I’ve shared time and time again how hard it is for me to live hours from my parents and sisters, even if it’s only a three and a half hour drive.
Sure, it’s a short enough distance that we can make it there and back in a day if need be, but it’s too long to make a quick stop for a Sunday dinner. Or to grab a last-minute babysitter. Or to have a desperately-needed girls’ night out with sisters or mom.
Luckily, though, my kids have a great relationship with their Nanny and Pap and their PA cousins, aunts and uncles, no matter the distance. But we’ve had to be creative over the years in order to stay in touch.
We’ve got three ways to stay connected with long-distance family and friends.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Stay Connected with Long-Distance Family and Friends:
1. Power Note-Writing
Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I sit down for a few hours one afternoon, and we write tons of notes at once.
We essentially catch her up on everything that’s going on in our lives. We add photos, we add stickers, we add flowers and jewels.
We get crafty and creative and have a whole lot of fun with it.
And then we sign, seal, and stamp each note but add one more important element–a sticky note with a date on it.
That date tells us when to put the letter in the mail so that Nana isn’t inundated with mail on one day; instead every few days, we grab a note and put it in the mailbox so that every few days, Nana is surprised with a fun and happy little ‘hello’ from her Maryland great-grandchildren.
2. Panasonic HomeTeam™ app
One thing that sure does make staying in touch easier is today’s technology.
I’m always willing to take a look at the latest and greatest when it comes to apps and programs that make staying in touch easier–because goodness knows that we’re being pulled in a million different directions all of the time.
I’ve found something that’s really worth checking out: the Panasonic HomeTeam™ app.
It’s an online service that connects loved ones across generations and distance. And the cool thing is that family members can read stories and play games together even when they’re far apart. And the platform is super-easy to navigate for those less than tech-savvy family members.
HomeTeam is a platform where cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents–anyone!–can connect in a safe way and spend time together.
Hundreds of stories are available, like Curious George, Martha Speaks, 5 Little Monkeys, Tuesday, Mr. Wuffles, Jumanji, Animal Sounds, and more–as well as dozens of games like chess, checkers, tic-tac-toe, and more. HomeTeam gives families something to do together that packs a powerful punch–learning and fun.
Definitely check it out.
Though it is a paid platform, you get a free 30-day trial, so it’s totally worth trying and seeing if it works for your family.
fyi: Anyone can sample the entire HomeTeam experience, including unlimited access to content and all features free of charge for 30 days. After that, a premium subscription for continued access to unlimited content is available by month ($7.99/mo) and by year ($79.99/yr).
Find more ideas for memory-making with your family thanks to Scholastic and Panasonic.
3. Weekly Check-In Calls
I know several friends who keep a standing ‘date’ on the calendar each week for a phone call with grandparents.
They pick a day and a time that works, and they know that every week at that time, the grandkids will have a quick catch-up call.
It’s a super time for stories to be exchanged, for questions to be asked, and for connections to be made.
Some may believe that the ole phone has become obsolete, but I beg to differ. It’s easy, it’s (usually) fool-proof, and it’s quick.
Put a reminder on your phone. Set the date in pen on your calendar. It’s easier than you think!
How do you stay in touch with long-distance family and friends? I’d love to hear it!
fyi: This is a sponsored post, written as part of a partnership with Panasonic. However, as always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator, trying to keep my family connected and in touch.