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Fostering Family Closeness: Tips for Mom

If you are like a lot of moms, you probably spend some time thinking about how you can bring your immediate and extended family closer and increase bonding, especially if some of you live far away from one another. How can you make sure your kids grow up knowing their cousins or grandparents who live on the other side of the country? How can you keep showing your family that you love and care for them even though you are far away? And just as importantly, how do you ensure that your own family is establishing strong bonds? The tips below can help.

Stick Figure Family

Have Flowers Delivered

A flower subscription service can help you give not only a one-time gift of flowers but a delivery that arrives at your mom’s front door every month. You can get your kids involved in choosing the flowers as well. Show her how much you care and give her a gift she will love with a regular delivery of beautiful fresh blossoms. This is a great way to show that you are thinking about her all year long.

Family Meetings

Your children may complain and roll their eyes, but having a regular family meeting can foster a sense that you all belong and have a voice in what the family does. Choose a regular time to have these, either weekly or monthly, that is relatively convenient for everyone and make it fun, with pizza or whatever the favorite food treat is. Topics of conversation might be the family budget and what to spend it on, where to go for a vacation, or how to split up chores. If anyone has some grievances, this is the place to bring it up, but overall, the tone should be positive and upbeat. Kids, especially as they get older, can start to feel alienated from the family structure. This helps remind them that you are a unit, working together toward common goals.

Food and Family

Even a regular family meeting can’t substitute for regularly eating dinner together. This may not always be possible, especially as your children get older and busier and may have sports practice, rehearsals, study groups, or part-time jobs to go to. However, you should make an effort to have everyone sit down and eat dinner together at least a few times a week. It may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in your family’s closeness.

Connecting from a Distance

It’s great if you can set up video chats between kids and their grandparents, cousins, or other relatives far away, but sometimes sitting and chatting at a computer can feel awkward. Look for other ways to connect online. For example, kids may enjoy playing video games together. With older relatives, you might want to try playing board games, watching a movie or even cooking together. While new technology is great, don’t discount the value of old technology either. For both you and your kids, there can be a real novelty in writing and receiving snail mail letters, cards and postcards. This can also be helpful for older relatives who aren’t tech-savvy or comfortable using the internet.

About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011), BonAppetit.com, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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