Determine a convenient time of day the parent can routinely call the caregiver in order to read the book to the child over the phone. The caregiver will turn the pages while the parent reads the book over the speaker phone (or FaceTime etc.).
It is best to call at the same time everyday so the child can expect the call as part of the routine. This predictability is essential for a healthy attachment relationship between the very young child and parent.
Encourage the parent and caregiver to go beyond the words in the book. Suggest talking about colors, shapes, sizes, expressions on people’s faces, and asking questions such as, “Where are Big Bird’s feet?” For babies, the caregiver can point to the picture as the parent is describing or asking them to find it; toddlers can be asked to point to the picture themselves.
Encourage parents to enhance the relationship-building opportunity by giving the caregiver a shirt or blanket with his/her scent on it to hold or wrap around the child while reading. For older children, a special toy or other item that connects the child and parent may be used.
Older children and parents can alternate reading pages or paragraphs to each other.