Dear Savvy Auntie,

I'm pregnant and will have to be moving 12 hours away about a month after the baby is born.

I'm very close to my three year old niece and I'm worried that she'll feel like I'm abandoning her or something and I want to make sure before I leave that she understands that I'm not doing that.

Any advice, tips, tricks, books you'd recommend on how to handle it?

Moving Away

Dear Moving Away,

Since all research shows that the first three years are the most important, absorbent, and have the most rapid intellectual and emotional growth, your niece will certainly have your caring tucked into her little psyche.

I suggest that you show her a map (she will not really understand the geography) circling where you will be and where she is located. That way, she will have visual reference points. In  addition, give her photos of your new home and surroundings and be sure to make copies as she may mangle them with overuse.

Find a “lovie” gift that your new baby gives to your niece when she is born (or when you leave)... something for her to cuddle and sleep with, like a soft baby doll with accessories: bottle, carrier/ carriage, spoon, bowl etc. That way, when you speak with your niece, you can talk about taking care of “your babies."

Ask her to send you a picture she draws once a month to hang on your fridge and then take a photo of it there for her to see.

Tell her to look in her mailbox because you are going to send her mail once a week: a photo, a postcard, stickers etc.

The most impressive communication and easiest contact is with SKYPE. Set this up with her parents and make a weekly date with them.

Good Luck,

Natalie Robinson Garfield ,

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