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Our extended family — grandparents and relatives — are intricately woven into our lives. However, due to our busyness with our own personal lives, family, work, and everything else in between, we often neglect to maintain communication with these family members, thus causing the relationship to deteriorate over time.

Like in any relationship, time and communication are important factors in fostering strong ties with your extended family members. Here are some simple yet effective ways to build a loving and strong bond with them. Furthermore, this is also a great way to set a good example for our children to follow suit.

Celebrate Your Extended Family Members
Celebrating special occasions, such as their birthdays, or being part of significant milestones in their lives, such as their wedding anniversaries, child’s graduation, can help bring you and your extended family closer.

Leverage Technology
Technology enhances connectivity even though you are miles apart. Here are some ways to maintain that connection with your extended family members:

•A family Whatsapp group to broadcast family news, encourage someone or share useful links or information with each other.

•There are many video-calls apps nowadays such as FaceTime, WhatsApp Video, Messenger Video and Skype that enable face-to-face communications despite the distance. These are especially good platforms to maintain the bond between grandparents and their grandchildren.

•Social media platforms, such as a private family Facebook group. This also provides a wonderful opportunity for the younger ones to show their grandparents how to use technology, thus encouraging bonding.

Spend Quality Time Together
Make time for your extended family, and not limiting to meeting up only once a year! Take the initiative to organise or invite them to join in fun activities together. For example, going on a vacation, having a picnic, or even volunteer together!

Carry on Family Traditions
Respect and observe family traditions, such as a regular gathering at the grandparents or a relative’s place, cooking a family special recipe during festivities, etc. Not only do you continue the legacy established by the seniors, such traditions are also opportunities for everyone to spend time together. Besides, family traditions are something you and your extended family have in common, so why not enjoy these activities as a family? To take a step further, start creating new family traditions too!

Keep Family Photos as Keepsake
You can occasionally look at these photo albums with your children so that they know who their relatives are and how to address them correctly when they meet.

Resolve Conflicts Amicably
No family is perfect, and conflicts are inevitable. However, avoid letting misunderstandings or resentments brew as this will not only affect the parties involved but other family members as well.

Getting everyone in your extended family to stay connected may require a lot of effort and time, but this investment is worth your while, because you are each other’s best support system. As the saying goes, “Blood is always thicker than water”.

Tags: 3 Generation Family /Family Bonding