Why Don't You Call?
How to Manage Long-Distance Relationships With Your Kids
With today's smartphone and social media technology, the ways you can keep in touch with your kids are more dynamic than ever before, and they go beyond traditional phone conversations. Van Petten advises using technology as much as possible to connect with your grown children. Even though you may only speak on the phone once a week, "you can stay in the loop of each other's lives by sending text message check-ins, photos or updates," she says, noting how much she loves when her own mom sends her photos of the family dogs.
She also suggests utilizing video chat, especially for college-aged kids. "Seeing each other on video is so much better for homesickness, because it makes the distance seem smaller," she says. "It also gives parents a way to meet roommates and see their child's apartment."
Let The Games Begin
Another great way to bond with kids while they are away is to play games together, Van Petten says. "I know parents who play Facebook Scrabble with their college-aged kids, or even log on to 'World of Warcraft' with their older kids," she says. "These are fun ways to keep in touch, and many times kids and parents can chat in the background of the games while playing." Games also help alleviate the feeling that every interaction with their parents is an interrogation. Be careful, however, that your fun and games really are just that. Overwhelming kids with multiple "Words With Friends" requests might make playing seem unnecessarily stressful or obligatory.