Whether you have joint custody with the other parent or not, it can be difficult to stay in contact with a child who does not live with you all the time. It is so important to stay connected, because your child needs your presence, even when you do not get along with the other parent.

Here are some ideas to help you stay in touch with your child, even though there is a long distance between you.

Ask your child what his or her preference is for talking or messaging. Look for different options, such as Skype, text or social media. If your child is old enough to have an Instagram or Facebook account, follow what he or she is doing, but do not become obnoxious about it.

1. Use snail mail. Send postcards and letters. Send a package occasionally. Remember how much fun it is to open a card that came in the mail. Your child will know you are thinking of him or her.

2. Be flexible about the times you talk to your child. If the child is busy during a regular visit, do not take it personally. Just ask when would be a better time.

3. Research things that your child is interested in. When conversation is stilted, you can use this information to open the door to talking.

4. When you do get time with your child, make it quality time. No griping or complaining about the other parent. Do not introduce new people in your life right away.

5. Invite your child’s friends when you go on an outing, if possible. Your child will enjoy having someone the same age around, and you might get your child to talk a lot more about what is happening in his or her life.

Give your child your attention

A long-distance relationship is tough, but you are the one who is going to have make the effort. If you need help dealing with the other parent, you may need to get your lawyer involved to help you work out a system to stay in touch with your child. A child custody modification might be in order as your child gets older and needs a different schedule with each parent.