Long-distance parenting: 5 tips to stay connected to children
Many parents don't have the luxury of being able to come home every night to their children. Parenting from afar may seem daunting at times, but with a good support system and consistent communication, long-distance parenting is feasible. If you're wondering how you can be the best possible parent while being far away, read on for some tips on long-distance parenting.
What is long-distance parenting?
Many families are geographically separated for some time. This separation can be characterized as a long-distance relationship. There can be several reasons for this separation. Maybe one parent is military personnel and is on active duty or parents and children working or studying in a different city, state, or country. Long-distance parenting could also indicate co-parenting after divorce.
Notice small things
Children feel the need to be included and be seen. You, as a parent, need to recognize this need and take time to notice your child. Point out the new pimples you see on their face, compliment their new haircut, or new clothes, etc. Also, notice things that are the same. This will help you make them feel that you are around.
Set up a schedule for phone calls
The amount of calls you are making to your children is essential. Calling too much, or too less can both be problematic. Keep the channels of communication open at all times, being careful to factor in any time difference. Even if you don't have time for a call, a short video or audio message will mean a lot to them.
Share moments of fun
Long-distance parenting doesn't mean compromising on your fun times. Children are more active and adventurous. So, create a fun space of shared enjoyment by playing games. There are several virtual activities you can participate in together. Or simply, get in sync with a 'mirror game' - stand up and first have your child mirror your movements, vary the speed, and then take turns!
Respect your child's privacy
It is understandable that you want to be involved in their day-to-day lives. The empty feeling of not hearing from your kids for several days can make you frustrated. But you have to understand, they are a separate individual with their own identities. While regular communication is crucial, overindulgence is not. Refrain from being too eager about their personal life. Let them approach you.
Walk the Walk
Children learn more from observing their parents. The way you carry yourself and engage with the world are strong predictors of how your children will fare in life. You should model the compassion, honesty, and responsibility you want to see in your kids. Whenever you make a promise to your child, fulfill it, if you schedule a call be available on time.