Keeping your Family Close When You Live Apart

These days families are more spread out than ever before, with many people moving away for work or university and starting their own families miles from where they grew up. 

When you have children it can feel quite depressing when you’re not able to take them to visit their grandparents as often as you would like.  Fortunately today’s technology helps you feel closer even when there is a distance between you.

Phone Calls and Video Messaging
Probably the first thing that springs to mind, a simple phone call is an easy way to catch up you’re your family’s latest news.  A call at a set time each week allows both sides to plan ahead and ensure they’re not busy.  While talking on the phone is nice, talking over video link is far better!  Services such as MSN Live and Skype provide free internet based video messaging, and they are simple to set up and use.  Linking up in this way at least once a week allows for a more personal form of contact than simply telephoning because both parties can see each other.  Grandparents will love seeing the children live and in person, and kids will have fun making faces for their grandparents into the camera and relating their latest news.  Most laptops have a built in webcam so, if your family don’t have their own, a laptop or netbook to help you keep in touch with them is a wonderful gift idea.

Photographs and Videos
Digital cameras and video recorders make taking and sharing photos and recordings easy.  Photos can be emailed, or printed and posted, to family and videos can be sent directly or uploaded to video sharing sites such as YouTube.  If you’re concerned about privacy, you can make the videos you upload private so only people you select are able to view them.  These are great ways for your family to see how you and your children are doing and they can print their favourite photos out to keep.  Because children grow so quickly, it’s a good idea to take photos often so your family don’t feel like they’re missing anything.

Email and Letters
Emails are fast to write and instantly delivered, so are great ways to stay in touch with family who are far away.  However try to write a physical letter every now and then because computer fonts can never measure up to a handwritten letter on pen and paper.  Your children will enjoy writing too, and you could slip a drawing they have done inside the letter as an extra personal surprise!

Social Networks
Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are great ways to share updates and pictures with family and friends all over the globe.  Using privacy settings you can quickly and easily control what you share and with whom.  

When You Do Meet Up
When you are able to meet with your family, particularly if due to distance it’s rare, make sure you plan ahead and arrange plenty of fun activities to do together.  This way you’ll get the most out of the visit and will be able to have some great memories of the time you have spent together.  Another tip is always have your camera on you so that you can take plenty of photos of all the family together.