Whether your family is separated for a short time due to travel or work, or for longer, such as a military deployment, these ideas might also be useful for you...
- Video Conferences. We love talking to Daddy on the computer! There are many options available for free, such as Skype and Google. While we talk we've also found it helpful to have something for the little ones to do to keep their attention, so we've...
- Read stories. We hold the picture so that the kids can see the pictures well and then we can talk about it as a family and make comments on the story.
- Play games. We love to play "I spy" with things we can see in the background of each video conference.
- Show and Tell. The kids love showing things to Daddy (I sometimes think they love seeing themselves in the video as much as they love seeing Daddy!). Everyone gets to choose 2 things to share, such as a favorite toy or art project for the kids, and Daddy tries to share something from where he is, such as his name badge from work or a map of the city where he is.
- Singing Songs. From silly songs to finger plays and nursery rhymes to church songs, we love to sing together, either over the phone or through a video conference.
- Family Devotionals. We share a scripture and pray together, strengthening our faith and courage.
-Because we don't always know when Daddy will be able to talk, and the time difference of 9 hours makes it challenging to coordinate our schedules, Daddy records videos of himself telling stories for the kids. For us it works well that he has posted them on a blog where the kids and I can pull them up anytime. It would also be fun to record videos of the kids playing or out on an adventure and send that to Dad via email. Some types of stories that Daddy records:
- Scripture stories. Usually Daddy is the one to tuck Isaac in at night an always tells a scriptures story to him. Since that isn't possible right now Daddy continues to record himself sharing scriptures stories on his blog and we can listen to them as the kids get ready for bed.
- "A Day in the Life of Daddy." One day my husband recorded short (30seconds to 1 minute long) videos of him going about his day. They included things like eating breakfast, the doors to his work building, his office, riding the train home, making dinner, etc. The kids and I loved getting a small glimpse into what Daddy does each day and what things look like where he lives and works.
- Stories about the Kids. Who doesn't love a story about themselves? Daddy tells stories about specific events when the kids where little. When they learned to walk, a family vacation, any shared experience.
-Games we each play where we are and then report back to one another. For example:
- I Spy Picture Hunt. Daddy made a list of 10 things we need to find in a week and take pictures of while Daddy is also trying to find them and take pictures where he is. On Sunday we have a video conference and share our pictures over email. Some items on the list include a stick, a grocery store, a smile, a pair of socks, etc.
- Continued story. Daddy writes (or records) part of a story and sends it to us. Then we take turns adding on to it. It's funny how creative a 3 year old can be when making up a story!
Playing, talking, laughing together has helped us feel connected even when many miles separate us! We are very grateful for technology!