Upcoming Inspiring Expat Parents across the world (part 2)

Global parents who value community and family bonding across borders (part 2)

By: Anieke Lamers

A little while ago we posted this blog article with inspiring parents across the world. After we posted the article, we received many more replies and some of them were so nice we didn’t want to keep them from the world. 

So here is the sequel: Are you looking for more inspiration and a community of expat parenting tips on connecting with family members abroad? Look no further, because we found inspiring parents for you to check out on Instagram.

Why you should read this article?

It’s not easy being a parent, and especially when you have a family far away with little social support from loved ones, it can sometimes be extra difficult. It is therefore needed to get some inspiration, playfulness, and encouraging words from other expat parents who are going through the same things as you are. You are not alone!

At Peekabond, we’re all about connection. We found expat parents from all over the world who align with these values and found a number of “hidden gems” who we consider as the next up-and-coming Expat Parent influencers. 

We asked them about why family bonding is important to them, especially when family is at a distance, and their quotes really gave us goosebumps and we hope they strike home for you too.

When we asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:
Tissa O’Grady
(3 months old, 2 & 11 year-old children)
@tissaogrady
 
Tissa’s Quote:

Family is so incredibly important in the raising of children. They have so much wisdom and so many amazing stories to share. Unfortunately, when separated by distance a lot of these wonderful experiences and memories together can be limited. Despite living on a continent away from family, my children love to maintain a warm relationship with them. They send photos, call on the phone, write letters, and send little packages to one another. I love making parents aware of all the wholesome things we can do to engage our children in this world.

Why we like her:

Tissa is a mom that is aware of just how important it is to keep the connection between family members, especially those that live far away. It is important for her that her children know her roots and can listen to stories told by their loved ones. She loves keeping connected through video calls and by keeping in touch the old-fashioned way–writing letters! 

Tissa is an expat living in Mexico and is passionate about nature.  She loves sharing recipes, healthy cooking, and traditional Mexican food. She is very engaged with Mexican culture and loves showing the beauty of the country, which is something that we love at Peekabond! Tissa is also a healer and uses natural recipes for curing certain ailments. For example, she showed us a recipe for curing a fever that she uses with her kids. Tissa feels very connected with nature and loves exploring all that Mexico has to offer. She hopes to teach her kids the same energy and love for Mexico that she has.

Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with family?
Tania Capel
(7-month-old child)
@african.abroad.blog
 
Tania’s Quote:

The reasons why I find it important to foster a bond with my family back in Kenya while I am in Germany is for my son to understand his heritage, where he comes from, his cultural background, and to have a good and trusting relationship with my family. You have probably heard the African phrase: “It takes a village to raise a child.” I want my son to feel a sense of community that has his back. 

Why we like her:

Tania is a mom that wants her children to keep connected with their heritage and African culture. She shared a beautiful quote: “It takes a village to raise a child.” This is such a powerful message for us. It is true that part of who we are comes from the things we learn in our daily environment, but who we are is also influenced by where we come from. For Tania, it is important for her kids to keep their beautiful African culture even though they live in Germany. We highly recommend keeping an eye on this profile. It is full of tips for raising kids and has a lot of cultural and valuable information about Tania’s home country. Tania also shares typical food, beautiful quotes, nature, animals, and lots of info on being an expat. We love this beautiful mom!

Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with family?
Adrienne Olivia
(8 & 5-year-old children)
@america2portugal
 
Adrienne’s Quote:

Building a connection from afar is important to keep our kids grounded and remember those that may not be close. Knowing they have family far away who care about them is really important.

Why we like her:

Adrienne is a wonderful American mom living in Portugal. From food to nature to historical monuments, Adrienne loves getting involved with everything Portugal has to offer. She also loves to travel around the world with her family and shares all about her trips!

Adrienne is a mom of two boys–we love their costumes and matching pictures in her profile. This always gives us a giggle!

Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with family?
Baileigh Levée
(12, 10, and 6-year-old children)
@poursouthernmama
 
Baileigh’s Quote:

At the end of the day, family is all you have. I think remembering your family is special and normal and not comparing them to others is so important.

Why we like her:

Baileigh is a cool mom. She makes funny videos of the daily struggles of being a mom while dealing with a husband and kids. Some may even call her a superhero. She shares insights about life as an expat parent (trying to have a social life while raising your beautiful kids is not for the faint of heart) and daily routine tips for staying organized at home. 

Baileigh and her family travel all around the world thanks to the military. We think this is a wonderful and brave lifestyle at Peekabond and we encourage these families who want to keep their roots and share their American culture with their kids. Baileigh’s blog is full of funny stories where she shares everything from her travels to experiences with her family. You may even stumble across a yummy recipe or playlist to jam. Be sure to check it out!

Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with family?
Bec de Jager
( 3-year-old & 10-month-old children)
@teachingwithanaccent
 
Bec’s Quote:

Family is what there is when everything else falls apart. They are your safe space and your biggest cheerleaders. Plus, they give the best hugs!

Why we like her:

Bec is a teacher who lives in South Africa. She knows firsthand the struggles of being an expat but has a good sense of humor about it. Bec has a funny approach to some of the problems we encounter on a daily basis and shares tips about her experiences in education. This is definitely a profile worth checking out!

Bec’s children are the most important in her life. For her, family is a safe space where all the beautiful people in your life are by your side, even in dark times. She also loves sharing pictures of her kids. We love seeing their smiling faces!

Bec is passionate about art, recipes, and books. Check out her highlighted stories for some great recommendations!

Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with family?
Savannah Mackie
(5-month-old & 2-year-old children)
@savannah_mackie
 
Savannah’s Quote:

Family is so important. They are the most important people in my life and I want their influence in my children’s lives. We live in Zambia and have immediate family in America, South Africa, and the United Kingdom that we connect with frequently.

Why we like her:

Savannah is a sweet mom of two boys and loves to share the culture of Zambia with others. She is appreciative of Zambia’s rich culture and loves exploring everything Zambia has to offer with her family. Savannah likes to follow a healthy lifestyle. She grows her own food and has her own cloth diaper company with lots of cute designs to choose from. 

Savannah and her family are Christian and are part of a local church planting movement called The Zambia Project. The vision of the Zambia Project is to establish a life-giving church within walking distance of every person in the Western Province and to see all villages impacted by the Gospel and uplifted through a strong Christiam community. Savannah is a caring woman that we really admire.

Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with family?
Khadijah Kdee
(1-year-old child)
@khadiva_dee
 
Khadijah’s Quote:

Family is our backbone. It takes a village to raise a child. My family was there for me when I was a child and I want them to be there for my daughter too. 

We are also a very spontaneous family. My daughter is a goofball and has facial expressions for every emotion!

Why we like her:

Khadijah loves God and her family. She is an artist and shows the amazing love and connection she has with them in her pictures. Khadijah is also an entrepreneur and runs a fashion clothing brand called KhaDiva Customs which offers unique, fashionable designs with an interesting twist.

We really admire Khadijah and the way she raises her beautiful daughter. Her values shine through in everything that she does.

Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with family?
Hira Malin
(4 & 2-year-old children)
@hira.malin

 

Hira’s Quote:

It is important for me to help my children bond with my family because I believe it encourages better behavior in kids. We are an expat and multicultural family. 

Why we like her:

Hira comes from a multicultural family. She loves to travel and to show her kids the world. She believes it is important to learn from new cultures and to open yourself to new places and people. She hopes to pass this idea to her family through their shared experiences.

Hira also maintains an active lifestyle. She believes that it is important for the development and health of her children and loves introducing them to new sports and activities. Hira shares lots of tips on how to travel with kids. We love the pictures she posts of all of her travels!

To Conclude:

At Peekabond, we value connection through playfulness, openness, and being ethical. We aim to provide:

  1. Inspiration: At Peekabond we’re all about inspiration and we believe these influencers could provide inspiration from unexpected corners (of the world) to get you through the day, be playful and see how they share about their little ones.
  2. Community: not only are we all about connecting families within their own circles, but we are also building a community where our customers can inspire others (for example by letting parents inspire other parents).

Are you inspired and do you want to create memories and build meaningful relationships with your faraway family and loved ones? Download our app here: www.peekabond.com/try-peekabond

About Anieke:

Anieke is the Founder and CEO of Peekabond. Anieke is an ex-Venture Capital investor having worked on impact investments and consumer tech deals for the past 8 years of her career. Anieke founded Peekabond from a personal passion because she is an aunt of a 3 year old niece in Australia. She immediately began searching for alternative ways to bond remotely with her little niece. But she couldn’t find a real solution, so she made it her mission to create the best digital platform possible. To build beautiful bonds across generations, continents, and cultures. To connect with or follow Anieke click here 

Join Us at Peekabond

Peekabond is an interactive video messaging app designed for young children to connect with family at a distance. Use our fun and age-appropriate activity cards as inspiration to send video messages to young grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews. Create, share, and safely store playful moments with your family and friends. Perfect for parents who want their kids to create memories with far away family members and friends. If you would like to try Peekabond click here

3 Tips for the Ultimate Holiday Rest for Expat Parents

3 Tips for the ultimate holiday rest for expat parents

By: Anieke Lamers

The other day I saw this quote: “No parent needs a vacation as much as the parent who has just had one”  and it made me giggle. 

Holidays are made to relax and rest, but many parents return from their holidays exhausted. Every parent knows that setting up a bedtime routine, eating and drinking the right things at the right time, and making your child comfortable are important. Those are no-brainers. Duhh! But during the holidays, all these routines go out the window.

We hope this article will give practical tips on how to rest during your vacation when you’re a traveling parent.

What happens when routines are broken: Error! - bzzt - child brain not functioning

Hey parent, recognize this? When families with young children are traveling you don’t have your own bed, the standard bedtime routines are broken and there are fewer breaks from kids and lots of activities. Or something else that happens is for example that as an expat parent maybe you try to visit family but you end up exhausted because everything is out of your control and out of the environment your kids are used to. Result: your kids get more cranky. You get tired and overwhelmed and ask yourself: wait what happened?! This holiday was supposed to be relaxing and fun, right? 

We asked some experts in our network, and there are a few tips we can offer that could help.  We made the top 3 pro tips to get the ultimate sleep and rest this summer holiday for yourself as well as for your child. or adults as well as for young children there are some tips to rest better:

Tip 1. Stay as close to their bedtime routine, while remembering it’s a holiday too!

If your normal routine before putting the kids to bed is brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, and reading a book (and in that order!), it’s recommended to stick to that order even when you’re out of your normal environment. The time they go to bed might change, but the events before bedtime are recommended to stay the same.

The reason why children tend to put up a fight before the bedtime routine is because they recognize a pattern “aha! It’s time to brush my teeth now which ends up with me being separated from my pack”. Separation can give children anxiety and even more so when you’re in a strange environment. If you build in a moment of connection and bonding in the bedtime routine, it’s a holiday for them too. For example, let your child relax before bedtime by reading a relaxing story or if you happen to forget to bring a storybook on your holiday, come up with your own story

A funny quote I saw the other day was: “no human alive cares more about hydration than a child past its bedtime”. This made me think of how I as a child also negotiated with my parents a lot trying all tricks in the book to stay up just a little longer. Bedtime routines set boundaries and help you avoid lengthy negotiations. 

Pro-tip number 1:

Play a game to make tooth brushing easier by pretending there is a dinosaur in your child’s mouth that needs to be “brushed” away. Dr. Becky at Good Inside gives a great example of this in this story on Instagram. 

Pro-tip number 2:

Let your child watch one or two videos from family at a distance in the Peekabond app whilst brushing their teeth, but don’t let them bring electronics into the bedroom. 

Pro-tip number 3 for adults:

Keep regular sleep and wake times; you can for example also set an alarm to go to bed (not just one to wake up). 

Tip 2. Make it comfy

 We all know it’s important to give your child a cozy sleeping area where they feel safe at night.  My little niece for example has pictures on the wall in her bedroom of all our family and her mom reminds her how much we love her and that we watch over her while she sleeps. 
 
Pro-tip number 1:

Before going on a holiday, check if it’s going to be too noisy or if the room will have the right light conditions your child is used to. Some children like to sleep with familiar sounds, like white noise. Others like to sleep with a small socket night light. These are easy items to bring along and help your child feel at home.

Pro-tip number 2:

Children also love the familiar smell of their favorite stuffed animal or blanket so we suggest that when you’re on a holiday to bring those along.

Pro-tip number 3:

Bring a small sample or jar of the same washing detergent you have at home so your child’s clothes smell the same when you wash them on your holiday. When you’re visiting family you can even leave the detergent for grandparents or relatives to use so your child feels at home.

Pro-tip number 4 for adults:

We invite you to invest in and sleep with a great sleeping mask as well as earplugs. Especially during holidays where you’re sleeping in a different environment and you don’t know if there are blackout curtains and what noise pollution you might encounter, this makes the relatively small investment worthwhile! A restful parent makes a better parent. 

Tip 3. Eat the right amount at the right time.

A funny thing I learned while traveling in South America was: don’t eat too much meat during dinner, or you’ll be sleeping with Tarzan”. In certain cultures, it is customary to eat dinner at later hours and with all the nice cuisine it’s tempting to indulge but be aware; before you know it you’ll be awake at night with your stomach rumbling like Tarzan. The same holds true for our children; during holidays the routines can get lost, and you end up with a hangry, tired child which is no fun for anyone right? Especially when you’re traveling to other time zones, it can be very challenging with young children. 

Pro-tip number 1:

Go in peace, bearing snacks. It might be worthwhile to bring your child’s favorite snack, such as biscuits so at least the first couple of days they have some food that is the same as at home. I remember when I went backpacking through Sout-East Asia I ran into a couple that was also backpacking with their young baby and they were carrying one extra backpack filled with a month’s supply of their baby’s food. I thought it was a bit extreme but in hindsight, the stress of finding the right food for their child might have been more stressful than just bringing it along. 

Pro-tip number 2:

Keep naps to a norm. Especially when traveling to different time zones it’s challenging to adjust for young children. Your child’s biological clock might say it’s dinner time and evening when it’s still morning and daytime. It’s wise to keep them busy in a sunny room or play outside as much as you can and keep naps to a norm.   

Pro-tip number 3:

An obvious tip is to try to stay hydrated and consume enough vitamins during your (summer) break. It’s tempting to spoil yourself with unhealthy food and an alcoholic drink or too, but don’t forget to drink enough water especially when you’re in the sun a lot. It’s wise to bring some vitamin C supplements to make sure your bodies get what they need to stay healthy (and avoid getting sick on a holiday). 

Do you want your child to stay in touch with family and loved ones after visiting them this holiday? Or did you not get to visit them this holiday and want to be more intentional about your child’s long-distance relationship? Try out the Peekabond app for free: www.peekabond.com/try-peekabond

About Anieke

Anieke is the Founder and CEO of Peekabond. Anieke is an ex-Venture Capital investor having worked on impact investments and consumer tech deals for the past 8 years of her career. Anieke founded Peekabond from a personal passion because she is an aunt of a 3 year old niece in Australia. She immediately began searching for alternative ways to bond remotely with her little niece. But she couldn’t find a real solution, so she made it her mission to create the best digital platform possible. To build beautiful bonds across generations, continents, and cultures. To connect with or follow Anieke click here 

Join Us at Peekabond

Peekabond is an interactive video messaging app designed for young children to connect with family at a distance. Use our fun and age-appropriate activity cards as inspiration to send video messages to young grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews. Create, share, and safely store playful moments with your family and friends. Perfect for parents who want their kids to create memories with far away family members and friends. If you would like to try Peekabond click here

Inspiring Expat Parents across the world

An overview of global parents who value community and family bonding across borders

By: Anieke Lamers

Looking for inspiration and a community of expat parenting tips on connecting with family members abroad? Look no further, because we found an overview of inspiring parents for you to check out on Instagram.

” Why is this list valuable for me as a reader? ” you may ask. Well in short: it will give you Playful Inspiration and makes you feel connected to a larger Community.

  • Inspiration: At Peekabond, we value connection through playfulness, openness, and being ethical. We looked for parents all over the world who align with these values and found a number of “hidden gems” who we consider as the next up-and-coming Expat Parent influencers.  At Peekabond we’re all about inspiration and we believe these influencers could provide inspiration from unexpected corners (of the world) to get you through the day, be playful and see how they share about their little ones. 
  • Community: not only are we all about connecting families within their own circles, but we are also building a community where our customers can inspire others (for example by letting these parents inspire other parents). We asked them about why family bonding is important to them, especially when family is far away, and their quotes really hit home for us. We made a shortlist of the best quotes we found and why we think you should check their profiles out. 

Giving children a safe network of warm family ties is what binds these parents

Since the start of Peekabond, we have been following some really nice expat parents through social media. What we’ve noticed is that it’s not easy being a parent. Especially when you have a family far away with little social support from loved ones, it can sometimes be extra difficult. It is therefore nice to get some inspiration, playfulness, and encouraging words from other expat parents who are going through the same things as you are. 

It sounds super tacky, but love is a universal language! Even though cultures, religions, backgrounds, and sexualities differ, it seems that there’s one thing that’s a common denominator: i’s the deep love and care for their children that these parents feel and that they want to give them a safe solid social network of warm family bonds that last a lifetime. Because connection can exist no matter the distance. This is illustrated by the nice quotes from them which we’d like to share with you. We asked them: 

When we asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:

Ashley Corinne 
(4 & 8 year-old children)
@thatblackfamilyabroad 
 
Ashley’s quote:

It’s important to help my children build bonds with their families because I never want them to forget where they’ve come from. I want them to be proud of their roots, and to always remember that they have people who love and support them, no matter how far away. We are having a wonderful adventure living and traveling in Mexico. 

Why we like her:  

There is a quote from Mexico that goes True love in Mexico isn’t between lovers; it’s between a parent and a child”, and we can relate to that because Ashley’s children are so loveable!

Ashley is an adventurous mom living in Mexico of two that travels the world. She loves exposing her children to new cultures helping her children to have an open mindset to the world.

As an expat mom, she understands the importance of being connected with family abroad. From child development science theory it turns out secure attachments are very important for a child’s development, and Ashley emphasizes that beautifully in her quote below. It implies that no matter how far away you are, there will always be a safe harbor to return to. 

When we asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:

Amanda Vojvodin-Dargenio 
(8-month-old child)
@lavitaestyle
 
Amanda’s Quote: 

To learn the true meaning of love, that a connection can exist no matter the distance, and to learn firsthand the Canadian culture

Why we like her:

Our founder Anieke actually had the chance to meet Amanda and her beautiful baby during a video call and it was so nice to learn about her background and story of moving from Canada to Italy. Amanda and Anieke had a very nice connection being both entrepreneurial women,  she has a background as Marketing -and Events Manager at Hermès. She was super helpful, wanting to give feedback and test our mobile app called Peekabond. We love that Amanda wants to expose her little child to her roots and culture in Canada whilst living in Italy.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was: 
Ali Em Kay 
(2, 6, and 6-year-old children)
@mountainmama_amk
 
Ali’s quote:

It’s important for military families to have strong support networks, and that begins with extended family. Maintaining those relationships while abroad allows a child to feel safe and connected during big transitions and uncertain circumstances. We are a military family trying to take advantage of living all over the world by doing and seeing as much as we can!

Why we like her:

Ali is an amazing mom of three children with a great sense of humor who loves adventure. Her profile is full of backpacking, traveling, and funny experiences with her military family. We admire her lifestyle, and love that she makes sure her children feel connected, especially going through big transitions like moving internationally.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was: 
Kaylin
(6,4, and 1-year-old children)
@californiafitkaylin
 
Kaylin’s Quote:

Both mine & my husband’s families are an equal part of our children both biologically but also emotionally. We want them to know and feel connected to their family and learn about the different cultures that make them who they are.

We want that they to feel equally connected and familiar with the people and culture. We give them a sense of belonging and strive so they feel at home both in Sweden (where we live now and where my husband is from) as well as in America (where I am from and where my family is).  This is, of course, easier said than done. But it means making it a priority to stay connected to family that is both near and far, visit regularly as well as have regular weekly FaceTime visits.

I love that Peekabond has a forum for parents who are raising children with multiple cultures and languages! 

Why we like her:

Kaylin is from the USA, lives in Sweden, and is super passionate about raising children abroad with multiple cultures and languages. She is a lovely mom of 3 children, we love her posts about helping moms during postpartum periods and she shows us the daily experience of being a mom. Her profile is full of useful tips that help moms all over the world. What’s really great about her quote is that she has realized how important it is to realize that as an expat child of multiple cultures, it can be possible to feel at home in both countries.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was: 
Iva Ivanova
(1-year-old child)
@the.glenns.journey
 
Iva’s Quote:

My daughter is a child with dual citizenship, and it’s very important to be able to understand and be connected with both families she has. 

Being bonded with her distant family is important for me for her future development as a person, so she can understand and cherish the values of a stable and happy family! 

 
Why we like her:

Iva is a mom of a gorgeous baby and a British expat living in Dubai. At Peekabond we love her profile because it’s full of pictures of her baby Olivia, a lot of healthy and tasty food recipes, and travels that she does with her lovely family. This profile is full of amazing travel pictures and motherhood, and she understands the importance of having a stable family for a child’s development even when the family is at a distance.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” his answer was: 
Alexander Yepremian
(8-month-old child) 
@2_gays_and_a_little_lady
 
Alexander’s Quote

Both my husband and I come from big families, although Zara is our one and only, we would like to keep her very close to her cousins. 

We are a gay couple who met while working on a cruise ship.  Zara was our 13th out of 14 embryos….. 7 times lucky!

Why we like them:

We love the profile of these lucky dads. They have a lovely child called Zara and they love to travel and explore the world: they have traveled to 97 countries. These awesome dads are owners of a restaurant in London that serves delicious brunches. They show us their daily life with their lovely Zara and they love to keep her connected with her cousins and family, especially since Zara is an only child.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was: 
Lyndsay Cavanagh
(1 & 3 year-old children) 
@wanderlynds
 
Lyndsay’s quote:

A community and sense of belonging are valuable for everyone and significantly harder to develop in the expat world. Children especially can benefit from strong relationships with extended family. Feeling loved, cared for, and thought of by others, as well as having others to express love to, can nourish self-worth & self-esteem. I have a passion for traveling that extends into joy for sharing experiences and advice with others.

 
Why we like her:

Lindsay is an American mom living in Qatar who knows how important it is for us humans to feel a sense of community and belonging, and that it’s especially important for young children. However for expats this is sometimes easier said than done, so a bit of extra care and love is needed. She is a mother of two beautiful children. Her profile is amazing because she shows us the daily adventures of being an expat mom, how to have a healthy life, and the travels with her lovely family.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:  
Alec Kristin Singletary
(4.5-year-old & 7-month-old children) 
@alec.singletary
 
Alec’s quote:

Being gone most of the year can make it difficult but I want my kids to know how loved they are no matter how far they may be from loved ones. I want them to know they always have a family to come “home” to.

 
Why we like her:

At Peekabond, we love the quote “Home is where the heart is”. And this matches so well with her heartfelt quote. Alec is a mom of Paxton and Koa who loves to travel. She shows us her daily adventures with her two little ones. Her profile has a lot of playful basketball pictures with her children because their dad is a basketball player. She is caring and expressing her love and cheering him on when he is away.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” his answer was: 
David Lee-Schneider
(9 & 13 year-old children) 
@davidleeschneider
 
David’s Quote:

Strong roots and relationships are the foundation for success. I believe that travel provides some of the best education in life.

Why we like him:

David is a business dad who realizes how important strong family ties and roots are for success later in life. He helps businesses and loves to travel the world with his children. His profile is full of nature and love for the planet and animals, they are also an active family that is into sports and experiences. He shows the perfect balance of work, family, and adventure! 

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was: 
Mina
(1-year-old child)
@Lifewithmina_com
 
Mina’s Quote:

Creating bonds ultimately helps social development in my child’s life. 

Why we like her:  

In Holland, there is a saying that goes like this: “love goes through the stomach”. It means that many people show their love through great food. Mina is an amazing mom living in the Netherlands and her profile is all about food and nice sugar-free child-friendly recipes! She realizes that – next to good food – strong family bonds are needed to help her child develop. We love her lifestyle and the love for her children that she shows in the pictures. We recommend following her recipes for those days when you want a healthy and tasty meal. 

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:
Alyse Rizzo 
(4-year-old child)
@amrizz0
 
Alyse’s Quote:

For me, it’s very important to FaceTime three times a week to keep in touch! I also have my mom or dad read to my child or set up the phone to play in the room without me present. We love our time abroad. It gives our family a chance to connect and just be together traveling the world!

Why we like her: 
Alyse is a proud mom that loves to travel, she has been to 33 different countries and has explored “34 US states”.  Whilst traveling together brings them closer together as a family, she values staying in touch with the home front. She and her family live in Barcelona (Spain) and they are an inspiration for others of what it’s like to travel with a child whilst keeping in contact with family remotely. We love her profile! 
When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was: 
Liz
(2-year-old child)
@liz_abroadinchina
 
Liz’s Quote:

For me, it is especially important that we have a lot of contact with both parts of the family, especially because we don’t live close to them. Family is the most important thing not only in my culture but also in my husband’s culture. Especially in China, family is very important. We would like to pass this on to our son. 

Why we like her:

Liz is an Austrian mom living in China and indicates that family is the most important thing in both Chinese as well as in Austrian culture and she wants to pass that on to her child. In her profile, she shows culture, travel, food, and very interesting tips about living abroad. She is a mom of a 2-year-old baby and her profile is really interesting if you want to learn and explore Chinese culture including its food, markets, and hotspots with her.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:  
Tiffany 
(3-year-old child)
@mylittlefamilyabroad

 

Tiffany’s Quote:

I have a big and very close family and being at a distance makes it difficult for my daughter to have that same feeling that I always had growing up. My first friends were my siblings and my cousins, and  I want Julianna to know her cousins when we are finally able to get together. It is important for kids to see healthy and happy family dynamics no matter how far the distance.

We are a family of 3. I am from Texas and my fiancé is from Venezuela. We currently live in Spain with our daughter. I video chat with my mom every day and my family always exchanges photos and videos.

Why we like her:

Tiffany lives in Mallorca (Spain) and is a mom of a lovely girl called Julianna. She would love to give her daughter the same experience she had growing up with loving cousins who were her first friends. She loves to travel and show us what it is like with a family, but also stays in touch with family in Texas and Venezuela. She also loves to give tips on how to enjoy Spain as much as she does. 

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:  
Nicole Plowman
(1-year-old child)
@nicolelynnplowman
 
Nicole’s Quote:

Family is very important to us. Living so far away from my family, I want my son to have that connection when we are able to visit in person as no time has passed between visits.

Why we like her:

Nicole is a stylish American Mom living in England with a love for music, travel, and family. She made a  career in parenting and we really admire that. She understands that the most important things in life are the connections you make with others. She wants her son to feel close to the family at a distance as if they were never apart.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:  
Amandine
(2-year-old child)
@amandinexpatfamily 
 
Amandine’s  Quote:

Because family is the foundation of everything. I’m all about simple and conscious living.

Why we like her:

Amandine is a conscious island mom, she shows us her parenting experience with her lovely 2-year-old child. One of the core values of our company Peekabond is that we value ethics and what we love about Amandine is that she is a traveler who loves nature and cares deeply for our planet.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:  
Aerial
(1-year-old child)
@Aerial.Austin  
 
Aerial’s  Quote:

Culture for me is important. For him to know both sides of his family and their traditions and cultures is essential for his upbringing. It’s also nice for him to have a nurturing army of support. I’m an expat mom living in Budapest. My son’s father is Hungarian so we try to spend every summer in the US with my family. 

Why we like her:

Aerial, a mom of a 1-year-old,  has a  wanderlust, a strong desire to travel and explore the world. She loves food and shows us all her adventures with her family and the ups and downs about daily parenting life. It’s not easy to connect to family and traditions but she really wants her son to have that strong basis. Her baby is gorgeous and we love seeing all the nature and travel pictures that she shares. 

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:  
Marcia
(8 & 5 year-old children)
@unaregiaporelmundo

 

Marcia’s Quote:

Because they are part of their identity, it is part of who they are. The stories and memories they can share with them together fill spaces in their hearts, and the interactions with them shape their own personality and identity. Connecting with them fills a need for belonging, knowing you belong to a bigger group than your nuclear family. It is important to know where you come from and also know you are loved by so many.

Living abroad presents difficulties, yes, but it also shapes us into who we are and we see it as a continuous adventure that has both good and not so good experiences, but we are grateful for them and we also learn from them. Our phrase as a family is “Everything is part of the adventure” and that’s how we try to live our lives. 

Why we like her

Everything is part of the adventure, is the mantra that Marcia’s family lives by, and when we read her quote we got goosebumps, and it just really hits home. Marcia realizes the importance of transferring family stories from one generation to the next and gives people a sense of belonging.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was: 
Nina
(3,6 and 8-year-old children)
@the_expater
 
Nina’s Quote: 

As a life coach, I know a bond is important on a cognitive level, and as a mum, the bond acts as a bridge so we can understand and respect each other more easily.

Why we like her:

Nina is a really special influencer because besides being an expat Mom, she is also an emotional supporter of expats. She is an Expat living in Uruguay that loves to travel, giving tips about building a career, and parenting. Alongside blogging, she is a life coach for women abroad. In addition, she regularly contributes to magazines on the theme of mental well-being, parenting, and building a career overseas. Her values and mission are very aligned with ours at Peekabond to help global families to build bonds in a playful and ethical way.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:   
Ivy Elkington
(5,3 and 1-year-old children)
@ivyelkington 
 
Ivy’s Quote:

Because family is so important and my kids having a relationship with them – even at a distance – helps my kids know just how loved they are! 

I love being a mum and mum life can be messy, but it’s a beautiful mess sprinkled with lots of growth!

Why we like her:

Ivy is a playful mom with 3 beautiful children, and she shares many different insights about motherhood. She knows the importance of family members and having strong bonds even when you’re far away. We love her lifestyle and the love she shows for her children. They are a beautiful family!

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was: 
Kelsey
(1 & 3 year-old children)
@amautamama 
 
Kelsey’s Quote:

It’s important for us that children remain connected with our family so that when we are able to see each other in person, it’s like we never skipped a beat. Their and our relationship with family abroad continue to bloom and flourish 

Why we like her:

Kelsey is from the USA and lives abroad in Ecuador, she is a mom of two children and she has a lot of magical gifts: being a healer and a herbalist are some of them. Kelsey loves nature and showing her adventures with her little ones. She sees the value of staying connected with family so it never feels like they missed a beat.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:  
Julie
(7 & 5-year-old children) 
@ourexpatdiaries 

 

Julie’s Quote:

We want our children to know they are part of a strong family unit. They are loved, cared about, and they are valued, despite distances. They love to share their lives with family on a regular basis and the time we do spend together is always special.    

Why we like her:

Julie is a loving mom of two who loves to work and travel. She is an expat living in Thailand who shows us her daily life as a parent. She loves adventures and we just love the smiles on the face of her little ones whilst traveling together!

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was:  
Helen Debrah-Ampofo
(7-month-old child)
@hdebrahampofo

 

Helen’s Quote:

We are so far away but family is always important.

Why we like her:

Helen is a British mom living in Dubai. She is a mom of a beautiful baby and we love her profile because she supports moms all over the world giving tips, writing interesting blogs and books, and showing us what it is like being an expat in Dubai.

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” his answer was 
Christopher Bonil
(1-month-old child)
@MrBonil 

 

Christopher’s quote:

So the child can grow up feeling loved and understand what’s truly valuable in life: family. My business was my only baby until my baby girl showed up, now I have two babies I love

Why we like him:

Christopher recently became a proud dad of a baby girl. Before that, his baby was his business. Christopher is killing it as a CEO of @capitalbrokersgroup and founder of @torontohomefinders. Christopher specializes in marketing and real estate and is a gentleman who loves to travel with style. He’s a family guy who doesn’t hide his love for his new beautiful baby daughter, and he helps people by giving tips about finances, travels, sports, food, and much more. 

When asked: “Why is it important for you to help your child to build a bond with the family?” her answer was
Charina
(9,3 and 2-year-old children)
@mom_andtheboys

 

Charina’s Quote:

Character and values begin in the family. I want to secure these foundations for my kids and make them feel loved. This foundation will prepare them for a future of opportunities and potential. 

I am an expat and stay-at-home mom of three boys. I share my parenting tips, kids’ activities, and expat living on my blog at www.momandtheboys.com.

Why we like her:

Charina is a creative, playful, and fun mom of three boys who loves to share videos of her daily experience being an expat mom. She is a wonderful mom who cares about her kids’ education and raising them to be the best human beings they can be. Charina also loves to cook and share delicious recipes. Next to that, she writes a blog in which you can find articles from dads, moms, and printables for your kids so they can have a lot of fun being creative! If you want to give it a look, check out the link in her quote below. She wants to give her kids a balanced life between travels, education, and a lot of fun, and wants to prepare them for the challenges of life whilst always making them feel loved.

About Anieke

Anieke is the Founder and CEO of Peekabond. Anieke is an ex-Venture Capital investor having worked on impact investments and consumer tech deals for the past 8 years of her career. Anieke founded Peekabond from a personal passion because she is an aunt of a 3 year old niece in Australia. She immediately began searching for alternative ways to bond remotely with her little niece. But she couldn’t find a real solution, so she made it her mission to create the best digital platform possible. To build beautiful bonds across generations, continents, and cultures. To connect with or follow Anieke click here 

Join Us at Peekabond

Peekabond is an interactive video messaging app designed for young children to connect with family at a distance. Use our fun and age-appropriate activity cards as inspiration to send video messages to young grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews. Create, share, and safely store playful moments with your family and friends. Perfect for parents who want their kids to create memories with far away family members and friends. If you would like to try Peekabond click here

Peekabond Develops New Video Messenger App for Global Families with young children

Peekabond Develops New Messenger App for Global Families

Peekabond released a new messenger app! Today, and with every day, our whole mission is to strengthen global family ties and create memories together.

Our team has spent the last few months interviewing many of you to redesign the app and create an experience that you will love. We know from our many users, that creating videos for your young child, creates memories that will last a lifetime. 

And so today, we are happy to announce a massive upgrade to Peekabond. We have so many cool and fun features that will help your whole family create memories and meaningful connections.

Curious to see what we have in store? Read on!

Reaction Videos

One of the most requested features from our community was seeing the reaction (that first smile) to a video you’ve sent. As of today that is now possible!

When you receive a video from a young child, you can record your reaction while watching their video.

But wait, this also works the other way! When they watch your video, the app can record their reaction too. We can catch their genuine smile, while they watch your video!

Try Peekabond by clicking here

A Love Bank to save all your memories

We know that young children learn by repetition. Every time a child enjoys an activity, they always say “again”. So now you and your young child can watch all the videos over and over.

We have created a love bank where all your videos are kept. The love bank stores all the videos you received, all the videos you liked as well as all the videos you sent.

Make screen time family time, as your child enjoys watching the videos and their own reactions over and over!

More Cards

Now you have access to over 80+ play activities and inspiration for interactive videos for your young child.

Choose from our “stack” of cards or search for inspiration by age. Whatever you decide, there will be plenty to choose from!

Try Peekabond by clicking here

Respond With Stickers and Filters

We added stickers and filters to our video camera, so you can make your videos even better. We also improved the camera itself, so that it is crispier and more fun to use.

Try adding an animated sticker next time you do a video!

Private Chat Function

Finally! We added private messaging so you and your young child can have 1:1 interactions.

As parents, you have full control over who can chat with your child. Adding family and friends is easy and secure using your private passcode. Only people you accept can interact with your family.

Try Peekabond by clicking here

We are Here to Get You Connected

If you’d like to get serious about connecting with your little one at a distance, I’d love for you to download the newest app and let us know what you think.

Richard, a grandfather in Italy said this about Peekabond:

“It’s like WhatsApp but better, and it helps make the other person smile. The activity cards make your videos fun or teach you something new.”

Or see what Lisanne, a mother in Australia says:

“It’s a great opportunity to build better bonds, regardless of the time zones or the locations that you’re in.”

We invite you to try Peekabond here.

About Anieke

Anieke is the Founder and CEO of Peekabond. Anieke is an ex-Venture Capital investor having worked on impact investments and consumer tech deals for the past 8 years of her career. Anieke founded Peekabond from a personal passion because she is an aunt of a 3 year old niece in Australia. She immediately began searching for alternative ways to bond remotely with her little niece. But she couldn’t find a real solution, so she made it her mission to create the best digital platform possible. To build beautiful bonds across generations, continents, and cultures. To connect with or follow Anieke click here 

Join us at Peekabond

Peekabond is an interactive video messaging app designed for young children to connect with family at a distance. Use our fun and age-appropriate activity cards as inspiration to send video messages to young grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews. Create, share, and safely store playful moments with your family and friends. Perfect for parents who want their kids to create memories with far away family members and friends. If you would like to try Peekabond click here

 

Reconnecting with your Child at a Distance: 5 Activities to Help You Bond Today

Reconnecting with Your Child at a Distance by Anieke Lamers

Many of us focus our new resolution efforts on the turn of the new year. Vowing to drop certain bad habits and pick up newer, healthier ones. Spring however, provides the perfect opportunity for change – a transient time of life, rebirth and revival. As we move into longer, lighter days, it’s common to have more energy and clarity of mind. It’s the perfect time to start something fresh, pick up a new healthy habit or make changes to an existing one. 

Remote Bonding with Young Children

Children need a solid foundation. Our task as grown-ups is to provide a safe space for children to develop. The world is getting more complex every day and we need to ensure that young children grow up to be resilient – adequately tackling the challenges of the world.

Researchers at Princeton argue that many parents need more support to provide proper parenting. They need social support from family, even from a distance. 

Keeping in touch with the young children in your family can have a very positive impact on their wellbeing. How young children go on to feel about themselves has a lot to do with their interactions and relationships with the adults present in their lives. This circle of people might include grandparents, close friends, or even paid help. By reaching out and creating positive bonds, you are contributing to a personal awareness that may stay with the child for a long time.

Guilt

Maybe it’s been a little while since you got in touch. It’s ok, we’ve all been there! Life is busy, dates pass by and all of a sudden you feel quite distant from your already distant little one. Try not to let this get you down. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Guilt in particular is a tricky business. As well as being entirely useless for everyone involved, it threatens our self-esteem. Hurting our self-esteem does not create a good environment to reach out to others from. Often, if we are not feeling good about ourselves, we don’t value our contribution to somebody else’s life. 

So, let’s drop the guilt and start small. Choosing just one connection to begin with, or if there is just one connection, start with a small point of contact. A small message on a quiet afternoon for example. Approach this task lightly and give yourself plenty of room to feel comfortable. 

Or maybe you’ve run out of inspiration and need some new ideas to connect. Below we’ve listed 5 of our favorite activities to help you connect today.

5 Activities to Help you Connect Today

The Magic Spoon Trick: 

Suitable for kids 3 years and older. 

Magic tricks are great for kids and the magic spoon trick is a classic. Performing this trick with your little one allows you to share something together. It even offers a teaching opportunity which can help build trust and appreciation. 

All you need is a tablespoon and a video connection to your little one. 

Grab a tablespoon and tell your young child that you can do a magic trick. Show the spoon, say a magic word, and hang the spoon on the tip of your nose. Challenge your young child to do the same and see how they get on. 

Showing Gratitude 

Suitable for kids 3 years and older.

Practicing gratitude activates several parts of the brain that are associated with reward and motivation. Sharing a moment of gratitude with your little one can help them feel good and associate that feeling off love and kindness with you. 

All you need is yourself and a video or audio connection to your child at a distance. 

Think of 3-4 things you are grateful for today and express them to your little one. After, you can ask them what they are grateful for. 

Emotions 

Suitable for kids between 2-4 years.

At two years of age, children experience complex emotions but have not mastered how to express them healthily. By pointing out what words they can use to express themselves, young children learn new vocabulary and build their self-confidence. This is a teaching opportunity which can help to bond and build trust with your little one. As children develop a vocabulary and more independence, they will experiment with expressing emotion in new ways.

Prepare your acting skills! All you need is yourself and video connection to your child. 

Teach your little one about emotions. Cover your face with your hands and then uncover your face to show an emotion. Ask your little one what emotion you are showing. Repeat by covering your face and revealing a different emotion. Try showing happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. 

Draw Your Family 

Suitable for kids between 3-6 years.

Children develop creativity and enhance their fine motor skills through drawing. Drawing family members also supports their social, emotional connection and bonding. 

Grab a pen (or crayons) and a piece of paper. Use these in a video connection to your child. 

Make a drawing of your family and show it to your little one in a video. It’s not about creating art, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Be sure to point out the family members in the drawing. You can even ask your little one to make a family picture for you as well.

sid-balachandran-_9a-3NO5KJE-unsplash
Animals

Suitable for kids between 2-3 years.

Imitating animal sounds helps young children develop cognitively. At 2 years old, a child might be able to name some animals, and kids this age love playing simple make-believe games.

Connecting with your little one in this playful way helps encourage happiness and long lasting memories. 

All you need is yourself and a video connection to your child at a distance. Pretend to be an animal! Ask your little one to guess what animal you are by making the sound of the animal.You can ask them to do the same, following your demonstration.

About Anieke

Anieke is the Founder and CEO of Peekabond. Anieke is an ex-VC having worked on impact investments and consumer tech deals for the past 8 years of her career. Anieke founded Peekabond from a personal passion because she is an aunt of a 2 year old niece in Australia. She immediately began searching for alternative ways to bond remotely with her little niece. But she couldn’t find a real solution, so she made it her mission to create the best digital platform possible. To build beautiful bonds across generations, continents, and cultures. To connect with Anieke click here 

About Peekabond

Anieke Lamers, our CEO created Peakabond at the onset of Covid-19. A mobile app to help global families bond with young children remotely. Inspiring families to create playful and engaging moments with young children.

Asynchronous video connection and inspirational science-based content suggestions. Allowing families and loved ones to share small moments and build better bonds. Every play experience is designed with care and approved by child development experts. Always age appropriate. Always private and secure, never showing ads. Our intention is to build a movement that connects families across borders and over generations.  To try Peekabond go here.

The Story of Kerry from the Long Distance Grandparent Community by Anieke Lamers

Starting a grandparent club as a parent

I remember the first time I met Kerry it was April 2021 and I immediately knew she was very special and we immediately had a connection. I didn’t prepare well for the call then and somehow expected a grandmother to appear so when I saw her face I was surprised and blurted out: “wow you are so young to be a grandmother!?” 

She smiled and corrected me saying: “I’m not a grandmother but I’m a mother who wants her children to have a strong connection with their grandparents”. This hit home for me immediately being an aunt of a little girl in Australia and I felt immediately connected to her.  

We have a shared vision that children – now more than ever – need a solid foundation and family, no matter the distance 

We’ve kept in touch since and it was such a pleasure catching up with Kerry this time with my cofounder and Chief Scientist/P.h.D. Alyea Sandovar who also relates because she is an aunt of little ones in America. We have a shared vision that children need their family, now more than ever – no matter the distance between.

So how did The Long Distance Grandparent start?

As a mother living abroad with her husband in Dubai and Houston, she knows the pain of being away from family back in Canada and England. Kerry shared that her father is now 81 years old and she really wanted to help her children Finn and Charlie and their grandparents build a bond. 

November is grandparent season in Dubai and UAE

Living in Dubai she noticed how many expat families were missing their family at a distance. The total expat population in United Arab Emirates has in 2022 come to 8.84 million, which constitutes approximately 89% of the population (Source). It is next to Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Singapore among the top 5 countries with the highest share of expats in total population. Kerry noticed that November seemed to be the “grandparent season”. That is, the time of year when the weather is beautiful and the beaches are filled with grandparents visiting their grandchildren in Dubai. She saw an opportunity and the “Grandparent Interview Project” was born. 

Letting go of the grandparent you want to be

Kerry interviewed many grandparents and found out many of them were experiencing a lot of grief of having to let go of the “type of grandparent they thought they were going to be”. This is often paired with a lot of emotional complexity. Grandparents worry they will not be able to nurture a meaningful relationship with their grandchildren because of the distance. Being a trained scientist and caring at heart Kerry saw a role to help grandparents because she knew how possible it was to have strong relationships, no matter the distance between.  And this is how the LDG community started in 2019, which now has about 2000 members from all over the world. 

LDG & Peekabond collaboration

The LDG community receives weekly inspiration about how to connect with grandchildren at a distance through fun, practical and meaningful suggestions. For instance, she encourages grandparents to be intentional about the mail they send and to prepare for the time they spend on video chats together.  Snail mail is an especially powerful way for grandparents to connect because children love it when something arrives especially for them – and it’s unlikely that anyone else in their lives is taking the time to send mail.  Kerry also hosts webinars throughout the year for long-distance grandparents. Stay tuned because we might co-host a webinar between Peekabond and LDG at some point. Kerry started The Long Distance Grandparent Society, an online monthly membership program, as a way to help grandparents move towards more fun and meaningful connections with their grandchildren. It’s an amazing community of engaged and intentional grandparents who know that nurturing bonds really does involve going the extra mile. The paid subscription costs $20 per month or $200 for a year. In the membership and through her free weekly newsletters specifically for long-distance grandparents, she focuses on practical, but fun and meaningful ways to build bonds with your grandchildren.

Background

Kerry Byrne holds a PhD, and although she originally started out wanting to be a child psychologist, she became a research scientist in the area of aging and care. For over 20 years, she has published, presented and collaborated on numerous projects and initiatives to improve the experience of aging. She believes in the power of intergenerational relationships within families to create a more caring and less ageist society. Kerry is the Founder of The Long Distance Grandparent, a mission-driven business helping grandparents build strong bonds with their grandchildren from a distance. 

Grand plans for the future

Kerry has grand plans (pun intended) to grow her membership and help more grandparents through a series of workshops, speaking engagements and e-books.  In the US, Since 2001, the number of grandparents has grown by 24%, from 56 million to 70 million in 2019. By age 65, 96% of Americans are grandparents. Over half of American grandparents report living at a distance from at least one grandchild (Source: AARP) Four in ten grandparents work, contributing to their strength as a significant market force (Source: AARP).

Discussing the Loss of a Relation Within the Family By Anieke Lamers

How to be supportive when your family at a distance is grieving

The Ukraine/Russia conflict inspired this post. My heart is heavy as so many are experiencing loss. Unfortunately, most of us will have moments in life when we are very challenged by a painful situation. Experiencing loss, grief, and sadness is a part of what makes us human. 

Loss and grief can come in many forms;  The death of a loved one, a miscarriage, bad news about a loved one’s health, a painful breakup, or job loss. 

But sadness and grief can also be experienced in “smaller” ways such as not understanding new technology products (my grandmother has been known to feel this way), feeling excluded by a new culture, missing cultural products or foods, being rejected by someone, not getting something you really wanted, or really just worrying about changes in a new environment. 

A few anonymous examples of suffering and grief from my own circle include: 

  1. A miscarriage: Having a miscarriage is more common than most people know. For women who know they’re pregnant, about 10-15% end in miscarriage (See source here). Yet it’s still taboo in many cultures or too painful to talk about. Sadly there isn’t a manual that teaches us how to deal with this kind of trauma. Especially not from the perspective of loved ones at a distance. 
  2. A child trauma: A friend of mine recently experienced her niece (at a distance) suffer a dog attack, for which she was hospitalized. She said she cried for two full days and was unable to fly and visit due to Covid. Experiencing your loved one at a distance suffering from an accident or even hospitalization can be very traumatizing.
  3. A sick older parent: Being separated from family due to political unrest can cause feelings of loss and grief. Especially for those who are unable to return to their home country. 

These things happen to our loved ones – especially to loved ones at a distance –  seeing them suffer can make us feel powerless. 

Personally, I miss my family in Australia when they are struggling with something in their life. Of course, I also hate missing birthdays and the fun stuff, but I feel even sadder about not being able to be there for them physically in times of sorrow. 

Sometimes all you want to do is give them a big hug and be there for them. Being present in their situation without necessarily saying or doing anything.

So what can you do and how can you be supportive when your family at a distance is struggling with grief?

Here are some steps that I have researched and have helped me with my grief:

1. Express your emotions

Sometimes, just being able to express how you or the other person feels can relieve the pain of not being there physically. For example, when I’m going through a rough patch and I speak to my sister in Australia, I can say out loud that I miss her and it sucks that we’re so far apart. I feel some of the pain releasing as I express this. 

Some of us are better at recognizing our emotions than others, but sometimes we just need a bit of help labeling our emotions. This is especially true for younger children. I believe it is our duty as grown-ups to help children in our family to navigate their difficult emotions. 

2. Ask about the other person’s need

When someone we love is in pain, sometimes we intuitively want to “solve” their problems by coming up with a solution. However, it can be better to ask an open question, such as: “What do you need? How can I help?”. Sometimes the answer might be: “I don’t know” or “Just listen and be here for me, that’s enough”. Another great question to ask is “Do you want to a) talk about it, or b) do you want to be distracted so you don’t have to think about it”? When the answer is a) your sole task is to listen. The best way you can be supportive is to listen and be there, letting them take the lead in the conversation.

When the answer is b) it can sometimes be a bit harder to come up with something distracting right on the spot, but this reminds me of the healing power of a simple joke (when timed right). When you make a joke to distract the other person, make sure it’s not at their expense, but a little bit of self-mockery can be healing.  Sometimes I find that when I ask to be distracted, I end up talking about the problem anyway.

3. Be thoughtful (and remember the after-care) 

Everyone deals with grief in their own way and in their own timeframe: Some people like to deal with it by themselves while others prefer a shoulder to cry on. Some appear to get “over it” in a heartbeat whereas for others the pain seems to linger forever. Whatever the situation, don’t judge and respect the needs of the person in grief. Let them know you are there in your own way. A simple heart emoticon ❤️ or a “I’m thinking of you, let me know if you need anything” note can be enough. Don’t expect them to respond (because they might have enough on their mind as it is): it’s not about you, it’s about being there for them. 

4. Send Good thoughts

There is a lot of research showing the power of meditation, prayer.ending good vibes to those in need can have positive effects at a distance. (For example: NYTimes)

Concluding thoughts

In conclusion, most of us will have moments in life when we are very challenged by a painful situation.Just because we aren’t there physically doesn’t mean we can’t be there for each other emotionally to help each other through the rough patches. Expressing your emotions, asking about each others’ needs, being thoughtful and sending good thoughts are all ways to be supportive. 

If you’d like a creative and playful way of supporting young children (and indirectly their parents) at a distance, try out our Peekabond app. We start by giving simple playful, creative suggestions to share videos with each other. This helps to deepen the connection with your loved one and create a space to start sharing the more difficult things. 

You can give Peekabond a try, it’s completely free and you download the app here

senior couple happy tablet computer love together

Showing Love – 5 Activities to do when Babysitting at a distance

Growing your Love and Affection With Family at a distance

Last month my sister, who lives in Australia, was in a difficult situation: her husband had covid, so had to self isolate in their house whilst she had to stay in the other side of the house with their two year old daughter. My sister just started a new job, had to cook, take care of her daughter ánd try not to catch covid. You can imagine this was quite a stressful situation. Normally grandparents, friends or family would be able to come to the rescue, however given her husband had covid they also had to self-isolate plus my sister’s in-laws live about 4 hours away of their home, and our family is mostly in the Netherlands. Raising children with family at a distance (especially for expats) is even more challenging during times of a pandemic. I guess there are many parents out there who can relate to this, and that’s why I thought it would be relevant to write this blog. 

Helping my sister

I asked my sister: “Is there’s anything I can do to help you”? We thought for a bit and quickly came up with the idea of me babysitting her daughter remotely through video calling through her tablet and my laptop. My sister was in the other room trying to get some work done. And we had a backup plan: if my little niece would hang up on me (because the big red button is so attractive to push!), or if I could see her doing something dangerous or naughty, I would have my sister on speed dial in the other room. I was pretty nervous before babysitting through video call; I thought “what if something would go wrong on my clock whilst remote babysitting”? She is only 2.5 years old after all. How long could I possibly engage her for so long given her young age and limited attention span? But, I prepared well, and guess what?! I was able to have an amazing fun time with her for about ninety minutes. Sure, she wasn’t engaged fully all the time, but, we made it work. It was actually the first time I had a one-on-one time with her for that long and even though it wasn’t a deep connection, it felt so natural and was so happy I could help my sister with this small act of service.  I always love showing my love and affection by doing something for the person I love, and not being able to babysit and take care of my niece in person can sometimes be painful. I’ve spoken to many grandparents who feel exactly the same: they want to contribute and babysit their grandchild but they feel separated by distance. Babysitting at a distance would not even come to their mind, which is why I thought this might be a nice inspiration for them as well. 
Preparing to Babysit for Parents Remotely
Let me tell you how I prepared for this and maybe it can help you or inspire you as well. There are a couple of Practical tips, Do’s and Don’ts that I listed down here: 

The Babysitter (aka you!)

  1. Charge your devices: This might sound like a no brainer but make sure your devices are fully charged. I recommend to charge your laptop or tablet (with which you’re going to videocall)  in combination with a phone (which should be next to you in case of emergency call to the parent in the other room).  
  2. Make sure to have some props next to your video calling device so you don’t have to go and look for them during the call. I’ll explain more about what props to bring in the Activities section below.
  3. Schedule the babysitting session at a time the child is typically in a good mood. I video called in my late evening (11 PM) so it was early morning in Australia, which is a time that my niece is usually in a great mood. It was not the best time for me personally as it was very late, however it was more important for me that she would be comfortable than the other way around.

The Parent (aka the person that needs help):    

  1. Child-prep the play room: Ask the parent if the room that the child is in whilst video calling is child-proof. That means no sharp objects, electrical outlets covered up, no stairs they can fall from and child-safe furniture. My sister put the tablet (on which my niece was calling) on a table with a comfy pouf in front of the camera.  
  2. Stay close (in the room nextdoor) to the play room.  
  3. Unmute their phone’s sound in case of an emergency call
  4. Give the child a snack that they can munch on whilst video calling. Beware it’s not something like a lolly that they can potentially choke on. My sister gave for example gave my niece a sandwich.  
Activities for Babysitting Remotely
  1. Pictionary & how many do you see?! Pictionary is a very suitable game to play with children whilst videocalling. I had a whiteboard and was drawing all sorts of images on the whiteboard: flowers, a sun, a bee, hearts, shapes, a dog. I asked her if she could guess what I was drawing. My niece is just learning how to count, so with every picture I drew I asked her if she could count for example the number of flowers or flower leafs. This also just works with normal paper and a pen, although a marker is better visible when showing it in the camera. 

This screenshot of me babysitting shows my niece sitting comfortably on a big cushion, whilst eating a sandwich she was pointing and loving the things I was drawing.

2. Sing songs or watch movies together

Another great activity for remote babysitting is singing, dancing or watching a movie together. I prepared a playlist on Spotify specially for my little niece with songs that I know she would love (including famous childrens’ songs like Twinkle twinkle little star, some Disney songs like Jungle Book, and Let it Go from the Frozen movie). I played the songs and we both sang and danced along behind the camera.

Pro tip: with some video calling solutions it’s possible to share the sound on your computer, which works best, but you don’t really need a playlist if you know a couple of songs by heart.

Note: In the print screen above you can see in the blue pop-up that it’s possible to even watch videos and movies together. I didn’t do this because I really liked being more engaged but would love to watch some of my favorite children’s movies with her in the future. 

Ps. I forgot to take a screenshot because I was too busy dancing and singing 🎶 

3. Reading a story with special effects. 

Another great activity for remote babysitting is reading a story. This works best if you both have the same version of the book, but I didn’t have the specific book my niece wanted to read and it still works fine if you don’t have the same book. 

My niece had an animal picture book that she loves with all sorts of animals. I always ask her to guess the animal and she knows what sounds the animals make and I asked her with each animal to make the sound together creating some special effects together. 

In this screenshot you can see me pretending to be a lion, one of the animals she pointed out in her book.

4. Tell a story with some stuffed animals

Another activity that works well for remote babysitting is telling a story with stuffed animals. I for example had two cuddly bears in my house that I could use as props and I pretended to drink a cup of tea with them. Using funny voices and sounds and letting the animals have all sorts of emotions works really well with engaging with young children whilst baby sitting. You can pretend to give some tea to the camera to your child at a distance but remember to keep it simple. I asked my niece a couple of questions to let her play along with the stuffed animals but she was so mesmorized with the bears that she didn’t really answer. 

 

This screenshot shows I’m having a good time, however my eyes are getting smaller as it was almost midnight in the Netherlands.

5. Show your love by explicitly saying you’re giving a cuddle 

The best part of my video calls with my little niece is always the end when she gives the phone a hug and a kiss goodbye. For children it is really important to make explicit that you would rather give them a hug in real life, however that you’ll use a cuddly bear as a “stand-in” who can magically transfer the hugs. 

 

This blurry picture is personally my favorite part as I know she’s pretending to give me a hug and kiss goodbye after babysitting at a distance through video calling.  

Do you want more inspiration? At Peekabond we have tons of creative play suggestions for playing with young children at a distance. We created a mobile app that uses video messaging to share playful videos to each other at any time. You can also use many of those play suggestions when you’re online at the same time to babysit remote.  Interested? Download it here.

Feel Together with your family, even from a distance #2

Article posted in Delft MaMa blog 

The holiday season is a time we all look forward to being together. It is a time to reconnect, spend some time enjoying each other’s company, and perhaps forget about the realities of the world. For many families in the Delft MaMa community, however, this will be the second season spent apart due to the constraints of the pandemic. The importance of being together, across space and time, is what inspired the creation of Peekabond – a video messenger to connect families using science-based play activities. Designed for families with young children, to feel connected to loved ones.

I am Anieke Lamers, the founder of Peekabond. I was inspired to create Peekabond after I became a long-distance auntie myself. Previously, I discovered first-hand how hard it was to build a bond with my niece remotely. After talking to hundreds of parents and family members, I found out many had the same struggle. That is when I decided to build Peekabond, for me and all those other families.

So, if your family keeps asking, “What should we give your little one(s) as a present this year?” Then, look no further because I have some great tips for you!

Read the full article here:
Feel together with your family, even from a distance

The challenges of remote bonding with young children

Let’s face it: Remote bonding with young children is hard. A little over two years ago, I became an aunt of a little niece in Australia (far away from where I live in The Netherlands), and, since then, I have been searching desperately for solutions to help with remote bonding with young children. I couldn’t find a proper solution, so, I made it my personal mission to create the best digital solution possible so beautiful bonds can be built across generations, continents, and cultures.

This blog summarizes findings from interviews with hundreds of families across the world. I’ve spoken to grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, children, and other loved ones, and here are some quotes, because I believe that pain shared is pain lessened.

Pain shared is pain lessened

So for anyone who reads this blog: from long-distance grandparents to divorced parents, uncles, or aunts who live/work internationally as expats and have to spend time away from a child they love very dearly, I want you to understand that: You are not alone.  Many share your pain of missing young children in their families. 

Some of the pains experienced by family members trying to connect with young children at a distance include:

“I feel it’s very difficult to establish an actual real contact”

It’s already hard to keep in touch with grown-ups – let alone with young children, who have a limited attention span and to whom you might be a “vague concept” from a distance. Young kids cannot hold their attention for a longer period of time and family video calls often end up being a conversation between adults with everyone involved being frustrated. One mother mentioned: “The conversation is literally happening above my daughter’s head”. Young children might become frustrated because they want attention.

I don’t know how to engage my child behind a screen”

It’s also difficult to engage with children if you don’t see them often because you just don’t know what they like. The truth is: As grown-ups, we often forget how to be playful and especially don’t know how to be playful when you’re not together. WhatsApp/Zoom calls often end up being a conversation because us grown-ups are only used to having serious conference calls that way.

‘I just can’t find the time’

Some (grand)parents I’ve spoken to indicated that planning is also very hard with young children. Depending on the culture – for example, Hofstede’s theory states that Western cultures are more individualized – the grandparents don’t want to impose on the lives of the parent/primary caretakers. Some families have to bridge a huge time zone difference which makes it challenging to “catch” each other in a moment that neither of the parties feels tired because it’s either too early in the morning or too late in the evening. There are so many responsibilities a parent or caretaker needs to take care of first, and connecting to family members at a distance might feel like a chore rather than fun family time.

I just want to hold their little hand and hug them”

Believe me, I know how heartbreaking it is to be away from the ones you love; you just want to hug them and give them a kiss. For some people, not being able to physically touch the ones you love can be even more painful, if this is one of your “languages of love”. The Dutch have a word called “huidhonger”, which literally translates to “skin hunger,”: the feeling people develop when they are touch deprived and feel disconnected from one another.

“Family video calls feel like forced conversations”

Quality time (another one of the love languages) is also hard to get when you’re at a distance. You just want to be with them and hang out, maybe not do anything. One interviewee answered: “Bonding, to me, means to just enjoy the silence together”.

“I wish there was something I could do for them to show them how much I care”

 The so-called “Acts of Service” are doing something for your loved one that you know they would like, such as cooking them a meal, taking the kids to school, or cleaning the house. Doing an act of service for someone can feel difficult at a distance. For example, grandparents at a distance would love to babysit (to help the parents), but that can be practically challenging (or impossible) if you cannot be physically there. Grandparents feel like they have so much to offer, but the distance is getting in the way. They want to do more but you just don’t know-how.

“I feel like I’m missing out, they are growing so fast”

One day they are just a tiny baby making gugu-gaga sounds, and the next they are walking around using full sentences and you’re like: “how did that happen?” and “how did I miss that?”. You want to be a part of their special moments such as their first smile and their first steps, but you also want to have “normal” moments together like simply brushing your teeth together. Plus, you see their faces changing so fast.

“I know I won’t be around forever (grandparent) and I want to leave a legacy”

When it comes to aging, many people want to experience the satisfaction of “giving back”, contributing to, and being of service to others. Some of the grandparents (and parents) I’ve spoken to want to leave memories and a legacy for their children to enjoy after they have passed away but forget to do that before it’s too late.

“I want to invest time to bond, but I also love my life and hobbies and sometimes life just gets in the way”

Many (grand)parents have busy social lives and it’s easy to forget to invest the time to spend on (grand)children if it’s not a habit. Out of sight, out of mind. People find it difficult to build a family ritual if you’re not together.

“I see a lot of pictures, and on the one hand they make me happy but on the other hand they make me sad because I’m not a part of it and I feel like I’m just watching their life through the sidelines”

Sure there’s Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, WeChat, or other photo-sharing solutions, but there’s no two-way street and interaction with the child(ren). You feel like you’re watching their life from a sideline rather than being a part of it. You receive a lot of nice pictures from their lives, but you don’t feel like you’re a part of that. Plus, when you share pictures it’s usually to the family app, where only the adults see your updates.

“I’m not good at technology”

Some people might be a bit “scared” of technology. Either because they are too old for it and don’t feel “tech-savvy enough” or because they don’t think it’s right for children. Sometimes, they feel the combination of warm bonds and technology just doesn’t rhyme. Some parents are opposed to any screen time at all for children.

A little bit scared

Finally, it might be that you’re also a little scared to fully open your heart to a little loved one at a distance because it can be scary to love someone. It might be easier not to do that because of the fear of missing out (#FOMO). I devoted a blog/vlog on this here: https://peekabond.com/2021/10/13/being-a-long-distance-auntie/

Try Peekabond

Do you recognize these pains and would you like to find a way to bond remotely with young children? We have a solution to soften the pain of being away from a child at a distance: 

Peekabond is a simple way to share playful moments and have fun together. We give: 

  • Inspiration of fun, playful activities (ranging from games, stories, songs etc)
  • Responsible content that is based on child-development science 
  • A way to communicate directly with young children
  • To share moments in a two-way street (not just pictures from babies to family but actual shared experiences)
  • A safe place to store everything 

We have a growing library of over 50 activities that you can use to build a bond with your loved ones. It’s available for iOS and Android. 

Download our app today for instant access to fun and playful activities to do when you’re at a distance.

Try Peekabond