I've been video conferencing with my California grandkids off and on for nearly 18 months. They would look at me on the screen and I would look back at them. It was wonderful to see them, but hard to have any meaningful interaction. The picture and sound quality weren't that good and I wasn't sure they really "got it." I hadn't seen them in person for nine months. Seeing them on the screen was nice, but it didn't seem real.
In May, I spent two weeks with them and my husband joined me for the second week. Both kids warmed to us very quickly and we developed rituals, reading books, singing songs, playing games. The children seemed to really enjoy being with us. When Perry really liked something he would say and sign, "More, more!" One of their favorites was singing the hokey pokey.
I've been home for a little over a week now and tonight we had a video conference. Both children recognized us immediately. We sang songs and Perry signed, "More, more," as if we were there in the room with them. It was ten minutes of real connection.
It's so hard to have grandchildren (and their parents) who live so far away. I'm booked for another visit in August and really looking forward to it. In the meantime, they will be nearby in my computer.
Here's a screen shot of the two kids watching me on their Mom's computer screen. You can see they are really engaged.