By Tabitha McCoy, MSFlickr [120225-A-ZZ999-068 by Minnnesota National Guard, February 25, 2012, CC BY ND 2.0]For many military service members and their families, deployments, geographical separations, and long distance relationships are a way of life. Understanding how vital communication is when separated, many military families utilize Skype or other online video conferencing technologies as a means to stay connected during long periods apart. But what about when it comes to parenting? How does Skype influence a service member’s ability to foster meaningful relationships with their children through long periods of separation? As military service professionals we recognize the importance of parental connection, especially when a service member is away. Thanks to technology we are now equipped with tools such as Skype that help foster communication and connection during long periods of separation. However as wonderful as technology may be, parenting via Skype does not come without it’s own unique set of barriers. For starters, we are talking about utilizing Skype as a means to communicate and connect with children, sometimes very young children, perhaps even toddlers. Talking with a child versus an adult over Skype is going to look much different and while parenting in itself is no easy task, parenting over Skype can be even harder. In the article Parenting Over Skype: 7 Lessons from Military Families, readers are given lessons on how to effectively incorporate Skype as a way to stay connected during periods of separation as well as how to over come some of those unique barriers. Have reasonable expectationsDon’t push itFind ways to be part of your child’s routineDevelop rituals togetherAsk specific questionsKeep your interactions positiveShow appreciationIt is important to remember that stress levels can be high for military families during long periods of separation and feeling disconnected will only further hinder a service member’s ability to parent over Skype. As military service professionals we can easily incorporate these lessons into our conversations with the military families we serve, helping parents to foster meaningful connections with their children…even over Skype. This post was written by Tabitha McCoy, MS, a clinical service professional at FamilyWorks Therapy Clinic at Valdosta State University and a member of the MFLN Family Development team. The Family Development Teams aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.