Encourage Your Kids to Write Letters Now so They’ll Be Pros at Camp
One of the most positive, unanticipated outcomes of the Covid-19 pandemic is the way that it has made us connect with each other, even if our gatherings are now virtual. So many of us have made Zoom meetings and phone conversations with friends and family a regular part of our days. But there is one more form of communication particularly well suited for children right now: good old-fashioned letter writing.
If you have relatives in a different part of the country or overseas, or kids who shy away from video calls with grandma, a letter is an easy way for them to express their affection from afar. It’s also good practice for the summer. The more your child adds letter writing to their routine, the easier it will be for them to pick up a pen and paper at camp when you will benefit from all their practice during the quarantine. Here are a few ways to make it easy to add letter writing to your child’s weekly routine.
Find fun stationery or make your own
Even adults find it hard to start writing from scratch on a plain piece of paper. So make it easy for novice pen pals with notepads they’ll have fun with. You can take out all of the hard work out with a Mad Lib-style letter, where they only need to fill in a few blanks. Even if you know they can muster a few thoughts of their own, an illustrated letter writing set or personalized stationery will make letter writing more enjoyable. You could even turn their correspondence into an art project, and watercolor postcards before mailing them.
Build it into your routine
You’ve become a professional teacher’s assistant by now, so you’re already well versed in the number of breaks your child needs to get through the school day. Since screens likely fill up the majority of their free time, you could add in one block of time for them to write to someone each day, or at least one day of the week, to help cut down on their screen time.
Provide a prompt
Letter writing is one of the hidden benefits of camp, provided your child actually writes home! Help get them into the spirit by suggesting topics to write about. It could be what they have learned that week, or what they are looking forward to doing when the coronavirus is over. Encourage them to add a question for their recipient to answer, to keep the conversation going.
Show them a sample letter
If your child has never been to camp, they have likely received very few letters aside from birthday invitations, so supply some samples. You could also ask a relative or penpal to mail a letter first to reply to.
Give them all the materials they need
At camp, one of the most useful tools kids can pack is a storage clipboard for stashing stamps, pens, envelopes, and paper. If they don’t already own one or don’t know how to mail a letter themselves, show your child how to address and stamp an envelope and let them enjoy this part of the process too. Go a step further by giving them an address book, and ask them to collect addresses from all their friends and relatives, so you don’t have to do it for them before camp this summer!