Being a step-parent is a daunting task, even when you get along with the kids. My stepdaughters live three hours away from me and visit every other weekend, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from being part of their lives! I sat down with them and we brainstormed 99 ways we could keep in touch. Here's Idea #1, "Think of 30 things you have in common."

When you meet new people, you're always looking for ways to get to know them. In a stepfamily relationship, both you and the kids are forced to spend time together whether you like each other or not, simply because you all love the biological parent. That can lead to a lot of tension if you don't make extra efforts to be a good parent.

Get to know your stepkids, and let them get to know you. Start by finding common ground. With this activity, you get the chance to discover what you have in common and to support and accept your differences. In fact, this is a good game to play with your own parents, friends, and biological kids!

Here's how to get started, "step by step."

1. Look for the easy ones first. You both have ears, eyes, and hair; maybe your genders are the same; you speak the same language; both of you love their biological parent; you both drink milk, eat hamburgers, hate Brussels sprouts; heck, you both wear socks. And, you can both count to 30, right?

2. Be patient. Don't just announce you want a list of things you have in common from your stepkid and put her on the spot. She probably thinks you came from a different planet and would have a hard time coming up with even one thing.

3. Start the conversation with things you know you have in common. Then, branch out and ask questions. "I love to eat sushi. Have you ever tried it?" Ah, but you've both probably eaten fish, which is common ground.

4. Involve your spouse and any other kids that happen to be standing nearby. Spread a net of commonalities, so your kid can see she's got a basis for a friendship.

5. Aim to be friends at the end. If your stepkid gets catty with you, drop it and try again later. Write it down and give it to her to reduce the likelihood of confrontation. Be open and friendly and eventually she'll see you as a worthwhile person to have as a friend.

This is one simple activity, a few moments with your head together, but a priceless gift to your stepfamily relationship. Give it a try today, or try out one of the other 98 ideas our stepfamily would like to share with you.

Author's Bio: 

Our stepfamily gathered all these ideas into one electronic book, so you don't have to get them one at a time--simply visit to purchase all 99 ideas. In only moments, you can download these ideas and get started strengthening your stepfamily relationship.

What's a strong stepfamily worth to you? More respect from the kids, more support from your spouse, more lasting connections in those between-times when the kids aren't physically with you. Fewer arguments, fewer tantrums, fewer rejections.

Listen, your stepkids don't know you very well. They might think you're trying to take over, or replace their mom or dad. Just be yourself, work hard on reaching out, and let them see you're not interfering. Make your stepfamily relationship about YOU and the KIDS, not anyone else.

Give the ebook "99 Things To Do With Your Stepkids (When They Don't Live With You)" a try today. You'll be so glad you did.