Can we video chat with family at bedtime during the coronavirus pandemic?
Yes! Here are a few ways to optimize your family connections while supporting your little one’s bedtime sleep routine.
Keep it positive. With all the worries many of us have, sharing them or discussing them in front of your infant/toddler at bedtime is not likely to soothe them to sleep. Even if your child doesn’t understand the topic, they can often understand your tone and stress level. Keep the focus of your call on topics that make everyone feel good (for instance, cute PJs, daytime laughs, or stories from your child’s day). This call or video chat is to connect everyone – keep it calm and joyful.
Avoid blue light exposure 30 minutes before bed. Using your phone or tablet device will likely be the easiest option but this may include high levels of blue light exposure which can encourage your little one to stay awake. To avoid this there are several options: (1) use an app that filters out the blue light on your device, (2) turn the brightness down on your device, or 3) use it from a distance. For example, turn down the brightness and set it across the room – your remote family member can read a story or sing a song without being directly next to your child.
Keep it early, concise, and consistent. If you opt to incorporate a family call, do it at roughly the same time in your child’s routine. If you start your routine with the call, then keep the call at the start of your child’s routine. Ending with the call is likely not the easiest option. Have the final ‘step’ in your child’s bedtime routine be calming/relaxing. Screens can, at times, be too exciting for that. To keep things concise and consistent, give your remote family member a task that has a clear start and end. For example, a story, a song, or a prayer can have clear end points that will aid in the transition away from the call and into a relaxing slumber.
With some structure, family calls or video time can be a great piece of your child’s bedtime routine leaving everyone feeling connected and calm.
This post was written in the Spring of 2020. Please follow your local guidelines and advice from family health care providers for appropriate, current coronavirus safety measures.