Our extended family — grandparents and relatives — are intricately woven into our lives. However, due to our busy schedules with studies, work, and everything else in between, we often neglect to maintain communication with these family members.

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.

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, graduation or as they enter new phases in life. These shared memories and experiences 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 stay connected with your extended family members:

•Set up a family Whatsapp group to check in on each other regularly. Share happy news or send a word of encouragement to family members who might be going through a rough period in their lives. 

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

•Tap on social media platforms, such as a private family Facebook group for instantaneuous updates! Also a great opportunity for the younger, tech-savvy members to bond with seniors in the family! 

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 volunteering for a common cause together!

Carry on Family Traditions
Respect and observe family traditions such as cooking a special family recipe during festivities. 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!

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 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”.