Building Family Relationships from a Distance: Supporting Connections with Babies and Toddlers Using Video and Video Chat

  • Elisabeth McClure
  • Rachel BarrEmail author


Today, a deployed father can still interact and even play with his infant at home. In fact, families report using video chat services like Skype or FaceTime to help their children develop and maintain relationships with remote grandparents and with parents who are separated from them by work), divorce, immigration, or military deployment). This chapter highlights studies that have incorporated media in order to facilitate remote family relationships between babies and their relatives. First, the chapter describes video interventions like the Just Beginning Program and United Through Reading, programs that use videos to support relationships between babies and their incarcerated or deployed parents. Then it explores the challenges and opportunities of video chat in supporting the developmental needs of babies and toddlers during remote communication. The implications of video technology to support remote family relationships with babies are discussed.


Video chat Media co-use Communication Infant Toddler Developmental constraints Joint visual attention Family Parent–child interactions Grandparents Utilization of media resources At risk populations 



The authors would like to acknowledge all those who contributed to the collection of video chat observations, with special thanks to Rachel Cohen for her extraordinary commitment to the project, and to Drs. Yulia Chentsova-Dutton, W. Gerrod Parrott, and Steven Holochwost for their collaboration. We would especially like to thank all the families who welcomed us into their homes for the study. We would also like to acknowledge Carole Shuaffer and Benjamin Richeda for their contributions to the Just Beginning program.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame WorkshopNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyGeorgetown UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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