Toddlers and Long Distance Relationships

My parents live 5000 miles away from my young daughter. Yet, the three of them act as though they have lived together all of their lives. They are like peas in a pod, despite the miles that separate them. People are always amazed that while they only see each other for a few weeks twice a year, their bond is rock solid. We speak on the phone regularly and I send home videos to keep everyone updated on my daughter’s milestones, but I also try to bridge the gap between the two states by employing the following ideas:

Photo Placemats

I am an avid photographer, but you don’t have to be to complete this project. First, find several pictures of the family members your child doesn’t get to see in person very often. Next, place the images on a thin plastic placemat or a sturdy piece of cardboard. You can arrange the photos in a collage or simply place them end-to end. When you have the pictures in place, adhere them to the mat with glue or double stick tape. Finally, laminate the placemat or cover it with clear contact paper. When it’s done, you are left with a conversation piece covered with the smiling faces of long distance loved ones.

Mailing Memories

When they’re together my daughter and my mom spend a lot of time drawing. When they are apart I keep the tradition alive by getting a large piece of construction paper and dividing it into two sections. At the top of each section I write my daughter’s name and “Grandma.” My daughter lets loose on her section and when her masterpiece is done we stick the paper into an envelope and mail it off to grandma to complete her section. When my mom is done with her artwork she mails the completed paper back to us. My daughter gets a kick out of seeing the finished piece, and what’s more, she loves getting mail.

Whether it’s 50 miles or 5000, no parent wants the bond between grandchild and grandparent (or any other family member) to be compromised by distance. The aforementioned projects are just two of many ways you can keep the memories alive despite the miles in between.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.