No matter how old you are, you will still always be your parents’ baby. Even when you’re grown up, married, and have children of your own, they’ll still remember you fondly as the little ruffian who got into everything when you were younger.
However, even if your relationship with your parents is still as strong and loving as it has always been, eventually you’ll have to move out. Some children simply pack up their bags and move around the block. Others stay in the same city. But what if you and your parents are in opposite states — or on the opposite coasts of the country, even?
Fortunately, staying in touch with your parents (even when miles separate you!) does not have to be an arduous task. There are a few things you can do to help bridge that gap between you, allowing you to firmly secure that coveted spot as the “favorite child” once more.
Don’t Be a Stranger
First and foremost, as a long-distance child, the last thing you want to do is be a stranger to your parents. While it’s far too easy to get caught up in your day-to-day life, you still need to remember to carve out time for your parents each week. Even with the miles between you, they still love you and miss you.
Even if you can’t fly out to visit them, you can still find other ways to stay in touch with your parents. These days, there are a myriad of technological options to help you connect with your parents. Either call them up, send them a heartfelt text, or even arrange a video call with them. They’ll be sure to appreciate it!
Send Thoughtful Gifts
Who doesn’t love receiving gifts? Almost everyone can agree that getting a surprise in the mail is the perfect pick-me-up. Even better, the gift doesn’t have to be expensive to put a smile on someone’s face, either. As long as it’s a thoughtful gift, your parents should be sure to love it.
If you’re strapped for cash, why not simply send a handwritten letter to your parents, updating them on your life? Or if you don’t have time to get to the post office, perhaps you can send them a gift online. Or maybe you can sign them up for art classes or something similar, then notify them of the gift with a call. The possibilities are endless.
Help Them Plan for the Future
As your parents age, they may find it harder to do the normal things that they once did. Simple tasks like going to the grocery store or even paying their bills can become more difficult. While nobody likes to acknowledge that their parents are getting older, it’s still important to be aware of this.
If your parents are getting up in years, you may want to look into hiring a trusted long-distance caregiver for them. These respite caregivers can stay with your parents for a few hours a day and even overnight, helping to ensure they remain in their home. Plus, these providers are all across the country. If you’re looking for quality respite care, New York, Tampa, San Francisco, and other cities are sure to have the right person for your parents.
Rally Your Siblings
If you’re an only child, it can be especially difficult to live far away from your parents. Not only can you struggle with guilt for not being at their beck and call, but knowing they’re so far away from you can be particularly hard. However, if you have siblings, take heart: you’re not alone.
If possible, see if any of your brothers or sisters can help keep your parents engaged. Or, if you don’t have siblings, maybe a cousin or another family member can step into this role. By having other people in your family help you, it can seem so much less overwhelming when trying to keep that relationship between yourself and your parents going strong.
You’re Still a Good Kid
No matter how old you are or how busy you seem to be, it doesn’t mean you’re a “bad” child if you forget to call your parents every once in a while. It’s normal to feel guilty if you haven’t had a chance to visit your parents lately, especially with the new restrictions on travel making it more difficult.
By taking the time to stay in touch with your parents, though, you can find that happy balance between living your own life and remaining involved in theirs. Even if you can’t send them letters every week or call every day, it doesn’t change the fact that you love them and you’re doing your best — and your parents are also sure to understand that, too!