No matter the distance between you and your child, being a long-distance parent can be confusing, frustrating, and incredibly rewarding. Every long-distance parent-child relationship is unique and special. Due to certain circumstances, you may not get to see your child for many weeks or months.
There are many possible reasons you may be long-distance parenting, including:
- Divorce or separation
- Job or educational opportunity in another state or country
- Military deployment or training exercises in another state or country
- Boarding, military, or prep school
- Work that requires frequent travel
Whatever the case may be, it is entirely possible to find healthy ways to cope with the distance! However, there will be times when a long-distance relationship with your child seems tiring and overwhelming. Don’t despair!
A successful parent-child relationship can be fulfilling, loving, and rewarding. Remember, keeping the lines of communication open and consistent allows both of you to feel secure and emotionally connected in your long-distance relationship.
How Can You Stay Connected When Your Child Lives Far Away?
First and foremost, technology is your best friend in a long-distance parent-child relationship. Learn how to use the tools at your disposal to keep communication open and available for your child. In addition, make sure to stay active on whatever socials your child uses so you can remain as involved as possible in their life and so they feel comfortable sharing what is going on in their daily life. Sign up for social media groups and school emails to stay updated on your child’s daily activities.
Don’t forget to take advantage of video chats and live streams. You can watch your child’s dance recitals, soccer matches, and piano recitals if you cannot make it in person. Any effort to stay involved will not go unnoticed by your child.
Technology also helps you cope with the distance between you and your children, especially during difficult times. You can always ask your child for help if you’re not comfortable using technology such as a live stream. You’ll be glad you did!
10 Ways To Cope When Living Away From Your Child
Ready to discover our best tips for learning how to cope with living away from your child? Let’s break it down!
1. Be Gentle and Forgiving With Yourself When You Get Discouraged
All relationships have their ups and downs: your long-distance relationship with your child is no different. Learning how to cope with living away from your child can sometimes be an emotional rollercoaster of uncertainty.
However, be gentle with yourself because it is easier than ever to overcome any uncertainty or doubt in your long-distance relationship, with modern communication and support from friends and family. Remember, you are not alone!
2. Long-Distance Parenting Needs To Be a Team Effort
Whatever your unique parenting situation may be, encourage all parental influences involved in co-parenting to work together to foster strong emotional bonds for the child's sake. Maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents or guardians gives all involved a sense of stability and connection.
Despite personal feelings for each other, show your child they come first in the situation. Knowing you are on a team will help you cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation. Don’t forget you are in this together!
3. Agree on a Day and Time Each Week To Connect and Catch Up
One of the primary challenges with not physically being present in your child’s day-to-day activities is miscommunication or inconsistent communication. Discuss with your child a specific time each week they have available to nurture healthy communication. Consistent dialogue with your child ensures both of you feel loved and heard in the relationship.
Try to connect over a phone call or video chat so you can have face-to-face communication. Texting and emailing are great to keep up throughout the day, but it’s essential to spend intentional time actively listening and looking at each other. It’s easy to get distracted with other forms of communication, but with face-to-face interaction, you have no other choice but to pay attention!
4. Accept the Timing and Situation You Are In
Timing is everything. Living away from your child may be for just a short season in both of your lives, or it may be long-term. Either way, you both can learn and grow in your current living situation! So many long-distance parents learn to cope with the distance through acceptance and thankfulness that you both can thrive while separated.
Through long-distance, you also become more appreciative of the time you get to spend together and look forward to the next visit!
5. Focus on the Positives in Both of Your Lives
One of the essential keys to coping with living away from your child is to remind yourself of your current situation's blessings. Maybe you are pursuing higher education to build a better life for both of you. Perhaps your child is getting to live in an exciting new city and having all kinds of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Concentrate on the positive aspects of your time apart to help you cope with the distance. By focusing on thankfulness, you learn to cope with the distance and develop healthy habits for your and your child’s emotional well-being.
If you’re having trouble staying positive, then reach out to a licensed counselor, pastor, friend, or family member and share your feelings with them. There’s never any shame in feeling down or discouraged, and those closest to you would want you to reach out!
6. Seek Support When Your Thoughts or Feelings Seem Overwhelming
Everyone needs to vent and share their feelings at some point. It’s not healthy to keep your emotions bottled up instead of letting them out. Instead, seek support in a safe place where you can share your feelings of joy, sadness, frustration, or whatever you may be feeling.
Try to find a support group for parents living away from their children in your local area. Or find a trusted neighbor, pastor, or friend who may have had parented children living away from home and offer advice or hope. It’s okay to ask for help!
7. Look for New Opportunities To Bond Over Shared Experiences
Use your imagination and develop exciting new activities to have fun together and create a powerful emotional connection that will be with you and your child for years to come! Spending time with your child, no matter the distance, will help you cope with the physical distance between the two of you.
Long-distance doesn’t have to mean you have to be far away. Simply find activities you enjoy and learn to use technology to use them together.
Do you need some help getting your creative juices flowing? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Play online games or video games together
- Stream the same movie or T.V. show, then talk about it afterward.
- Read the same book either separately or over FaceTime.
- Work on your separate projects together while on video chat to be together while separate.
- Take a virtual class together.
- Learn the same instrument.
- Cook the same meal and then eat together over a video call.
The opportunities for finding activities to do together virtually are endless. As long as it’s something you both enjoy, then the distance between you and your child won’t seem as far away. In addition, bonding over shared experiences is an excellent coping strategy because you get to spend time together and do something fun you’ll both always remember!
8. Be Proactive in Supporting the Emotional Needs of Both You and Your Child
Often in long-distance parenting relationships, it can be challenging to gauge the emotional health of your relationship with your child. Short phone calls and texts are usually not enough to determine if you both feel supported emotionally. Therefore, it is imperative to have regular “check-ups” on your relationship while living away from your child.
Are you becoming co-dependent on your relationship? Is one or both of you not feeling heard or feel something is lacking in your relationship? Finding healthy ways to cope living away from your child involves continually evaluating the health of your relationship with your long-distance child.
As in any connection, it is easy to form unhealthy habits. However, by regularly taking the “pulse” of your relationship, you will learn to cope healthfully with living away from your child.
9. Practice Empathy and Understanding of Your Child’s Schedule and Time Constraints
Life can get hectic for everyone at times. It can be challenging keeping you with your long-distance child’s schedule and understanding their time constraints. Sometimes they may have to cancel your weekly phone call or a previously scheduled time to chat. Or perhaps you may have something come up, and you need to reschedule. And that’s perfectly okay!
Learn to practice empathy with your child and teach your child to do the same. For a quick reminder, empathy is understanding and feeling what someone else is going through in their life. By both you and your long-distance child making it a habit of practicing empathy, you are developing outstanding relationship skills that will be beneficial for years to come!
10. Find Exciting New Ways To Communicate
Texting and video chatting can sometimes get old. So when you feel that both of you are bored in your form of communication, don’t limit yourself with your regular form of communication. Instead, switch things up with spontaneous creativity. For example, start sending your child an audio recording of a fun story or message in the morning for them to have something to listen to from you on the way to school.
If you’ve been looking for a new way to communicate, then look no further! Our team at Lovebox has designed a unique, connected messaging device that pairs with our free, user-friendly app to send sweet messages back and forth from you and your child. It is perfect for long-distance parenting! You can send lots of love with photos, notes, drawings, personalized stickers, and even postcards from the Lovebox app!
In addition, you can schedule your note and get reminders to send messages if your child lives in different time zones or if you’re busy when you want to send a message at a particular time in their day.
Then, when they receive your message, the heart on their Lovebox will spin, letting them know you’ve reached out. After they read your note, your child can send a waterfall of hearts to cascade over your app in return. Go beyond regular texting and letters and start sending special messages, all save on the app to look back over one day!
Our Lovebox for Parents is a one-of-a-kind, heartfelt device that will help you cope with living away from your child and that you will cherish for years to come. We even have a Lovebox for Kids that comes in the cutest box for them to receive your messages! They can even change the spinny heart on their box to something of their choosing, such as a dog or cat spinny or a purple or blue heart spinny.
To effectively learn how to cope with living away from your child, it’s essential to stay connected with your child through technology, open communication, and a specific time and day each week to chat. In addition, long-distance parenting requires teamwork from all parties involved for both parent and child to maintain a sense of stability and trust.
Through healthy coping strategies such as accepting the timing of your situation and focusing on the positives in both of your lives, you can build a solid emotional bond no matter how great the distance is between the two of you. However, the most crucial advice is to seek support from a trusting and safe source when life seems overwhelming. Remember, you are never alone!
And don’t forget to find fun activities to share that will create a solid parent-child emotional bond. Regularly practice empathy and teach your child to do the same. When communication gets monotonous, try our Lovebox for Parents for a truly unique way to communicate. By following our coping strategies, you will have a fulfilling, loving, and rewarding long-distance relationship with your child for life!