If your extended family is strewn from coast to coast - or even in different countries -- then it might be hard to keep them in the loop about what's going on in you and your kids' lives. We all get busy and lose touch with family members once in awhile, but there are ways to get your kids to communicate with and get to know relatives who live far away and can't visit often. If you have a little time on your hands and are Internet-savvy, then a family blog, where multiple members can post, may be a great way to communicate and share pictures and videos. Webcams and programs like Skype can enable you and your family to have face-to-face conversations in real time with whomever you like. Of course, photo sharing sites like Kodakgallery.com and Snapfish are great ways not only to share images, but also to create gifts, like mugs, mousepads and photo albums.
Kids might enjoy having their own e-mail address for receiving e-mails from faraway family members - just be sure to monitor it for junk and inappropriate e-mails. If your kids are too young or your relatives are technophobes, then there are creative ways to correspond via the mailbox. Try having your child write a weekly letter to grandparents or close family members, detailing highlights of her week. You may want to include special school projects or snapshots taken along the way. Doing this will have the added benefit of facilitating phone conversation for kids who might get tongue-tied while talking to grandparents or other family members. And when you do make family phone calls, have the kids make lists of things that have been going on in their lives. The kids can keep them on hand as topics of discussion so that everyone enjoys the conversation and stays in the loop.