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  1. #1
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    Default No children but want to bond more with long distance niece

    Hi everyone,

    I'm 30 years old, don't have kids myself yet (but will be trying soon) and I absolutely love my niece as if she was my own. She is 2.5 years and for the past 1.5 years has been living long distance. I would see her fortnightly during her first year and we built a great bond, she would always want to play and would always be laughing and having fun.

    During the past year I try to see her at least once a month but sometimes its once every 2 months now due to work and life getting in the way. The last time I seen her she was completely different toward me. She shyed away from me when she seen me, she didn't grab me to go play with toys, she didn't laugh like she normally would when I did silly things, when I did try to play with her I was told no, she basically did not want anything to do with me which left me feeling quite hurt.

    I just want to know if this is normal for a 2.5 year old? Is there a way to have the same bond we had before with being long distance? I want to be the fun aunt in her life but I'm just not sure what to do now ?

    Thanks for listening

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    Yes this is quite normal for her age and if she doesn’t see you often. Kids fall out of their comfort zone pretty quickly.

    I moved overseas when my niece was 2 and always managed to call when she was asleep unfortunately, we totally lost our personal connection. When my niece was about 5 and I came back to visit she was very shy of course (I had been back before but this time was staying at her house). The first time she was left alone with me - she looked at me and said “mum tells me I love you and you are my favourite. But can I tell you a secret? I don’t know you”. I just said “that’s ok, you don’t have to love me but I’d really like to be your friend. It can be our secret”. She was so relieved! (She’s always been an old soul and mature for her age and still calls a spade a spade, lol). After that I kept my distance, let her come to me and always sought permission and gave choices. Eg do you want mummy to do your hair or would you like me to give you pigtails? She came round very quickly.

    My point is give her lots of space. Be there and be your usual fun self but keep your distance until she’s ready to come to you. Maybe involve her parents in games so it feels safer until she gets used to you again.

    At her age regular Skype or FaceTime can be good so she’s seeing your face and hearing your voice more often. But you’ll need to find something that entertains her. I had a nephew who loved music so I’d Skype with a song of the week and we’d do a crazy dance together. Another I gave a picture book and if he wanted to read that one his dad would Skype me and I’d narrate crazy different stories to it. Another liked pulling funny faces so I’d text or Skype with a funny face and ask for one back. Another loved trains so I’d call and say “Hey I found a cool YouTube video for you” and his dad would open the link. You’ll be lucky to keep them on the phone for a minute or two, once a week, but luckily that’s all it takes

    Best of luck!

    R

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  4. #3
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    Pretty much what the PP said. My nephew lives interstate. We FaceTime most weekends and my sister and I are always sending silly selfies to each other which he loves to get in on too, especially when there are new filters/effects to try. It really helps build that relationship. When he was about 3 and they visited I was waiting at the airport at the top of the walkway where everyone comes off the plane. As soon as he saw me he ran straight for me for a massive hug. Familiarity is key!

  5. #4
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    Thanks for the stories. It does make me feel relieved that it is normal behaviour and she doesn't all of a sudden hate me. We don't FaceTime because my brother/sister in law don't do that kind of thing, but I know she see's photos of me and knows who I am. It is really hard to just give her space, I feel like I have to make up for lost time each time I see her, but i'm going to take everyone's opinions here and do it as it seems to be the right thing to do

  6. #5
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    If they dont do facetime type of stuff can you send pictures and little notes in the mail?
    Just something to stay in her ‘world’ she’d then associate you with getting mail which is super exciting for little people


 

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