It's official: Your children have grown up. They're leaving the nest and setting up lives of their own. You know they need their space, but you also want to keep your family united. You may no longer live under the same roof, but these 10 tips will help keep your family close.
1. Keep in touch
Communication is the foundation of any solid relationship. Be there for them when they need advice or a listening ear. Try scheduling regular calls, Skype dates or cafe meet-ups.
For those everyday moments you want to share, turn to social media. Whether through Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook, you can keep up with their lives while still giving them space.To get the whole family talking, create a group text message. Use it as the place to share funny stories, pictures and videos.
You're used to knowing everything that goes on in your children's lives. But you must resist the temptation to call every day and solve all of their problems for them. They need space to grow into independent and confident adults.
You can help them on their journey by stepping back. Allow them to make their own mistakes and learn about themselves. It will give them confidence to know you trust their abilities to thrive in the real world.
3. Respect boundaries
Every relationship is unique. Perhaps you were best friends with your parents, and you called them every day. But you can't expect the same from your children. Talk with them about what you would like from your relationship, not what you expect from them.
Your children are running their own lives now. Respect their boundaries and personal space. Be sure to ask before you drop in on them and don't expect them to make free time to accommodate you.
4. Have family dinners
What better way to have a family get-together than over a feast? If the kids live close, have them over for family dinners. Food has a way of bringing people together. It's the perfect way to catch up on everything they've been up to.
5. Organize a team event
Get out of the house and do something fun together. Plan a monthly hike or a game of kickball in the park. Hold a big summer barbecue or take a family trip to the nearest theme park. Doing a team event creates feelings of unity that will last well beyond the get-together.
If you can't get together often, try taking one big trip away from everyday life? Whether you prefer to relax on the beach or want exciting adventures in the mountains, invite the kids to join you on an adventure.
7. Offer to help
If you have some spare time on your hands, offer to help out around their house. Babysit their children, take care of the dog or help them renovate. It's a win-win: You get to see them and they will appreciate the helping hand.
8. Go to their events
You daughter is in a musical, your son is hosting a party and your grandkids have a violin recital. If you have been invited, do your best to be there. Be their number one fan! Your support still means the world to them.
9. Create new traditions
Holidays are traditionally spent with family. But with families of their own, your children might not be able to make it to the annual feast. This doesn't mean you have to spend the holidays apart; you can create new traditions.
Perhaps the holiday celebration needs to happen on a different day or at a different time. Or you can turn the tables — go to your children's house instead of being the host. If you can't be together, you can open presents together via video chat. With a little creativity, you can create new traditions that will bring the family together.
10. Stay supportive
Let your kids know that if they ever need or want to return home, you will welcome them with open arms. There's no replacement for the sense of belonging that will give your kids. They will be more confident in their relationship with you when they know you are there for them even when times are hard.
Shayne Fitz-Coy is the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company headquartered in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Shayne has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Harvard College, a Masters in Business Administration from Stanford, and a keen interest in any affordable tech gadgets that improve the daily life of seniors.