A good support network is crucial regardless of what stage of life you’re at. For children, spending time with family teaches them key socialisation which they need to succeed in the world, as well as comfort and stability. For adults, friends and relatives can offer advice and assistance during hard times; these are the people you will both laugh with and cry with. For older adults and seniors, friends and family might be their only contact with the outside world. The people in your life are far more important than money or possessions, so make the time to maintain connections with them. We all lead busy lives, but try to find the time where you can. If you know you’ve not made as much effort as you should make 2017 a year to change that!
A brand new year is the perfect time to reflect and make changes, and what better change than to spend more time with the people that matter most.
Birthdays and Christmases are the perfect excuse to get everyone together. Whenever there’s a special occasion, you could host a get-together and invite all of your loved ones. Celebrations are so much more special when you’re surrounded by your favourite people! It’s at times like these we tend to think about the people who are no longer with us. For those who have passed away, you could light a candle in their honor and say a few words about them to keep their memory alive. If there are family members you have lost contact with, you could consider using a family tracing service to get back in touch. If there are a lot of children in the family, you could put together days for them, hire a bouncy castle and some inflatables when the weather is nice or host an Easter egg hunt at Easter for example.
As well as special occasions, why not arrange regular get-togethers in the new year? It could be a special dinner once a month. You could have it at home, or find a restaurant that suits everyone. During the summer you could host picnics and barbeques. Even if every person isn’t able to attend every gathering, having a regular meeting set up is a nice way for everyone to stay in contact.
Go On a Trip
Going on a trip or holiday is an excellent way to bond with the family. You could hire a villa with multiple rooms and all stay together. Or each family unit could share a hotel suite, a caravan or a lodge depending on what kind of holiday you’re on. Try to find a destination that has plenty to offer for everyone, from children to teens to adults to older adults. That way people aren’t bored or excluded and it’s a fun experience for all.
Thanks to technology, keeping in touch is easier than ever before. If you’re not able to meet in person, setting up regular Skype or Facetime chats is a good option. If your loved one lives abroad, for example, it’s ideal for staying in contact. Being able to see them makes it much more personal than a standard phone call. Plus as it’s over the internet it’s completely free, as opposed to pricey telephone charges. Of course, regular phone calls are also an option as well as text messaging and texting apps like Whatsapp. There are a tonne of ways you can communicate with people right from your phone, so take advantage of this.
Social media has it’s good and bad points when it comes to staying in contact. While it shouldn’t be your only form of communication with loved ones if you can help it, it’s a good way to stay updated on what’s happening in each others lives. This means you don’t become like strangers if you’re not able to meet for periods of time. You can even set up an account for older adults in the family and teach them how to use the site, which is another way for them to keep in contact with everyone. Having everyone on one social media site makes it easier to arrange events too, as everyone can communicate more easily than having to phone or text and relay information to different people. Likes and comments on social media posts might be superficial contact, but when you do want to arrange to meet in person it makes it a lot easier.
What are your plans for keeping in touch with family in the New Year? When my sister goes back to Canada I’m going to make more of an effort with Skype. We always message one another most days but it would be nice to ‘see’ her more often.
As always I love to hear your thoughts.
*This is a collaborative post.