There are few things that mean more to your loved one in prison than receiving a letter. Letters offer news from home and the chance to connect with family and friends. Although there are many ways to connect with your loved one (see article), writing a letter is one of the best ways to maintain a consistent flow of communication.
With the challenges of Covid-19, it is even more challenging to connect to your loved one in prison. From limited visits, to other restrictions, it can be discouraging to stay connected. Don’t let the barriers of staying connected stop you from connecting with your loved one in prison. Here are a few ways to stay connected through letters.
Follow their institution’s rules – Before you compose your letter, refer to the location they are at. Institution rules vary state by state, and even institution by institution.
Crossword puzzle – This timeless word discovery activity is a great way to break the ice and keep the conversation going. To get started, tear out a page of a crossword puzzle, or make your own. Here is a fun website where you can plug in words to form your own unique puzzle.
Write a riddle – Make a fun riddle for your loved one to solve. This is not only a great ice-breaker, it’s an opportunity to include the family.
Include others – Although it’s not always possibly, it can be incredibly healing and beneficial to include others your loved one knows in your correspondence. When it’s appropriate, have other family members write letters or thoughtful notes of encouragement.
Send family photos – Family photos, sports photos of their children or even class photos are great things to include in your letters. Keep in mind that the content will be screened, so keep the photos appropriate.
Tic-tac-toe or chess – This is a fun way to play with your loved one. In fact, most inmates enjoy playing chess. You can draw a diagram of the game on a paper or perform a play-by-play.
Share stories – Take a few minutes to unlock your creative side with this activity. Everyone likes a story. Think of sharing stories around the campfire or telling stories to your friends. This is a great opportunity, especially if you are having your children write letters to their parent in prison.
Talk about your day – In the midst of the challenges that your loved one is facing, hearing how your day went is often a highlight of their day.
Ask open-ended questions – Your loved one often will need someone to talk to. Open ended questions is a great way for your loved one to process all they are going through. Questions like “how are you feeling” and “what is your favorite hobby right now” are ways to join them in their daily life.
Don’t forget the stamps – purchasing some stamps is a practical way to show you want to hear from them. Buy some forever stamps and envelopes and include them in your next letter. This small act will encourage a line of communication going forward.