Family_hug2_wide.jpgFor many households, keeping their families together and connected is an important, albeit sometimes difficult, task. Between children leaving the nest and starting families of their own and brothers and sisters growing their own households, keeping in contact and staying close can be difficult. For these reasons, it's even more important for adults to consider the ways in which they can stay connected with loved ones.

There may come a point in life when adults want to refocus their attentions on family, whether they choose to build a stronger relationship with parents, siblings or children, or get back into contact with estranged members. Taking the first step can seem intimidating for many people, but there are several ways to open the lines of communication and make the process easier on all parties involved.

First, decide how best to contact family members. The option people choose may depend on their current relationships with those they are trying to reach out to. For instance, adults who are simply trying to establish a stronger relationship with relatives may start by making weekly phone calls to catch up on life, swap stories, or let family members know they are in that person's thoughts. Others who are estranged from some relatives may choose instead to write a letter that explains their reasons for wanting to rebuild their relationships. This ensures that they are not being too pushy and gives the other party time to think and react.

Second, utilize different resources for sharing life events and keeping family updated. When relatives live far away and only visit once in a blue moon, it's important to find easy ways to communicate. Uploading photos and videos on social media websites, emailing pictures, installing a webcam to have conversations, or even creating a family website can give all family members a resource to stay connected.

Third, consider hosting a family party, reunion or event. It can be difficult to coordinate holidays when a family is growing and in-laws are involved. Instead, it can be helpful to host an annual family party or event that all relatives can plan around, regardless of where they are located. This may give households time to make travel arrangements and avoid time constraints that may present themselves around the holidays.

Taking the first step can seem difficult, but staying in touch with family can increase one's quality of life considerably. Careful planning can help ensure that people remain a part of their loved ones' lives.