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Parenting

1 Have Dinner Virtually. If your child has access to a smartphone, tablet or laptop, break bread with them using Facetime (iPhone/iPad/Mac OS) or download Skype or Google Hangout. Position the device so you can see each other at the table. Enjoy a conversation over a meal and, if you can plan it, eat the same thing.

2 Have Pizza Delivered. Order through the Domino's, Papa John's or Pizza Hut app, or call the restaurant and have your child's favorite pie delivered. Save this for a special occasion or do it just because.

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3 Amazon Wish List Mining. Have your child build a wish list of items, each in a set price range. Then have the gifts shipped to their home on a schedule you set, like monthly or quarterly.

4 Create Photo Books on Shutterfly. Visit shutterfly.com to design books using pre-designed templates and your photos. This is a great way to bind a memorable trip or vacation and send it to your child as a keepsake.

5 Write a story together by mail or email. Exercise your creative muscle by penning a story with your child. Each of you writes a paragraph or two and then emails or mails it to the other. Once you complete the story, make copies for each of you, design a cover and bind it.

6 Text Videos. Send a series of videos of yourself saying good night, good morning, congratulating your child on a milestone (i.e. honor roll), reading a poem or short story, or just to say 'I love you.' Be creative. The possibilities are limitless.

7 Build LEGO® Projects via Mail. Find a sturdy and simple LEGO® project that you can do together. Each of you can take turns assembling the parts and then sending completed portion — and the loose bricks! — through the mail. Don't forget the instruction booklet and flag or dog-ear the page where you last completed so they can pick up where you left off.

8 Keep Journals. Buy journals that you can share with one another. This keeps you in the daily life of your child and keeps your child in yours.

9 Senior Year Life's Lessons Book. One year out from your child's high school graduation, begin penning 365 simple life lessons they can take to college with them. Give it as a graduation present.

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10 Make a Spotify or Pandora Playlist. Each of you can combine your favorite songs into a playlist that you can listen to at your leisure. It's a great way to feel close to each other when you're missing one another.

Chris Jones is a regular contributor to Fredericksburg Parent. He enjoys finding creative ways to connect with his 7-year-old between visits.

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Pouches' Community Corner

On August 17, three weeks after a routine pediatrician appointment for their then 4-month-old son, Levi, Liz and Angel Colon received news that no parent ever wants to hear: Levi’s liver wasn’t processing bile correctly, and he will very likely need a liver transplant—and time is of the essence.

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Read more about baby Levi and his family's fight for a new liver.

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