As a follow-up to my post yesterday, a reblog of a fantastic article on the Huffington Post from TwoFunMoms about the virtue of childless aunts, I thought I’d share my thoughts on how to be an awesome aunt when the tiny humans who have pieces of your heart live many states away. Unfortunately I only visit with these guys once or twice a year, way less than I’d like. But that doesn’t mean our relationship has to suffer. Here is what I’ve learned in the almost 6 years since I became a long distance auntie:
1. Start Your Own Special Traditions: Since I am an aunt of 3, it’s difficult to send birthday gifts in the mail. So a few years ago I began the tradition of giving them their birthday gifts on Christmas Eve. This way they look forward to two days of presents. Also during Christmas break, I like to plan a craft for them to do that’s fun. But…..
2. Be Flexible: Sometimes the crafts are not a big hit and they want to do something else. Be flexible enough to roll with the change and have fun doing it.
3. Skype and FaceTime Are Your Best Friends: I admit, I’m not the best when it comes to this tip. I haven’t yet downloaded FaceTime and Skype for some reason is glitchy for me. But there is tremendous value in having them see your face.
4. Record Your Voice Reading a Story and Send it to Them: Hearing your voice will help them make a connection as to who you are.
5. Write Them Letters: I’m not just talking about email here, folks. Although that is certainly another thing you can do. Real paper and pen letters are exciting for kids to receive because they get to unwrap them. For older kids that are just beginning readers, use a list of sight words and small sentences so they are able to read the letter themselves with minimal help. Another thing you can do is start a story. You write one part of the story, send it to your tiny human and they have to use their imagination to come up with the next part of the story. This one may be most effective by email.
6. Pray for Them Daily: When all else fails, PRAY. Prayer is a powerful tool that impacts the lives of your precious tiny humans more than we can comprehend.
I hope these 6 tips help you in your relationship with your little long distance nieces and nephews. If you have other tips that aren’t listed here, post them in the comment section below. Remember you are not alone! Cheers!
*Meme stating the obvious appears courtesy of: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk