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One of my biggest parenting priorities is to teach my children to develop strong family ties.
Not just within our immediate family.
But with extended family as well.
One of the sweetest ways to do this is to make it a habit to check in with Great-Grandma.
We are really blessed to have my grandma only a few minutes away.
But we still don’t make it to visit nearly as often as I would like.
So we try to make up some of the difference on the phone.
Yes, Grand is happy to hear our voices no matter what we say.
But when you want to make a loved one feel extra special, here are 8 extra special reasons to call.
1. Gift Appreciation Updates
We always thank Grand in the moment for the gifts she gives our little guy and gal.
But it’s even nicer to share how much the kids are still enjoying and using something she has given them months or even years after the fact.
So why not give a call to let your loved one know that the dollhouse she gave your first child just enjoyed a staring role at yesterday’s play date!
Or that the colored pencils she sent in the mail are still the first thing your son reaches for when he has a school project to color in.
2. Celebrate a Special Day
Of course you can call family on Mother’s Day or Christmas.
But why not pick up the phone on National Ice Cream Day or Nurse’s Appreciation Day too?
The more opportunities you can find to make reach out for a reason unique to her, the more loved your family member will fee.
3. Say Thank You
It’s not just the big ticket items that call for thanks.
Reach out to tell your relatives how grateful you are for buying Girl Scout cookies, sponsoring an ad your daughter’s ballet program or buying a book from your online party.
4. Ask For A Recipe
When you ask Grandma how to make her trademark cookies, or what the trick is to making the bed in her guest room just right, you are letting her know that you appreciate what she does.
And you are also letting her share her knowledge with you.
She will feel appreciated and useful.
And that is a great gift to give to her!
5. Share A Special Memory
Of course your loved ones have their own memories of time that you have spent together.
But when you share your own, it lets someone know that you were thinking of her.
And also that the time you spend together is just as special to you as it is to her.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated either.
Recalling a backyard barbecue that ended with burnt burgers and a call for take-out is just as effective as reminiscing about a wedding.
But so is a reminder of trips to the mall for back-to-school clothes. The point is to let the people you love know that the time that you have spent together makes up an important part of your history and your memories.
6. Ask For Advice
This is extra difficult for me.
First, because I am a very private person.
And second, because it is difficult to accept that I need others’ wisdom.
But when you call a loved one and ask for advice, she will have the pleasure of giving you something you need.
And she will feel honored that you respect her thoughts and wisdom enough to ask.
Plus, you may even find, as I have over the years, that you don’t know absolutely everything.
And that God did give us older women to guide and teach us.
7. Follow Up
Whether your loved one has been feeling under the weather, having trouble with her phone company or ordered a new coat online, take the time to ask how the situation turned out.
It shows that you pay attention when she tells you things, and that you care enough to wonder about the outcome. It’s always a great opportunity to help resolve something if she needs help.
8. Make Future Plans
The best kind of call to our Grand is the kind that ends with a date to get together!
Call with a few dates and a specific idea in mind.
And be sure your family member knows just how much you are looking forward to getting together!
Getting Back In the Habit
If it’s been awhile since you made the time to reach out to your extended family, it may feel awkward to get back in the habit.
But the relationships that your children will develop depend on your effort.
So decide who you are going to call, and which of these 8 conversation starters you will open with.
And before long, you will find yourself looking forward to catching up with Grandma and whoever else it’s been too long since you’ve seen.
What about you mama?
What are your favorite things to chat about when you finally make the time to catch up with family?