Living Far Away From Family: How do you stay connected?

Living far from family and old friends can be tough and lonely. I had the luck of having my parents on island for about a year but now they are back on the mainland.  Even though I didn’t see them every day (they lived on the other side of the island), just knowing that someone that you really “know” was near, was a bit of comfort.

Living close to those that you know and love, family and friends, also makes life a bit more, what is the word, busy and involved? I mean, they have birthday dinners so you go, they have house parties or bbqs or they just call you to go shopping. Living by ourselves, we don’t have family functions to fill our weekends. Some would think this is a big bonus of living away from family – no commitments. Your time is really your own. And yeah, that’s great but I do miss family get togethers and having “dates” with my girlfriends.

Needless to say, I miss my family and close friends! So, I thought why not do a post on how to stay connected to family members when you live far away from them. So here ya go!

Ways to stay connected

Pictures and videos! I know I love to see my nephews on a regular basis, albeit in pics or via video. And my mother in law hounds me for new pics every chance she can – it’s sweet, she LOVES her grand kids!

Emailing a pic a day can totally help you stay connected. My mom has started sending us a pic a day – just of random things that she and my dad are doing so that the kids can see a glimpse into Nana and Papa’s lives and feel close to them.

Videos are great because you get to hear the other person, laugh with them (or at them) and you can feel better connected. YouTube or Photobucket are great places to upload the videos and you can set it to private, where viewers need a password to see. But I am liking Vimeo lately because I can create a list of people allowed to view, which means relatives don’t have to remember the password – so nice!

Email. What did we do before email?! Thank goodness my family, including the in-laws, and friends are all on email. You can really feel connected when you “talk” to family everyday through the keyboard – best of all it’s FREE! And you can do it on your own time, when the kids are asleep or engulfed in an episode of Curious George.

Web Cam: In all honestly my family and I stink at doing this regularly, although we are all equipped with web cams – I bought my mother in law one for $19.99 so it’s not going to break the bank either. I love my mac because it has a built in camera. Talk about easy! Then you head to Skype and you can all “dial in” and actually talk with one another live. And Skype is FREE too!

Sending letters. There’s nothing like receiving real, honest to goodness paper, feel-it-in-your-hands mail. I love it (when it’s not a bill), my kids love it and the grandparents love it. Sending a picture your child draws is a great way to share their development with family far away. And I know my kids love to receive anything from their grandparents on the mainland. Snail Mail is GREAT!

And of course, BLOGS. Most of you, if not all, have a family blog. We all know that blogs are great to share pics, stories, video with relatives near and far. But one thing I found was that it was best to keep it public so that it was easy for family to check it without entering a lost password each time. But this does mean that you should keep more private photos – you know of your babies adorable rump or bath pics – for email only. You can never be too safe. Be wise in what you share – names and other important info if you have a public site. What’s also great about blogs is that friends and relatives can subscribe to the RSS feed so they never miss a post. Which means, try to update regularly – ironically, I am super bad at updating my family site. What is up with that?

(I am totally laughing at myself. I completely left out “the phone”! Maybe that’s because with two kids, talking on the phone these days is a luxury or something I do when I’m driving on my way to take child #1 to preschool (hands free of course – talking on the phone I mean, not driving). These days a phone call is not quality time with relatives but more, me trying to talk over my children in the background, which are tugging at my shirt or saying “mommy, mommy, mommy.” So for now, the phone, while I do use it almost every day to stay connected with my mom, it just isn’t in my top 5 list of THE BEST ways to stay connected. LOL)


If you live far away from friends and family, how do you keep in touch and stay connected? Share with us! I’d love to know of other ways or special things you do? Do you have a set time each week to call or skype eachother? Do your children make crafts for Nana and Papa every month? Are you all on Twitter? haha
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Comments

  1. Miss Mouthy says:

    We live close to my family, but far from DH family. I’ve been emailing scribbles, Sunday School papers and preschool “letters of the day.” This helps keep my house a little less paper pile-ish, but more importantly, if gives the grandparents something to talk about with the grandkids.

    Great tips!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I wish my parents and siblings were all on twitter and facebook and everywhere else. I can hardly get them to check my blog (which was created for them in the first place!)

    We mostly keep in touch by phone, and my parents come to visit at least twice a year. It’s too much for all 7 of us to travel frequently to see them.

  3. We do google video chat (webcam), and I send out an email every week with pictures of the kids and stories about the funny things they did during the week. I do miss having family nearby, although I have one sister about 40 minutes away so I see some family at least.

  4. It is very lonely living away from family, but with some grthe latest technology these days at least we get to speak to them as often as we like. We have family in Greece and we keep in touch with MSN, emails, and cell phones.

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