You live Johannesburg, but Mum lives in London. Your sister lives in Newfoundland and your in-laws live in California! Does that mean your kids can’t be close to all of them? No! These fun bonding ideas will keep your kids close to your family’s hearts, and vice-versa.

Send a Movie Card

Direct your own movie and send it in a card. Unleash your creativity with these fun and customisable video cards.

Capture the Everyday

Shoot everyday happenings, not just the big milestones. Start a family YouTube channel where you can upload short daily videos of your baby eating peas, your toddler playing with his trucks, or your big kid talking about his day at school. It’s the everyday stuff that encourages intimacy and bonding with the grandparents.

Scan Your Kids’ Artwork

Scan or photograph your children’s drawings and paintings and send them to the grandparents, with GrandCamp Adventures, which publishes storybooks made specifically for grandparents and grandkids. That way, Granny can “ooh” and “ahh” over the masterpieces while talking to your kids on the phone—and your kids can bask in their pride.

Keep Track Of Cheap Flights

Sign up on Kayak to be notified about if/when flights to wherever your family lives dip below a price that you designate. When it does, book it! Even it means missing school, a few (affordable) days with Mom is worth it.

Plan an Annual Get-Together

If Disneyland is not in the cards anytime soon, plan a more low-key family vacation that you can do every year. Take a weekend camping trip; spend day or two at an amusement park near you; rent a cabin near a lake; or host a weekend of “Family Olympics” at your home every summer (with basketball shooting competitions, water balloon tosses, tug of war, and trivia games).

Video Chat

Use Skype to replace some of your regular phone calls. Live chats like this can go a long way in making your kid feel like Granny is just in the other room, not in another country. Schedule a weekly time to do it, so that you’re not trying to grab the kids from what they’re doing at the last minute, when they probably won’t want to talk.

Ask Granny to Babysit

Instead of spending money on a babysitter for a week, why not use the money to buy a plane ticket to fly in Granny who is dying to look after the kids? Spending time with your kids (without you around) is a fantastic way for her to bond with them. And your little ones will love the novelty of a new caregiver, and will probably be on their best behaviour to boot!

Send Fun e-cards

Select from hundreds of photos and animations for online greetings. Great cards for birthdays and other special occasions.

Send Snail Mail

Even though kids are used to instant communication gratification, they’re still super excited to get mail that has their name on it! And what grandparent doesn’t love opening up a drawing or mail that she can hang on the fridge? Major bonding points for care packages!

Play the “Who Loves You?” Game

In the car, before bed, or during other quiet moments, ask your child to name all of the people who love them. He’ll likely start with his parents and siblings, but then encourage him to think of his more distant relatives. Say, “Auntie Beth loves you, too!” and “Cousin Evan loves you sooo much!”

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