Families, in general, spend a lot of time together just by the nature of the family unit and strong connections are built. However, there are many reasons why families have to be separated and that can put a strain on the family unit. Finding ways to stay connected can make all the difference in preserving the strong bonds that have been made! Whether it is a short absences like traveling for work or a more permanent distancing like a grandparent living far away, we offer some tips and tricks that can be used to keep the hearts connected!
1. Phone calls and/or Texting
Sometimes phone calls can be intimidating because it can be hard to find just the right moment when both ends of the line are available and in the mood to chat, but they can also lead to the greatest conversations you have ever had. Even a quick call or scheduling a time with family members can make you feel more at home. A call does not have to take much time, and you can even call someone while on a walk, while cooking or even driving if you have hands free! A phone call can also be meaningful when you call a family member you had not talked to in years and initiate that connection that you did not even realize how much you had missed!
Although phone calls and texting are great, if you really want to see your family, you can schedule a video chat with them! Not only that, but with video chats, you can create small events that loved ones can attend such as a cookie decoration competition or a movie night. There are so many different applications that you can use: Facebook, FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, Duo, etc. If you are not sure how to use these applications, there are online demonstrations that can help or your family members can show you how to use them.
But if your family is super busy, you can also use Facebook messenger or iPhone chats for instance to send voice messages! How cool is that? You can send a message to your loved ones with your voice instead of with text. Especially if you are someone who loves to hear familial voices, voice messages might be the best choice to stay connected with your family apart from phone calls! These can be sent at any time, and the other people can hear it when they are available. Similar to voicemails, but make it a bit more fun!
Another option that would be great is creating a family group chat. Did you know that you could send a message to 10+ people without having to copy, paste, and send it to them directly? What a genius idea! By creating a family group chat, you can share news with your family about an upcoming celebration or that you are just thinking of them! You can create a group chat on any messaging platform.
3. Writing Letters
How about we take it back for a second. With all the technology being used today, maybe you want a break from screens. In this case, why not write a letter? You have so much creative control over them! Make your own envelope, paper, or even drawings to put inside. And if you are not much of a creative person, you can also buy a stack of envelopes, paper, and postage stamps at an affordable price. Along with your letter, you can include items such as a favorite coin of yours or something that reminds them of you or vice versa.
You can write about so many different topics as well. Maybe write about something special that happened, everyday activities, or from the perspective of your pet! Letters can be big surprises for your family members and bring them joy. How happy would you be if you received a letter personalized to you about sharing an experience instead of just bills?
4. Playdate Box
Now, if you have younger children, why not strengthen the bond between grandparents, parents, or older family members with your children? There is a service called, Playdate Box, where you can purchase a playdate box or use this site for ideas on how to create your own! For in-person or virtual hangouts! A playdate box includes all the supplies a child or older individual needs to engage in a variety of projects. For example, share a cookie decorating experience, a spider making tutorial, or information on how to make your own volcanoes! Playdate Box increases the frequency of playful interactions with your children and other family members through the help of games and activities you can enjoy together virtually.
We saved the best for last! Reading aloud with children is the very essence of bonding and now you can experience this even when you are miles apart. Readeo combines video chat technology with digitized children’s books, fostering a love of reading between loved ones. Imagine having access to the 1,500+ books that you can bring up on the screen and read live to your BookChat Buddy! You can read as many books as you want to in a session or just enlarge the video of each of you and chat together for an unlimited amount of time! Children will love accessing bookshelves that have been customized just for them (by you!) with their favorite books right there at the fingertips. There is, hands down, no better way to stay connected with children of all ages than reading together!