Virtual Holidays

In order to see extended family over the holidays, many families are opting for video chat platforms in order to stay in touch. While technology can help connect with those that are far, it can add challenges that have not been experienced before. Diane Paul, PhD, CCC-SLP and Regina Escano Zappi, AuD, CCC-A discuss in their article “Keeping Conversation Going During Virtual Holiday Gatherings”, several tips to improve communication across these platforms and keep traditions alive. The 5 main tips they provide are as follows:

-Set expectations: Give specific start and end time and set a plan of what is going to happen on the video chat. This allows everyone know what is going on and what expected of them during the call.  
-Plan conversation starters or games: Keeping everyone engaged during a video call can be challenging. By including games, it allows people to interact and be more active during the video call rather than just sit and talk. Some fun games to play during the call can be a virtual scavenger hunt, word games, show and tell, or trivia. 
-Keep important traditions alive: Adjust the traditions to be technology friendly or more interactive as everyone cannot be in the same place. 
-Accommodate family members with different communication needs: Be aware of seating arrangements. Some may benefit from sitting closer to the screen in order to hear everyone. Projecting the meeting onto a larger screen can help those who many have difficulty seeing everyone on the smaller screen. 
-Communicate respectively: Set rules in order for everyone to be able to be heard and no one is talking over each other. Many of these platforms have included ways to “raise your hand” virtually. Additionally, using specific names to let people know who you are talking to can help reduce confusion. 

(Paul & Zappi, 2020). 

Paul, D., & Escano Zappi, R. (2020, November 20). Keeping Conversation Going During Virtual Holiday Gatherings [Editorial]. The ASHA Leader. Retrieved 2020, from

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