In light of the uncertainty surrounding how COVID-19 is going to affect family lives, we understand that separated parents are going to be feeling anxious about seeing their children if they are separated due to illness or lockdown. During this uncertain time, it is even more important to sustain some sort of normality and consistency for children, and to minimise yours and their anxiety.  So we have been looking into the online tools available to enable you to spend quality time with your children even if they cannot spend time in your home. It’s amazing that modern technology allows families to be instantly contactable and available anywhere to each other even if they are not together in the same home. We know this may not be the preferred way to be in contact with your child, but we hope you see that it could be a very good alternative to direct contact, whilst we get through these extraordinary times. 

Facetime, Skype and WhatsApp allow for visual contact and chatting. There is no cost as the connection is via Wi-Fi, and there is no limit on the length of the call.

You can text via Skype and WhatsApp and they also allow photos and data to be shared at no cost allowing parent and child to update each other regularly.

Zoom is a free online app which enables you to chat face to face time with your child and much more. .

Zoom can be used in any location as it is accessed from your desktop, or mobile phone,  as long as you have a Wi-Fi or data connection.  With Zoom there are various price plans. The no cost plans allows you to set up a meeting to chat with your child for up to 40 minutes (there is talk of Zoom extending this to one hour!). The number of meetings you can set up are unlimited. If you want to zoom for longer than 40 minutes you can purchase a licence to allow for unlimited calls.  When you see the things you can do below you may well want to invest in a price plan.  Even with the no cost plan you can screen share. This tool allows you to share your computer screen remotely with your child allowing them to see what is on your screen, as well as see each other at the same time, so not losing that valuable face to face contact with your child.  

Here’s a list of activities you can do with your child through Zoom:

  • Read bedtime stories as you can read downloaded books together.
  • Watch movies together via portals such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or through your CD-ROM.
  • Help your child with school work
  • Share documents together so that you can write stories
  • Watch TV channels such as BBC iPlayer through the screen share and catch up on programmes such as CBeebies.
  • Play games
  • Use apps on your desktop or phone such as “Paint” and draw with your children and play “hangman” etc.

And of course there is the good old fashioned telephone via a land line.

It is important to remember that this is just general ideas and tips. There may be reasons in every case why some or all of the above may not be appropriate and the above  article should not be construed as advice.

And finally!  FM Family Law has no affiliation with Whatsapp Skype, Apple or with Zoom. We just think they are great tools at this time. #notanAd

Laura Tuddenham

FM Family Law

19 March 2020