Whether afar is across town or across the country these tips will help any parent who is not currently sleeping under the same roof as his or her children.
- Remember that your child is a digital native. On the other hand, depending on your age, you may be an immigrant into their digital world. Use your child’s advanced knowledge of technology to keep you connected. Web cams, Skype, FaceTime, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter can all be used to stay in touch, as long as you can do so privately and safely.
- Watch TV together. Let your child know that you will be watching her favorite show and will be ready to talk about it.
- Keep up with schoolwork. Give your child (and child’s teachers) pre-addressed, stamped manila envelopes so that it’s easy for them to send you updates, schoolwork, and other paperwork. If you hear nothing be sure to initiate communications with teachers by telephone and email.
- Make audio and video recordings for your kids and encourage them to make them for you. Nothing to say? Record yourself reading a book and mail the book and the recording to your child.
- Remember small events. Send cards, pictures and letters for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, The 4th of July, etc. Remember large events, like birthdays and Christmas. Find rituals (beyond the standards like Christmas, etc) that you and your children can look forward to and celebrate each year. Seek out rituals that can be built around an event (like a sporting event or a trade show) that your co-parent has no interest in.
- Make sure that your kids have cell phones with your number programmed in. Use text messages and photos to stay in touch throughout the day.
- If you have not done so already, call a truce with your co-parent (a/k/a your Ex). Note: Your co-parent does not have to take the same action! This is the place where you are going to set the good example. Let your co-parent know that from now on you are going to focus on finding solutions that work for him/her, your children, and yourself. And, then make good on that promise, no matter what it takes.