showing grandparents and others how to use new technology. He describes his approach as one that’s with “a very gentle guiding hand and patience. My aunt and mom—their generation doesn’t work with technology as much as we do. We take it for granted.”

Martinez says it is possible to teach others how to use video chat Apps remotely, and offers a few steps to get started. 

How to use mobile video chat on Messenger

  1. Download and open the Messenger app.
  2. Tap the Pencil icon to create a group with grandma and grandpa.
  3. Once inside, select the Video recorder icon to start a video call.

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