Letting go is hard to do no matter what age your child is moving out of state. Whether they are preschool age going to live with another parent, cousins, or grandparent in another state, or leaving to move into their college dorm at their new school. Maybe even your adult children are moving for a new job. Being a long-distance parent means you must learn to cope with a lot of change when your child leaves.
But despite all the ups and downs of coping with your child moving out of state, you’ll be able to manage with planning, flexibility, and a little bit of creativity. You’ll get used to likely experiencing a range of similar emotions each time you and your long-distance child reunite, such as joy, thankfulness, and nostalgia.
And thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected and cope with being separated for long periods in a long-distance parent-child relationship.
To help you cope with your child moving out of state, our team at Lovebox has put together our top nine ways to cope with your child moving out of state. Of course, every long-distance parent-child relationship is unique.
Still, we believe these nine key coping ways will ensure you and your child have a successful and healthy relationship no matter how many states are between you.
Ready to go? Let’s get started.
Is It Possible To Maintain a Healthy Parent-Child Relationship When Your Child Lives in Another State?
First and foremost, before we dive into ways of coping when your child lives in another state, let’s discuss if and how it’s possible to maintain a healthy parent-child relationship from a distance. In short, absolutely!
In fact, now more than ever, it’s likely not just to survive living away from your child but to thrive. Thanks to modern technology and the immediacy of travel today, you can have a healthy, close, loving relationship and not live in the same state.
No matter the distance, a long-distance parent-child relationship will have its own unique set of challenges, just like every parent-child relationship. Therefore, learn how to take advantage of all of the tools at your disposal to cope with this big change.
Think about learning to use live streams and video chats. You can exchange texts: Text pictures and videos to show how your day is going. Ask to see their pets, new best friend, and new house. You can also keep up with their school through their newsletter to stay involved.
Technology is your best friend when it comes to coping with the distance between you and your child, especially during challenging times in your lives. However, sometimes it may be impossible to use technology.
Maybe you are deployed to an area with no Wi-FI or cell service. Perhaps your child may not have access to iPads or cell phones. That’s okay.
Family Life: Staying Connected Without the Internet
There’s still plenty of ways to stay connected with your child that does not involve technology, including:
- Becoming pen-pals with your child. Sending old-fashioned letters back and forth is an excellent way to stay connected during a relocation. Not only does it keep you updated on their lives, but you can watch their writing grow and change over time. Plus, one day, you will have a whole stack of beautiful letters to cherish for the rest of your life.
- Send Care Packages – packing a care package for your long-distance child is a great way to let them know how much you think about them and how much you care. Send them their favorite non-perishable snacks, a few coloring books or a new journal, some crayons, and easy-to-use art projects.
- Send postcards – your child would love to know more about the area you live in (if you are allowed to share your new location). Postcards are super cheap and a great way to share more of your life with them.
Whatever route you choose, there are always creative ways to stay connected and cope when your child lives in another state in a new place. A good rule of thumb is to ask your child their favorite form of communication and what amount of time they want to spend connecting every day.
They probably have plenty of thoughts on the subject. It may take time to find the best way to work for you and your child, but you’ll be glad you did.
9 Ways To Cope When Your Child Lives in Another State
Ready to discover how to cope when your child moves out of state? Let’s break it down.
1. Focus on the Team Effort
Long-distance parenting needs to be a team effort. Not only is it healthier for the child to have a strong relationship with everyone co-parenting, but it ensures a safe and trusting place for them to foster a strong emotional bond with both parents. This is in the best interest of everyone.
A key component of coping with a child living out of state is when all parental units accept that you must put aside your possible grief and tension and focus on the child. Encouraging a strong emotional bond with both parents reinforces their connection with the parent that lives out of state.
2. Be Consistent, Yet Adaptable
Long-distance parenting involves a lot of flexibility. For example, travel plans change due to busy schedules, sickness, military positions, or other commitments. Finding a parenting plan that works should alleviate any confusion or unnecessary disputes regarding parenting.
A lot of planning goes into long-distance parenting relationships. Whether traveling to them or traveling to you, co-parenting households make it necessary to have detailed plans in place. Make sure all of your advanced travel plans cover all of the expenses, expectations, and any scheduling conflicts that may arise.
In addition, depending on the child's age, the realities of long-distance parenting can drastically change. For example, what may be essential to discuss with the other parent for a toddler will be considerably different from teenagers.
Talk everything through with the other co-parent regarding the custody arrangements and visits. This will help you cope with any changes, setbacks, or new challenges that may occur.
3. Be Proactive in Seeking Help When Needed
When coping gets considerably challenging, it’s essential to seek help from a local support group of other parents raising children in another state. You must cope with a lot as a long-distance parent. It’s okay to experience a complicated mix of emotions, such as feelings of sadness, joy, nostalgia, and happiness.
And it's normal to dwell on these emotions and a possible sense of loss at first. However, seek additional mental health support if you’re finding it difficult to fill the void vacated by the children in your home.
Coping as a long-distance parent does not have to be lonely or leave you prone to depression. There are people in your own life who you would love to step up and help. Ask a close friend or family nearby if you are feeling a bit of empty nest syndrome.
4. Stay Positive
Although it may not feel like it now, it’s an exciting time for both you and your child. Change doesn’t have to be negative. Change can be positive.
Learn to focus your negative thoughts on what you’d like to accomplish while being a long-distance parent. Embrace your new role and learn to appreciate the moments you do have together.
5. Find New Hobbies
It’s essential to spend time with you. Learning to cope with your child moving out of state requires a lot of energy. Take that energy to focus on new fun things to move your life in a positive direction.
Take the time to take up new hobbies to fill your time. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to play the drums. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to write or paint.
Now is the time to spend on yourself to learn and grow in your new role. All parents need to devote time to themselves, and long-distance parents are no exception.
6. Learn Your New Identity
You’ll always be your child’s parent, but when your child lives out of state, it’s essential to cope with this change by learning your new role in their life. As a long-distance parent in a parent-child relationship, take the time to discover how you can best support both of you in this change.
It may be challenging at first, but not only are you a parent, but you are also someone’s child, a valuable member of the community, a neighbor, and so much more. Again, it may be challenging to cope with that realization at first, but over time you will be able to move your life in a positive direction knowing who you are.
7. Find New, Creative Ways to Communicate
When your usual forms of communication get old, it’s essential to find new creative ways to communicate with your child living out of state. And we have the perfect solution: Our Lovebox for Kids is the most popular way to stay connected and deliver instant expressions of affection from a distance. It’s super fun and easy-to-use, no matter the child's age.
It’s the cutest gift to connect with children by sending them cute messages, stickers, drawings, pictures, and so much more. Simply create your message in our free easy-to-use app and send it to their Lovebox for Kids.
When they receive your transmission, the spinny heart on their box will start to spin, letting them know they have a new message. Then, after they open the lid of the box and read your message, they can send you a waterfall of hearts to cascade over your screen.
For the whole Lovebox experience, check out the Lovebox for Parents to truly be creative in your communication! Your kids will love to send you back sweet loving messages and stickers to make you smile. Even kids entering adulthood will appreciate a sweet message popping up in their new residence.
Lovebox is a unique way to make both parent and child smile no matter the distance between you. You can even schedule your messages ahead and set up reminders to never miss a message.
8. Reconnect with Those Around You
Reconnecting with those around you is a fantastic way to cope with your child moving out of state. It’s essential to surround yourself with people who love you and people you love during this time of transition.
If your parents are in the area, they would love to spend time with you. If you have siblings, nieces, or nephews, take this time to get to know them. Use this extra time to reconnect with neighbors or a new friend who you may not have been able to spend time with for quite some time.
9. Make Time for Yourself
When you are a parent, your time is no longer your own. It demands your time and energy, even when your child lives in another state. Make time to recharge at the end of a long day.
Draw a hot bubble bath, start reading through a pile of unread books on your nightstand during bedtime, get back to cooking what you like. It’s essential to take care of yourself!
Sweet Messages and Loving Promises
All in all, discovering how to cope when your child moves out of state is up to each parent-child relationship.
It’s essential to let your child know you are always available for them and to find a specific time to chat to have a sense of balance for both of you. Long-distance parenting requires a significant amount of trust and teamwork from both parental units for your child to feel loved and protected.
Through our nine beneficial coping strategies, you can build a solid parent-child relationship no matter how many states are between the two of you. Have faith and hope in the process.
With a balance of fun activities, a listening ear, and a loving, supportive system in place, you can cope with anything life throws at you as a parent. Don’t forget when you need a fun new way to keep your child’s attention, our Lovebox for Kids is the perfect answer.
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How to Cope With Your Child Moving Away From Home | Psychology Today
Advice for parents: how to say goodbye when your child leaves home | The Guardian