While sheltering in place with your children, I’ve a project that is not only educational, it will help others during this time of isolation.

Write letters.  No emails. Real, old fashion letters, with pens on paper. A chance to practice cursive handwriting, sentence structure, spelling, and explore that age old way of communicating with those you’re separated from.

Before you make an excuse you have no postage stamps, you can easily go online and order them directly from your post office. While you wait for them to be delivered, you can start working on those letters.

You don’t need fancy stationary, and if you need envelopes, you can order those online too.

Do this not only for your children—but for those older family members who are currently sheltering in place—alone and isolated.  Yes, you may be talking to them on the phone, or chatting on Facetime or Skype, but trust me, people from that generation enjoy getting letters. Real letters, something they can hold in their hands and read again and again. 

A letter is tangible. It is something they understand. Different than an email that they may have difficulty accessing. And in many cases, something like a video call is impossible for them if they are living alone and not computer savvy.

I started thinking of this when my mother celebrated her 92nd birthday last week. My sister, who is sheltering in place in California, separated not just from her grandchildren, but from her 98-year old mother-in-law, Florence, who lives in assistant living and is currently unable to have any guests—locked away and isolated like so many of our senior population—put out a request to her Facebook friends.  Could they please send Mom and Florence a letter. Something to cheer them up. For Mom, she asked for birthday greetings—and for her mother-in-law, a note or card to cheer her up in her isolation.

I don’t know how many letters Florence received, but I know my mother received a dozen or more—and I will have to say, the smiles and happy tears they stirred were priceless.

If you have a grandparent, favorite aunt, or someone dear to you who is currently sheltering in place, virtually alone, then please, consider sitting down with your children and writing some letters. Perhaps instead of game night—try a letter writing night.

If you are looking for something positive to do during this time, this just might be the thing. Excuse me now, while I go write a couple letters myself…

(Note: Being a tad paranoid about nasty germs coming in on the mail, we have been letting our mail sit overnight before bringing in the house. However, we have a locking mailbox, so that may not be feasible for everyone—and I am not sure how necessary. But like I said, I am a bit paranoid.)

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