In the United States today, millions of children grow up hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away from their grandparents and extended family members. But as new technologies (and some old fashioned creativity) make it easier than ever to connect with those who are far away, more families are finding innovative ways to share life and love across the miles.
Here are our 10 favorite ways to stay in touch with loved ones far away:
|Touchnote provides effortless postcard and greeting card sending from your computer, mobile, or tablet. No need to visit the post office or buy a stamp. Buy a single card or a package of postcards and Touchnote will ship your personalized cards directly to family. Aren’t you thoughtful!|
|Create a Kindred Prints photo booklet in a few taps on your smartphone. Every month you’ll pull recent photos from your phone, Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can quickly select your favorite ones and approve the order. Kindred does the rest! Voila!|
|Hallmark features a recordable storybook, allowing you to record your own voice reading a story to a family member far away.|
|Create a Smash Book! The scrapbooking project for those of us that are less-than-perfect crafters. By embracing the imperfect, Smash Books make it easy to record memories and experiences in real time, so you can more easily remember and share memories.
|Plan a StoryCorps intervieweither for over the phone, or for your next visit together. The organization, which records historical and personal interviews for posterity, has generated helpful suggestions for recording a conversation of your own, depending on the person you’re interviewing. StoryCorps has made it easy, but now you have to ask the questions!|
|Make a Little Box of Sunshine! Create a fun package to get your kids to do and send to family that lives far away. Who doesn’t love a care package with happiness boxed inside? You can keep the contents simple, it’s the thought that really counts.|
|Book special dates on FaceTime where Grandma/Grandpa/other family and friends reads your child a story before bed. Ask your child to pick out the book — you can even mail it in advance.|
|“Mail a hug“: Trace your hands, measure your arm length from wrist to wrist, glue together. It’s not quite as squeezy as a real one, but a mail hug will do until next time.|
|Send inexpensive plastic cameras to your family members and include pre-addressed, stamped padded envelopes for their easy return. Go old school and develop the film and have your child share stories of his or her adventures over the phone.|
|Turn a family photo into a puzzle using one of several online photo services. Spend the time talking about family members and memories while putting the pieces together. You’re a family, whether the pieces are scattered around the country (or the world!), or all nestled in tight together.|