Like most fathers, Nicholas Kerr wears many hats. Yes, he is “dad,” but he’s also a husband, a son, manager of the Bing Rewards redemption center and, last but not least, a New Zealand ex-pat living in the United States.
Unlike most dads, Nicholas shares these many perspectives on his blog The Kerrant – “Rational Reflections from Seattle.”
It’s not your average parenting blog. “I aim to share my insights about my passions, which are being a dad, working in technology and current policy debates,” Nicholas explains.
One of his most popular posts is about how Nicholas and his wife use Skype to keep their extended family – from New Zealand to Texas – actively involved in the lives of their two children, Penelope and Harrison.
Nicholas says, “I heard from a few friends who were having challenges getting their young kids to engage with relatives on video calls, so I put together some tips. I wrote the post a few months back, but it’s always relevant and especially helpful for Father’s Day too.”
Of their successful Skype methods, Nicholas says that the key is to get the child in a fixed spot. He writes, “Primarily, that’s dinner time. So when [Penelope] was in a high chair, we’d put the laptop on the table in front of her and she could engage with her grandparents while she had dinner. Sometimes time zones would allow us to Skype at lunch too.”
He continues, “Once Penelope could talk, my mother would ask her questions about what she’s eating and even take part in the meal. For example, Penelope would hold a spoonful of peas in front of the screen and grandma would pretend to blow on them to cool them down, really exaggerating her inhale and exhale (which Penelope got a kick out of).”
As a result of these calls, he notes, “They’ve really bonded… so when [grandma] comes to visit there’s never a ‘who is this person?’ experience. The same goes for some of [Penelope’s] aunts and other relatives who Skype regularly.”
Nicholas says that another great time to do a Skype call is when the child is in the bath – especially for infants that are still too young to sit for long at the table. “You can put your laptop or Surface on the sink or even on top of the toilet – just make sure the lid is closed,” he smiles.
Nicholas keeps up his fatherly role of making sure the extended family stays in touch, but he also uses Skype video calls with his kids when he’s away from home.
He says, “Things happen so fast in the early stages of childhood. It is essential to be able to see and talk to your young children when you are traveling. Even if I go for a short work trip to San Francisco or Las Vegas, Penelope and Harrison may say or do things that they’ve never done before. With Skype I don’t miss those precious moments.”
On Father’s Day this year, Nicholas says that he plans to have Skype calls with a number of family members in Texas and New Zealand. “Unfortunately, my own father passed away a few years ago,” he says, “But it makes me feel good to carry on the tradition of keeping the family close and making sure everyone can be involved in the kids’ lives. He would have liked that.”
“And my wife also scheduled professional massages for both of us, which isn’t bad either,” he laughs.
Happy Father’s Day from Skype. We’re honored to play our part to help Nicholas’ family, or any other family, stay in touch with the people who are most important to them.