As our family is moving towards full-time nomadic travel, we’re thinking about ways we can keep Reuben connected to his extended family back home. He has a great relationship with his grandparents and aunties that we need to keep up even though we won’t be seeing them every weekend. Luckily, as one set of his grandparents already lives overseas, he’s grown up having Skype dates and making phone calls with them so we’re already part way there.

Here are five ways you can encourage keeping kids connected while travelling:

Phone Calls

Making international phone calls can be expensive. Time differences can make things tricky. You may not be able to phone Grandma at home in New Zealand in the evening when you’re in New York and it’s 3am! Set up a call schedule and plan to grab Gran in the morning before she heads to work or over her lunch break. Get a Skype Number. Relatives and friends can phone a local number which will forward to Skype on your iPhone, iPad or laptop.

Video Calls

Use Skype or Facetime for face to face calls when you can. If you need to, coach the grandparents up on the ins and outs of Skype before you leave. Technosavvy relatives with iPhones can keep intouch with you via Facetime. Don’t just limit video calls to chatting about your day – use that time to read stories, sing songs or say prayers together.

Photos

If your children are really little and you don’t want them to forget their extended family, put together a small photo album or book with pictures and names of their relatives. Babies love flicking through pictures of faces.

Write

Don’t forget about traditional correspondence! If you want your kids to practice their handwriting, have them send snail mail home. If they’re older, set up a group email address so they can send friends updates from the road or even create a blog for them. Write or draw postcards as a way of keeping your kids entertained while travelling. You could even have Grandma scrapbook them as a memento from your child’s travels.

Visits

Convince your parents, brothers or sisters to meet up with you somewhere on the road. Not only will it give them time to bond with your children but it will allow you a little parental reprieve. Just think, you might be able to have a date night! My Mum came to Las Vegas with us for ten days on one of our extended trips and it worked brilliantly.

 

What methods do you use for keeping kids connected while travelling?

Bethaney Davies
A traveller for over ten years, Bethaney started blogging here on Flashpacker Family in early 2012. She founded the site to encourage and inspire travel and travel with small children and to share her own stories from the road.
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Showing 3 comments
  • Reply

    While we haven’t done trips that last for months or even years we do have family that lives overseas, and skype could not be easier or better. And of course for them I keep a personal blog with lots of photos, as well as FB!

  • Kathryn
    Reply

    It’s a great idea to do bedtime stories etc via Skype rather than to expect your child will want to just chat. I imagine keeping some photos or videos of family on the iphone would also work rather than having a printed scrapbook.

  • Rebecca
    Reply

    Brilliant ideas on keeping your child connected. I would say it is of an utmost importance that a kid gets to learn calling via phone. It’s multi-faceted, helps them to get connected and at the same time can be handy when on an emergency situation, like dialing 911. Love the Skype idea for reading books and stories while on the go.

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