The relationship I had with my grandmother and grandfather is one I deeply treasure, but how can I help my kids build that close and loving relationship when their grandparents live hundreds of miles away?
Thankfully the kids grandparents who live far away are committed to these relationships too, and today I’m partnering with CloudPets™ to share one of our secrets for building strong bonds.
Forming strong family bonds is all about communication and day-to-day interaction. It doesn’t take hours of conversation for a child to feel loved; it takes feeling noticed, valued and included in daily life. So how to do that across the miles? This is where these mini-connection prompts come in.
10 Connection Prompts
Print this list of “mini-connections” for a quick way to connect with kids from afar. By sharing your daily life, you help create an ongoing story and continue building the communication that leads to strong bonds.
These mini-connection questions are small but mighty – specific enough that most kids can answer easily, and they prompt both of you to share the details of life that make for a rich relationship. Feel free to adjust for age and interests, of course.
10 Mini-Connection Prompts
- What was your favorite part of the day? (You can tell yours too.)
- What are you doing right now? (You can share about what you’re doing too.)
- Where are you right now? (Can you see the same moon?)
- What did you have for breakfast? (or lunch, dinner – what’s your favorite food?)
- What’s one thing you’re looking forward to about _____________ (Christmas, your birthday, school, this weekend, seeing your friend…)
- Sing a song – Happy Birthday, You Are My Sunshine… (Perhaps ask about a song the child knows that they can sing to you.)
- Tell a poem or rhyme. (Maybe a silly bedtime rhyme, an I love you rhyme, etc.)
- Tell a joke, or ask them to tell you a joke.
- Tell me one thing you’ve learned this week.
- Send a dream – I hope you dream about “butterflies” tonight, etc.
Collect moments to tell about that are meaningful to the specific child you’re connecting with. For instance, if you saw a hummingbird together last time you saw them, and you see another hummingbird you could share that.
Make it specific – particularly with young children, it’s much easier to answer a specific question (Tell me one thing about…) rather than a big open ended one (Tell me about your day.)
Make it regular – You might try to make a regular time to connect. It’s not always possible, but can be a fun way to build anticipation if you’re getting in touch at a certain time of day, every Saturday night, every Monday morning, etc.
My mom (Nana to the grand-kids) is not exactly a phone-loving person – she adores the kids, but is not keen to sit through an hour-long conversation that mostly contains “Ummm, uhhh. hmmmm.” She says she “collects” these short ways to talk with the kids to keep the conversation flowing and satisfying for both of them.
Using Mini-Connection Prompts with CloudPets™
A great way to use these prompts would be with CloudPets™. My daughter received a kitty CloudPet as part of the partnership for this article. I’ve been surprised by the joy this this stuffed animal brings that can send messages from people who love my kids. I hadn’t thought about, prior to receiving the CloudPet, how intangible it can be for kids to talk on the phone. This kitty gives my daughter a cute stuffed animal to dress (in bows! and a ring on her tail! and barrettes and, humorously, underpants). Then it brings her messages from the people who love her most – how cool!
I also like the safety features of the CloudPets™ app (which is available for Android and Apple). I can approve or reject all incoming messages, and no messages can be sent to, or received from, CloudPets™ except from a device within 30 feet. However, messages can be sent to profiles (and then to a CloudPet) from anywhere in the world, making it so Grammy, Papa or Nana or even our friends who moved out of state, can safely send sweet messages from wherever they are.
I intend to use this kitty CloudPet with grandparents, but we actually got the CloudPet (which my 4 year old named Cuddle Cat) shortly before a trip that took us away from her dad. At bedtime the kitty had a message from Papa. My daughter was delighted to be able to touch the kitty’s paw and listen to Papa tell her how much he loves her (she could listen to the message three times in a row if she wanted even, and she did.). Then she was able to go to sleep with “Cuddle Cat” soft and cozy beside her, giving her a sense of home and closeness with her dad.
Wherever the people you love are, you can find ways to build relationship. Share a bit about yourself, send your love and learn a few details about their life. The next time you’re together you’ll already have a framework for relating and your bond will continue to grow.
Do you have ways you connect long distance? Let me know by leaving a comment and I hope you’ll share this printable with your loved ones who are far away.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CloudPets™.
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.