One of my favorite holiday traditions is sending cards to friends and family both near and far. In return, each day brings extra excitement and expectation as bright colored envelopes also fill our mailbox for several weeks before Christmas. It is fun to see how college friends’ children have grown, what exciting places our peers have traveled, and who may have a new addition added to their family, furry or otherwise!

But why stop at the holidays? Why not correspond with those we love all year round?

Admittedly, technology has made it way too easy to stay connected everyday, and while it is wonderful to see new mail in your inbox or messages on your phone, it somehow is not as personal.

For instance, have your children take the time to compose a handwritten thank you note if they are old enough. It will encourage patience and dedication with a positive outcome, it will allow children to practice both spelling and handwriting, (almost a lost art-form), and it will entice their anticipation of a reply from an out of town loved one. Check out this helpful link highlighting the benefits of a handwritten note.  

So let’s take it back a decade or so, go “old school” this winter, by encouraging your kids to send traditional snail mail. Who knows, maybe they will receive some mail in return!

Share the Love:  Create a New Valentine Tradition

Valentine’s Day is the next Hallmark holiday coming our way. The candy, the cards, and the flowers are already adorning the aisles in the stores. Take this opportunity to make an annual tradition of your kids sending Valentine’s to their grandparents or godparents or someone else near and dear to them. It can be store bought or homemade with a brief handwritten note, depending on your children’s ages. Trust me, the recipient will be tickled pink!

Share the Joy:  Create an Everyday Special Occasion

Who says we need a reason to reach out to someone we are thinking about? Everyday is the perfect day to send a message of joy or news of an accomplishment. Again, it can be either a store bought or homemade card, or a handwritten or hand-drawn letter. The point is, your children are making a connection – and someone’s day – by sending them a letter or card with a stamp on it. It is a life skill we take for granted but one that has not necessarily been passed on to our kids.

Show Kindness:  Reach Out to Those Around Us

If for no other reason, help your child send a sweet note, card or handmade picture to someone who especially needs to hear from others. At this time in our nation, the elderly, especially those in assisted-living facilities, are in need of a kind word to brighten their day. Many of these treasured souls are living in isolation due to the pandemic and would welcome some correspondence from your bright eyed cherubs, even if the recipient is a complete stranger. Pay the love forward!

Find a Forever Friend:  Discover a Pen Pal

When I was a child, I remember leaving a week long camp with names and addresses precisely written down so I could immediately start corresponding with my “new” friends. Pen Pals forever! It is an old-fashioned idea that can easily be brought back into vogue. Have your child begin a handwritten correspondence with a cousin or college roommate’s son or daughter who may live out of state or even in the next town over. It is a bonding experience that may eventually last throughout their lifetime, and how cool would that be?

As we feel more distanced from one another due to Covid-19, now is the perfect time to reach out to those we think of every day yet do not get to see. Or reach out to the quiet neighbor who lives down the street and is missing his own grandchildren.

This exercise via snail mail (watch this video with your children to inspire them) will teach your children SO much about thinking of others, sharing experiences through the written (or drawn) word, and creating a memorable moment during a time in which we are all striving for more connection.