Millions of families live apart, with different members living on different continents. It makes it incredibly difficult to maintain close connections when you are awake at different times of the day and a visit is beyond your budget. Technology helps, but it can’t replace a hug from a grandparent or the joy of sharing a child’s first steps. Here are some tips to help you keep your family close, no matter how far apart you happen to live.
Before the internet, writing letters and making telephone calls was the only way to keep in touch with family. We looked forward to receiving a letter or parcel from a beloved parent or child. It was exciting when the phone rang on Christmas Day and a favorite uncle or aunt was on the other end of the line. Today, all we have to do is send an email or post on Facebook and our family member is kept in the loop.
In theory, this is a good thing, but there is no substitute for a proper conversation. Catching up with a family member’s activities on their social media account only provides a sanitized version of their life. We are all accustomed to smiling for selfies or posting delirious updates of a fun vacation, but behind the scenes, we might be feeling rather less happy.
You need to find the time to talk to your mom, dad, son or daughter. Sure, we live busy lives but have a conversation as often as you can. This doesn’t need to be over the telephone if cost is a problem. There are plenty of online chat services such as Skype or WhatsApp where you can talk for free using a Wi-Fi connection. Have a schedule of weekly chats so you can catch up on the latest news. A half-hour chat once a week is not too much time out of a busy life.
Babies and Toddlers
Babies and toddlers can’t talk on the phone, but you can include them in a video chat. Use FaceTime or Skype Video chat. It is a fun way to show off your child’s latest talent for climbing on the sofa or pulling silly faces when they see a camera.
Show your family you care by creating collages and artwork. Kids will have lots of fun with a collage maker online. They can choose their favorite photos and create a personalized collage for granny and grandad.
You could also have fun with a smartphone video. Use your smartphone video camera to film a short home movie and email it to extended family living overseas. Include the kids, your fur babies, and add text captions. It could become a mini storybook just for the family. What a great way to capture memories for the future!
There are a million and one ways to keep in touch with absent family members, but the important thing is that you make the effort. After all, you only have one family, so cherish them and hold them close.