4 Ways to Foster Attachment to Distant Family Members

4 Ways to Foster Attachment to Distant Family Members


Welcome to February edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and This month, participants have looked into the topic of “Fostering Healthy Attachment”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!

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There are three continents and more than a dozen cities in which we have family. Keeping in touch and helping our children get to know their extended family and form some sort of attachment to grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins is challenging.

The biggest challenge is somehow creating opportunities for the children to share laughter, milestones and celebrations as well as everyday life so the distance doesn’t feel so great. With face to face visits being limited to a few times a year, in the interim, we have figured out these four ways to help maintain attachment:

Video Chat: My children love to video chat with their distant friends and especially with grandparents and aunties. They also look forward to their daily skype sessions with their papa when he is on business trips. When the children video chat, they do all sorts of silly things like running down the hall singing, playing violin for grampa to listen, show drawings to interested aunties and often running and tumbling over the sofa for a cheering grandparent. With their friends they like to show toys and say lots and lots of funny words, make faces, even hide and re-appear making everyone giggle. All the laughter from both sides I believe really helps the children feel connected even if so far away.

Phone messages: Being almost two, Bella is fascinated with the telephone. She has connected the idea that if. someone is out of sight they might be reachable on the phone. One time when handsome hubby was travelling he left a voice mail and Bella was so fascinated with it she now loves to listen to phone messages and talk back. Sometimes when she wants to talk on the phone with time zones and work schedules, a live conversation doesn’t work but the recording gets her the connection to that voice she wanted.

Videos: We send monthly or bi-monthly video compilations to grandparents and great-grandparents as a way for them to be a part of the childrens development, see their latest play inventions. There are times when the boys want to create deliberate messages within the videos, otherwise we just send snippets of our daily life.

Mementos: When we do have a chance to have face to face visitors, they often bring gifts. These become very special to the children. For example, my mother brought some hats from a trip to china and the children love wearing them for pretend play and often tell me they are special from when VoVo (grandmother in Portuguese) visited us. Another special item is my fathers winter hat which three years ago my oldest became very attached to during a visit and asked to keep. He still cares for the hat, wears it to play in the snow but always reminds us that it belongs to his grandfather. Other special items are a book written and illustrated by one of my sons best friends from the states and a picture of his buddy at a firehouse visit. My three year old likes to look at a binder with all his projects from his former preschool in Germany.

Do you have family that lives far away? How do you help your children keep in touch?

 

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Visit Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a Masters in Psychology and is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, one cuddly dog and "bluey" the fish.

3 Responses to 4 Ways to Foster Attachment to Distant Family Members

  1. That’s so cool! I see we were thinking along similar lines. 🙂 I love how meaningful the presents are for your kids; I definitely thinking having something tactile helps make distant relatives more meaningful. And video chats aren’t my favorite thing in the world, but I had to relent when I saw how much my son responded to them. He loves hamming it up for the webcam!

  2. Great post! My inlaws live 8 hours away and we only see them a handful of times each year. Video chats and phone calls are the mainstays for keeping in touch. My daughter draws and paints pictures and we send those off regularly. My inlaws don’t do much insofar as creatively keeping in touch and it drives me nuts. Now that my daughter is old enough to understand, I want her to have a relationship with them. Distance is a toughie really.

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