Gmail Video ChatOn  Sunday, The New York Times ran an article, Living Apart for the Paycheck, about the challenges of commuter marriages.  One dad who is profiled accepted a position as an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, while the mom stayed back in New Zealand as an assistant professor.  Dad  is keeping in touch with his son via Skype while he is 9,000 miles away from his wife and son. Cleverly, he is pictured reading a book to his  son during especially trying times for his wife–in the morning while she is getting ready for work and at the end of the day. Encouraging him to eat his breakfast, reading him books and playing with puppets, this dad connects across the miles.

Video chatting is a great way to stay connected with your kids when you have to travel or be apart and certainly grandchildren too. My husband and I have enjoyed chatting via computer with the grandkids, reading books, talking with puppets and playing pretend with food. Two year-old Will will open his mouth for a cookie, request a view of my gingerbread house scene or listen intently to The Bear Feels Sick, or tell me about his day.  You can stay connected, build conversation, describe and show favorite items around the house or demonstrate toys and read books.

It’s relatively easy if you have someone at home with some computer skills.  Until recently, this was only easy for Apple users who could connect their video enabled Macs using iChat. Now, opportunities to video chat are available through Skype ( and Google G-Mail ( Get a web cam for under $50 ( or use the one you have, and in 10 minutes, you and your little buddies will feel like you are in the same room!

Let me know what methods you use to communicate with your kids when you are going to be gone on a trip or for the day. Leave a comment below.