Are you a long distance parent looking to stay involved with your children? Long-distance parenting can be rough on both the parent and the child, but it’s not impossible. You don’t have to give up on having any kind of relationship with your little ones if you don’t get to see them every day. Here are my tips and ways to stay involved with your children if you’re a long distance parent, so keep on reading!
1. Make Daily Phone Calls
Technology makes it easy to stay involved with your children. Make the effort, since communication is key. Even if it’s only a 5-minute conversation, it will reinforce your bond and let your child know that you care about them.
2. Send Little Surprises
Once or twice a month, drop a little care package in the mail for your kid. You don’t have to spend a mega wad; it could be something as small as some candy and a $5 DVD or a t-shirt with their favorite character on it. Everyone loves getting surprises in the mail, young and old alike!
3. Make Silly Videos
Now this is one that little kids can really get into! Exchange a silly video back and forth on your lunch break just for the fun of it. If you have an older child who is too “cool” to do that sort of thing, then send each other links of funny YouTube videos or trending music videos for a song that you both love.
4. Share Pictures
With features like Google+, websites like Flickr, and apps such as Instagram, there’s no excuse why you can’t share a daily photo with your child! It could be a picture of what you’re doing, something neat you saw, or anything you want! Encourage your child to share photos back with you; this is an easy way to stay involved with everyday activities.
5. Mail Call
So in between those little care packages, why not drop a postcard or a letter in the mail? We all love getting mail that doesn’t include bills or spam, so for older kids or college age kids, this is a good way to keep in the loop. For younger kids, try to use small words and print big so that they can read it on their own. Include an address so your little ones can reply if they would like or send you their newest art piece.
6. Be Thoughtful
Here’s one especially for older kids. So your high school aged daughter is having a slumber party this weekend. Order a pizza and have it dropped off at her house as a surprise. Or pay for a couple of tanks of gas for your son at the nearest local gas station. Order a bouquet of flowers for your middle school daughter’s piano recital, or have doughnuts dropped off at your son’s school for his whole classroom in honor of his 7th birthday!
7. Skype Often
Try to carve out time to Skype or Facetime at least once a week. This is a good opportunity to catch up on past events and just chat in general. Download the Skype app to your phone so you can chat on the go if necessary!
8. Do Things Together While You’re Apart
If you share any interests in common with your kid, then do them together while apart! Read the same book, watch the same movie, or go for a quick run at the same time. Afterwards, discuss your thoughts and compare opinions or details with each other!
9. Trade Physical Objects
For especially small tots, it helps to have a physical object of yours. Could be an item of clothing or jewelry, or a book. This helps them to feel like you are “there,” and reassures them that you will return! For older kids, maybe a picture of you framed on their desk or something like a blanket that belonged to you on their bed is a good idea. And make sure that you keep reminders of your kids around too. Pictures, gifts, and artwork are all good places to start!
Long distance parenting isn’t easy, but people do it every day. Just ask any parent who is in the military, any dad who is often gone on business trips, or any mom who is relocating due to work. These tips can and will work for you and your munchkins whether they are still learning to ride a bike or heading off to college. Are you a long-distance parent? Please share your tips below!