Living far from family can be challenging. But there are fun ways to bridge the distance and strengthen relationships. Now more than ever, close bonds are possible with those far away.
Maintaining Close Bonds From Afar
Do you live far from the family that you love? When you don’t share in daily life, the distance can feel as if it grows with each missed event.
But don’t be discouraged. There are a number of ways to maintain close bonds across distances. In fact, with the use of technology and some creativity, you can continue to grow your relationships from afar.
Invite Family into Your Life
In order to lessen the distance, invite family into your life by sharing the people and places that give it meaning. Send pictures of your favorite activities and places. At The Wesley Community you may participate in a weekly fitness class, have regular meet-ups with friends at the cafe or go on scheduled outings. Share pictures of these activities with your family, pointing out the friends and places that make your life rich.
Ask your family to do the same. Request that grandchildren send you artwork to put up in your apartment home. This will add joy to your day and also spark conversation with friends who visit.
Include Family in (Virtual) Special Events
There are many ways to include family in virtual events. Take an online class together. You can explore anything from cartooning to Harry Potter Wizardry. You can also attend a virtual concert or webinar, giving you more to explore and discuss together.
The Wesley Foundation hosts an Annual Saratoga Grandparents Day celebrating Grandparents and Great-Grandparents with a nominating process and a ceremony all done through shared videos honoring Grandparents.
Regular Meet -Ups (Book Club)
Schedule regular meet-ups over the phone or video conferencing. This could be a weekly “catch-up” when you share with your family about your week. But if you add an element of fun or a hobby, chances are you will look forward to weekly connections even more.
Consider reading a picture book aloud to grandchildren each week. Or, doing a small book club with family members in which you read the same books and then discuss and answer questions.
Is there a hobby that you can share with your family? Knitting, weaving, carpentry or painting are done individually but you can act as a guide or mentor via Facetime, monitoring their progress and encouraging their work.
If you are looking for a relaxing activity to share, use an App to watch a movie together. Scener is a “virtual movie theater” through which you can host “watch parties” with loved ones across the globe. Enjoy a favorite movie together, or commit to watching a show weekly, chatting through the episode, and sharing an entertaining connection.
Encourage Visits to Maintain Close Bonds
Shared experiences are still the best way to deepen relationships. Invite family members to visit you and show them the many activities the area offers. If you live in The Wesley Community, your visitors will be able to enjoy Saratoga Springs, Queensbury, Glen Falls, and Ballston Spa and can vacation in the beautiful Adirondacks.
Be clever in your pitch! If you live at Wesley, you’re not just asking family to visit you – you’re inviting them to take a memorable and adventurous vacation in your world. (And everyone is on the lookout for a great reason to take a vacation.)
Opportunities from a Distance
Don’t forget that there are benefits to distance relationships! Sometimes family members need support from outside their circle. Your perspective and encouragement is invaluable to your children and grandchildren, and carries high value since time with you can’t be taken for granted.
Maintaining bonds and connecting creatively are powerful practices for everyone in the relationship. These intentional activities require families to slow down and remember each other. You must be thoughtful and considerate, but also brave and risk-taking.
Try something new to build those relationship muscles! Your persistence will show that love is more significant than any location. I carry your heart with me. (I carry it in my heart) – E.E. Cummings