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Sharp Health News

5 ways to bond with long-distance relatives

Jan. 14, 2020

5 ways to bond with long-distance relatives
The holiday season may have ended, but the memories of the fun times spent with family will live on. But what about the long-distance relatives you didn’t get to see this year? How can you remain close with them, even though you don’t meet face-to-face very often?

Here are five tips for bonding with long-distance relatives.

  1. Get crafty.
    Even when you can’t see or talk to your relatives, there are creative things you can do to feel close to them. Try making a family history book or designing a family tree. This fun activity is a great way for you and the children in your extended family to learn about relatives near and far.

  2. Send homemade gifts.
    You can also turn crafts into surprise presents for your faraway loved ones to let them know you are thinking of them. Creating thoughtful gifts — whether for a birthday, holiday or other special occasion — through crafting also helps promote relaxation in addition to other positive health benefits.

    DIY gift ideas can range from cards to collages — the possibilities are endless!

  3. FaceTime your family.
    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) makes recommendations on screen time guidelines for children. To keep kids connected to long-distance relatives, the AAP makes screen time allowances for children to video chat relatives with parental supervision. This means you can gather your whole family to talk virtually with loved ones. Applications such as FaceTime and Skype make it easy to connect with cousins and great-aunts alike.

    You can also use video chatting to watch a TV show or movie, sharing real-time updates and reactions with family in different places as if you are all viewing together in the same room.

  4. Pick a pen pal.
    Writing letters to family — whether snail mail or email — can strengthen family bonds across the miles. While texts offer quick and easy communication, writing letters allows us to have longer and more formal correspondence with our loved ones. It can also help young kids practice their handwriting and spelling.

  5. Make a family group chat.
    Writing letters is fun for telling stories, but texts are good for quick updates and cute photos. Create a family group chat for adults and older children to share family jokes, send life updates and make plans for future reunions.
Although distance can seem like a relationship barrier, it doesn’t have to stop you from feeling close to your relatives who live far away. Next time you feel yourself missing your long-distance loved ones between family reunions, try one of these fun, easy tips.

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