6 Ways To Connect With Family Across The Miles
Many of us in Central Florida have relocated away from family and friends. My family moved here 2 years ago, leaving all our family behind, including our eldest son. It has been a huge priority to keep our kids connected with their family back “home”, especially since our youngest was only 6 weeks old when we moved. We wanted to make sure that she and her now 5 year old brother grew up knowing all of their family and felt close to their big brother.
Nowadays there are many ways to stay in touch, even with older family members who are not tech savvy. Here are our favorite ways to stay connected across the miles!
1. Phone calls – Almost everyone has a cell phone these days so you can make a call just about anywhere. Touching base with family can be done from home, the car or anywhere in between! My Dad often calls us on his cell when he is taking a break during shopping with my Mom. It’s nice to hear family’s voices and touch base, even over a quick call. The kids love getting a hello and knowing someone is thinking about them.
2. Skype & FaceTime – Better than phone calls because you can see who you are talking to. The kids are able to put faces to names and recognize their family when we Skype or FaceTime. We will do group calls when we can, such as on birthdays. It’s nice to have the whole family sing to the kids. This is my preferred option for the kids so they grow up recognizing family members.
3. Emails & Texting – These are great for individual or one to one messages. The kids may have a message that they want to share with just one family member. With email and texting we can use the voice to text option and the kids “write” their own messages. They anxiously await their return message and get excited keeping in touch this way.
4. Facebook – One of the most widely used forms of social media, almost everyone has a Facebook profile. Even my parents and my husband’s parents have their own account. This makes it easy to drop a quick line to share what we are up to, what accomplishments the kids have achieved or even just a picture. With Facebook group messages, you can set up a group of the family and friends you selectively want to share certain things with. We do this to let everyone know how school is going, or if someone is really sick. We’ve also set up a group page for an occasion, such as Delaney’s First Birthday. We asked everyone to place well wishes to celebrate her on that page.
5. Letters – Good old fashion US Mail often brings a huge smile to my little ones faces. Any time they get mail, they know it is from a loved one, and it makes them feel very special. Knowing that someone took the time to write to them means a lot and having something in their own writing helps them feel connected.
6. Photographs & Crafts – Photographs are a must in keeping connected. As family members grow up and change, and as new members are added, we update pictures at the house. We make sure that family is always sharing current pics so we can show the kids. Another fun thing is involving the whole family in a craft project. We recently asked all our family and friends to mail us leaves they decorated. We then put a bare tree decal on the wall and added the leaves as they were mailed to us. Watching the family and friend tree grow with each additional leaf was fun for us all.
We are not traveling home for Christmas this year, and I am sure we will be using all of these options to keep in touch with family throughout the month of December. I think we may even need to do another fun craft!
How do you keep in touch with long distance relatives?