Long distance parenting is challenging especially when it comes to creating a long distance parenting plan that works for everyone.
Long-Distance Parenting Tips to Stay Involved
Long distance parenting is more challenging than normal parenting. It takes a concerted effort to stay connected with your child. We are sharing tried and true tips to help you stay connect with your child even when you are apart as well as how to create a long distance parenting plan that is best for your child!
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7 Long Distance Parenting Strategies that Work
The biggest thing about long distance parenting is you HAVE TO co-parent effectively. It is important to set co-parenting boundaries, but you also want to have open communication with your ex.
Things you should communicate about are:
- events that your child is involved in
- Major updates on life / exciting things happening
- Doctors appointments / other medical appointments
This helps keep both parents involved in your child’s life. Parenting really is a team effort that you are both involved in.
Frequent Phone Calls / Facetime Calls / Texting
When it comes to long distance parenting, technology is going to be your best friend.
You want to call and Facetime your kids as often as you can when they are away. It is best if these conversations are upbeat and positive. Use this time to get updated on what is happening with school, sports, church, and other activities that interest your kids.
Make this meaningful time with your child where you are focused on them and not distractions that are around you.
If your kids are not big talkers then perhaps try interacting by playing an online game with them.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away, kids are busy, just keep trying to reach out.
All kids love getting mail, especially from their mom and dad. Send postcards, letters, or maybe care packages to them.
This is such a simple thing when it comes to long distance parenting, but makes a huge difference in your kids’ lives. It is basically saying, “Hey, I am thinking about you and I love you!”
Even though you are long distance parenting, be sure your kids know that you are always available and they can call at any time if they need you.
This brings so much comfort to your kids knowing they can always count on you.
Let them Take Things Between Houses
Does your child adore something of yours that you can live without? Maybe there is something that they have at your house that they love.
It is important when distance parenting to let your kids take things from house to house. It provides them with a little piece of you while they are not with you.
Spend One on One Time Together
When you don’t always see your kids, it is even more important to spend one on one time with one another when you are together.
Pick things to do that your child really enjoys. I am not saying to be the Disneyland parent that takes them on all these big fancy trips, I am saying spend time with just them running errands, eating ice cream, getting your nails done, etc. Things that can be easily done with your kids, that don’t cost a lot of money. Grabbing a kid’s coupon book allows you to have lots of special moments with your kids when you are together!
Go visit them
Whenever possible, go visit your kids. Go see their school, meet their friends, watch them in an event. This really helps connect with your child.
There you have it! 7 easy ways to long distance parent to stay involved and connected with your child!
Now that you know how to long distance parent it is important to create a long distance parenting plan with your ex-spouse. This can be difficult to do if you and your ex have a hard time communicating.
When creating a long distance parenting plan it is important to always put the child and their needs first.
How to Create a Long Distance Parenting Plan
Creating a schedule
You want to create a long distance parenting plan with your ex.
This doesn’t mean, “Oh yeah the kids will come visit at some point during the summer.” It means actually picking a timeframe and sticking with it year after year.
Kids thrive on consistency and they want to know when they are going to come and see you.
Set a plan and stick to it, but be a little flexible within the plan.
When creating a schedule you want to consider these factors:
- Age of the kids
- Financial burden
Age of the Kids
When creating your schedule you want to consider the age of the kids. Older kids are able to adapt better whereas younger kids don’t.
Young kids also can’t fly alone, or might be scared too, which requires a parent to fly back and forth with them. This requires working parents to take time off work more often if you are creating a schedule with several trips throughout the year.
If you live a couple of hours away it is easier to see the kids more frequently so a long distance parenting plan could easily include long weekends instead of just school breaks.
When kids are traveling by airplane this harder due to long waits in the airports, travel times, possible time changes, etc.
Determine a plan that works for your kids and try it. Make the necessary adjustments as needed.
A big factor in establishing a long distance parenting plan is the cost. Who will pay for the tickets? How many tickets will each person pay for? How much are the flights especially around the holidays?
This is a big factor when creating a scheudle.
Whatever the long distance parenting plan you establish you want to make sure you and your ex are willing to be flexible. There are times where the boys will fly out a day early or a day late from both of our houses to save lots of money on airfare.
So try as hard as you can to set a plan, but have some flexibility to it.
As you follow these tips and tricks when it comes to long distance parenting you are guaranteed to always be an important part of your child’s life even if you can’t be right there with them every day!
What tips would you add to the list? Share in the comments!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!