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How to make the most of calls with inmates

phone calls in prison

Hello Friends-

I cannot believe how long COVID19 restrictions are lasting.  Even more so, I am shocked by the continually rising numbers of people who are getting sick.  I want this pandemic to end.  We all want things to return to normal — or as close to normal as possible.  I am heartbroken as I hear from families and prisoners across the world who are struggling because they cannot visit each other. That is why finding innovative ways to build memories together has become a significant priority.

Phone calls, video visits, and letters have completely replaced face to face contact for most families during this pandemic.  The truth is that it is much harder to bridge the gap when you cannot be together in person. It is time to get creative if you want to keep your relationship and family healthy and connected.  If you are not intentional about making the most of the time you have together, your family will begin to grow distant.  

There is no such thing as staying the same.  

Change is inevitable.  You can either be a champion for change or a victim of it.  Moreover, if you are not intentional about investing in your family and making every encounter intentional, your relationship will grow stale.  As time goes by, distance will rob you of your intimacy, and you will feel more disconnected from them with each passing every day. Thankfully, you can do things to protect your family even when you cannot visit them in person.

Games, activities, and courageous conversations enhance interest and satisfaction in relationships. I have written other blogs on games and activities you can do during phone calls, so check those out, too.  The more resources you have, the more prepared you will be to invest in your relationship when your loved one calls you! 

family phone calls prison

Tips to stay connected

Here are some new tips to make the most of your next call or video visit:

1 - Guess what I am thinking?

Yes, that is the name of the conversation starter/game.  This game is a playful way to connect to your partner and is a lot of fun on video visits.  Close your eyes, think of a memory you and your partner share.  Use your eyes and facial expression to provide clues to your partner. They do not have to go into detail. They can say a few words that let you know they have guessed what you are thinking about. Then, ask them to do the same thing. Sharing positive memories brings back that emotional connection into the present moment and connects you across time and space. This activity can be romantic if it is just the 2 of you or rated G if you are including your kiddos.

2 - Get dressed up for your video visits.

Make the time together memorable by treating it like a date night at least twice a month.

3 - Ask your child(ren) to teach their Dad a new skill they learned.  

Young children love to show off the new skills they learned.  It can be tying a shoe, how to dribble a basketball, color in the lines, whatever your child wants to “teach” Daddy. Older kids may need a little encouragement, but they will enjoy the opportunity to show-off for their Dad.

4 - Ask your partner to share a skill or fun activity with your kids.

 It can be their names in sign language, how to draw, it can be anything!  Kids love to learn from their Dads. 

5 - Share your faith during your calls. 

Pray together. Pray for each other and ask about prayer requests and praise reports.  Write these down.  You will be connecting to each other’s lives by sharing struggles and victories.

6 - Start with I and end with WHY.  

Each of you starts with sharing something about yourself by beginning the conversation with “I…”  Next, the speaker will ask, “Why do I ….?” And then answer their question. Some comments will be silly or fun, and others will be serious. Furthermore, let each person chose what they want to share.  

7 - 10 Words. 

In 1 word, each person shares something that happened to them, or something they did, or how they feel. After everyone has shared, do it again with two words, keep going until each person gets up to 10 words.  You can use all of your turns to talk about the same thing or share something new with every turn. When the game ends, move to normal conversation and enjoy connecting.

Let me know which ideas work best for you and your family.

I am rooting for you!


1 Comment

  • Elizabeth Brown
    Posted January 23, 2021 at 2:21 am

    Great ideas, Cathy!! You are a trailblazer for resilience and determination on all those years of keeping your family intact, inspite of the struggles you faced with Ron’s incarceration. You have sparked and lite up the world with your love and inspiration to thousands of families! Thank you for your heart and passion that touches every life you encounter!

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