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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?