Family and relationships

How to care for your children from miles away

Protecting your family doesn’t mean being by their side literally— although that is ideal. Circumstances, such as employment opportunities in other countries, may prevent you from being with your loved ones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show that you care.

By Patricia Barcelon

Working and living overseas to provide a better future for the ones you are leaving behind is perhaps the most common goal of every overseas Filipino worker. Many OFWs sacrifice a lot of things to give their families a better life. Sending money every month to pay for the tuition fees, home repair or improvement, and bills and other family expenses is the main way an OFW can help their families. But that also means not being in the lives of their children while they are growing up.

With modern technology, working abroad no longer means that you are out of communication with your family. You can still play an active part in their everyday life by learning some tricks and tips to be able to help raise your children despite the distance.

Before leaving, explain your reasons to your kids and what your departure means for them. Tell your children why you need to work in a place that will allow you to separate from them for extended periods. Share the goals that you want to accomplish in working overseas and make your child feel that you need their cooperation and understanding to fulfill those goals.

Children of OFWs tend to feel neglected and often develop negative thoughts. These feelings may lead them to go astray as they get older. If your children are old enough to understand, explain to them your reasons and that it’s all for their benefit. Your children should be able to understand that you are taking the step to give them a happy life and a brighter future.

You can also ask your children to share their thoughts or questions about your decision to work abroad and help them resolve any issues or fears they might have. Your children — especially the older ones — will feel that you value their opinions and respect their feelings. It also eliminates all the questions they may be having in their mind.

If your kids are still too young for this kind of talk, ensure that your spouse or their guardian explains the situation to them once they get older and start asking questions.

When you are abroad, find out which mode of communication is most suitable for your family and at what time. Having a dedicated time of day to talk to your family will help them feel your presence more. Decide whether you’ll be video calling on your webcam, or calling and leaving messages on communication apps such as WhatsApp or Viber. 

The decision to live and work far away affects the children as much as it affects you. Communicating regularly and having your children know you’re only a text or phone call away helps diminish panic and worry in your family. Be verbally affectionate with your children. Tell them how much you miss and love them, talk about their day. Make a big deal about their achievements and say how happy you are about their progress.

Communicate with your spouse or your children’s guardians about parenting decisions and get to know how your children are coming along. Your spouse or the children’s guardians are your allies in long-distance parenting so make sure that you are all on the same page when it comes to rearing the children. They can also help keep good memories of you and your kids alive. Ask your spouse or the guardians to show pictures of you and your child together or recount memories or experiences you used to do with your child.

And to help protect and grow the fruit of your labor, getting an FWD Family Hero plan, will give you that important partner in creating financial stability for your family. Family Hero works as a source of passive income, with the potential to grow your family’s wealth plus protect them at home from unexpected health setbacks.

The Family Hero plan consists of either Set for Life or Manifest with HealthPro, RecoveryPro, and SurePro for the insured. HealthPro covers 42 major and 15 minor critical illnesses. RecoveryPro helps with medical expenses, including getting hospital cash benefits. Receive an allowance of up to Php10,000 each day the insured is in the hospital and get 100% more if they are in the ICU. To cater to the times, Family Hero will also cover critical illnesses caused by COVID-19.

Protect and invest for the future. Good parenting also involves taking control of your finances. Good financial health can secure the future of your child and may even make it possible for you not to go overseas to work again.

Talk to an FWD Financial Advisor to know how you can grow your money and protect your family.