Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Staying Connected when Away from your Children

No matter the length of time, nor the reason for parents becoming separated from their children and families, there are ways to stay connected. It is very important to children to have regular communication. Regular means communication they can expect and look forward to. It could be weekly, daily, or every other day. The point is to keep the lines open. Doing so will make the separation and transition periods go much more smoothly.

Use of online technology – emails, blogs, webcams and chat rooms are ways to communicate with all ages including partners, children and adult parents. With children, think about writing a story, asking about school or friends so they will write back in response to your questions, sending photo attachments, or sending websites to visit that are appropriate for children then talking about them in the next communication.

Paper communication – letter writing is not a dead art. A hand-written and mailed letter is very special. Enclosing a photograph, a journal of thoughts, a made-up story, or a personally made card are ways to communicate in writing. In addition, children can save these and share them with their friends or at school.

Videos, DVDs and audio files are great ways to stay in touch. Having a parent record their voice reading a series of children’s books for bedtime is a wonderful way to keep your voice in the child’s world.

Books can also help children begin to address their complex emotions. When reading, the point is not simply to read through the book but use the book as a tool for discussion. Once children begin to question or open-up, pause the reading and talk, affirm their safety and comfort them.

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