By Sphumelele Cele

[everyone calls her Pumi]

Parenting is a lifelong, beautiful challenge. Having distance between parent and child is a disadvantage when trying to navigate certain areas of children’s lives. We take care of responsibilities, discipline and wellbeing all through phone calls and visits that are always too short. Here are some fun ideas to keep the communication lines open during those times apart.

Working together on a goal

Collaboration can be very effective especially for older kids who can tend to speak in short sentences or one word responses during phone conversations.

My son was so excited when he started a new school with gym facilities so we set a fitness challenge between ourselves to exercise at least twice a week. We agreed on the duration, which exercises we were both going to do and on which days.

So on Friday afternoons I will be checking in with my long distance gym partner on his progress and discuss the times he’s missed or the days he’s exceeded his goals.

This gives us more to talk about and we get to set and reach goals together.

Fun activities individually

Activities can be done individually and discussed later. We might not always make it in time to catch that favourite movie or seldom get to watch each other’s favourite shows together. With each movie my son and I watch together, we’re always discussing our funniest, scariest or best action scenes when driving back home. A phone call after watching the same movie or show can have the same effect.

Count down

A count down can give the same excitement you feel as the remaining days before an event gradually fall off. This helps you to share the anticipation and build up as well as remind both parent and child that they look forward to spending that specific time together. This can be an upcoming holiday away together, a birthday or the Christmas holidays.

Technology is always your friend

Skype phone calls might not be a viable option for most but the occasional sms at the start of each day or in the evening will always leave a smile on their face. A colleague also mentioned that he used to call his kids at a planned, scheduled time on specific days which can also give order and establish a set routine.

Snail mail

Handwritten letters have a certain elegance and intention to them. Receiving letters can have a far refreshing impact as compared to email. A letter is more thought out and can also compel the child to share much more information about recent events with you when writing back.

I remembered the excitement and anticipation I felt when the mail came and I would receive a letter back from my grandmother. I don’t recall the detail of the letters but it was enough that she was thinking about me in between visits.

Post cards are also an option for brief, to the point messages.

During some spring cleaning when rummaging through old books I found an old post card my Dad wrote my elder sister from when he was in the states in the early eighties. It was a short, quick message telling her he missed her and encouraging her to learn to write so she could write back to him. That definitely must have been a special experience for her when receiving that correspondence from him.

Communication plays a major role in sustaining any relationship, let’s take advantage of these unconventional methods to continue strengthening the bond with our children.

About the Author

A Client's view about her experience being coached by TelanaPumi is thriving and working toward all things that better her life. She’s a consultant by day. By nightfall she’s a blogger and writer who intends to reach women with the motto “Fill your cup first, Take care of yourself first.”


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