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6 Ways To Support Our Family Near And Far

Distance may complicate family relationships, but it doesn’t reduce the love felt for one another. Between working, bringing the kids to school and running errands, supporting your family may leave you feeling overwhelmed and out of time. However, you can change this mindset by adopting several stress-free strategies for supporting family members.

6 Ways To Support Our Family Near And Far

Here are six ways to share encouragement and love with those you care about — regardless of the distance. 

1. Send a Thoughtful Gift or Card

Everyone loves receiving packages and letters in the mail — and it’s even more exciting when the gift is a surprise. Thoughtfulness shows how much you care about the individual and reminds them of their support system. To choose the perfect item to send, you should consider the family member’s needs. You may want to send something sentimental, like your kids’ artwork, or something more purposeful, like a gift basket. 

Ultimately it’s the thought that counts — not the monetary value — so send whatever you feel comfortable sharing.

Simple gift ideas include:

  • Crafts made by your children.
  • Pictures of your family.
  • Food or restaurant gift cards.
  • A candle with their favorite scent.

2. Communicate Frequently

It’s challenging to show your support for family members if you rarely have a chance to speak. Whether it’s distance or a worldwide pandemic keeping you apart, communicating offers you a chance to reconnect. Using digital services and apps, your children can see and speak to their extended family as if they were in the same room together. 

Typically, the people you spend the most time with are the most supportive presences in your life. With that in mind, speaking regularly gives your family a chance to confide in you and utilize your support. Without communication, significant changes and life events may occur and pass by without your knowledge. These discussions will also help establish that you want to be a part of their life and have a genuine relationship.

If video chatting feels like too large of a commitment — or an awkward, uncomfortable activity — you can also communicate via text or email. Even a simple message stating that you’re thinking of them will speak volumes.

3. Invite Them to Participate in Healthy Activities

Bonding over a shared hobby or activity can be a great way to strengthen a relationship and show support. By completing these activities together, you have a chance to be a positive influence in their life. Plus, healthy habits, like eating nutritiously and exercising, help relieve stress and promote good mental health.

Healthy activities to do with family include:

  • Cooking nutritious meals.
  • Going for a walk or hike.
  • Playing a sport.
  • Joining a meditation group.

Spending time together encourages people to get out of their house and experience the world, which may be exactly what they need at that moment. Loneliness can lead to poor decisions, and including them in your life can reduce those thoughts and feelings.

4. Respect Your Family’s Feelings

Perfection is a myth, so planning for disagreements on sensitive topics can help you strategically steer the conversation. When the conversation is light and happy, everyone tends to feel relaxed and stress-free. You can show your support by avoiding uncomfortable subjects, bringing up past mistakes or spilling secrets. When you visit family or talk on the phone, try to remain empathetic and positive and leave the drama at home.

Topics that often cause tension or awkwardness include:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Money
  • Gossip
  • Family problems

There’s a time and place to address serious topics, but it’s rarely at family dinner. If you feel upset or insulted by someone’s comments, pull them aside and ask to have a word in private. Honesty and mutual respect will help discussions move forward, but sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree and change the subject.

5. Acknowledge Boundaries

Respect is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Which means resisting the urge to hover, smother or give endless unsolicited advice. You may mean well, but loved ones deserve to have privacy and freedom — regardless of their past indiscretions. Teach your kids about boundaries, respect and consent, and then lead by example. You should gain permission before hugging, holding hands or taking pictures. 

While those actions may be entirely innocent, you need to respect an individual’s personal space. Imagine it like a bubble — you should show support by staying out of their bubble until they feel comfortable. This is especially true for extended members who may not remember you or know you very well. You might have held them as a baby and changed their diapers, but they won’t remember those situations, and your eagerness may be unwelcome.

6. Plan a Visit

Talking on the phone and planning hobbies are fun, but attending a massive family vacation takes the cake. Inviting your family to attend a shared trip or vacation shows your support for their company and involvement. Think of how you would feel if someone wanted you to attend their family trip. At the very least, you’d feel flattered that someone thought of you!

Not everyone can afford a massive vacation, so try to consider inexpensive destinations or mini-trips you can plan close to their home.

Support Comes in Many Forms

You can use any of these six methods to show support for your family. Remember, help comes in many forms so you should plan activities that fit your lifestyle and your family’s needs. Perhaps babysitting is the greatest gift you could ever give — the key is to share your care in healthy, positive ways. If you don’t know what they genuinely need, ask them outright and offer some suggestions.

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