Various factors lead to families being spread out geographically, but that doesn’t have to mean losing closeness. There are many ways to stay connected with those you love. It is important to reach out and become part of your local community, but fostering your existing family bonds will also keep you grounded and encircled in love. Read on for some great ideas about maintaining family ties.
Connect Over A Good Book
Create a family book club. There can be separate clubs for the kids and the adults. Have someone take charge of announcing book titles and let reading and bonding begin! This club can run year round, or seasonally. There are always many topics for discussion, and family members can communicate about book ideas via online chats, group emails, phone calls, or texts. Group members who participate in extension activities stemmed by the book can share photos. Many books also have corresponding movies, so consider periodically including a book and a movie in the family club listing. The books we read and share have lasting memories and lead to beautiful connections.
Enjoy a Year Round Secret Santa Exchange
Many families exchange names for the annual Christmas party. While this is a pleasant tradition, it is a sweet twist to keep the mindfulness and fun surprises circulating year round. Exchange names in January and either choose to surprise your secret family name draw with cards and small gifts throughout the year, or have someone act as host of the group and suggest themes per month or season to get all creative juices flowing. It is a nice way to stimulate thoughtfulness and kindness over the miles.
Many phone plans include unlimited talking and texting. Take the time to have regular phone calls and frequent text message exchanges. If it is challenging to make it a habit, write reminders on a calendar. Include photos when possible, and also take advantage of the chance to share conversations with real time video. If children tend to get silly or clam up during these sessions, encourage them to think about highlights to share or questions to ask ahead of time.
Create A Family Display
Keep your family in plain view by having everyone contribute favorite family photos and then making them into canvas prints or including each household in a calendar that everyone posts in their home. Display artwork mailed by children and create photo Christmas ornaments as cozy reminders of the ones you love.
Plan Real Life Visits
It is a great idea to always have the next visit in the works. This may mean meeting at a specific family home base every year at a certain time, or it may mean rotating houses. There is also the option of planning a family vacation every few years. This way everyone has time to save money, plan, and anticipate the special time together. If you have elderly loved ones who live in a retirement community, consider choosing a location that allows you to visit with them as well. For example, senior lifestyles in Pharr include a travel program and month-to-month lease. It is very important to choose a community that promotes, rather than limits, family involvement. This type of community is also more likely to encourage your loved one to take part in exchanging letters, gaining access to the family book of the month, and enjoying communicating through technology.
Choose the methods that work best for your family members, and have fun with it. Be willing to take suggestions and enjoy each new season of family life. Family bonds and relationships are always well worth the time and effort put into them.