Beat the ‘iso’ blues in ways old and new

Post a proper letter to the grandkids for a coronavirus lift. (iStock)

Carole Levy

Grandparents all over the country must be mighty happy that they live in the era of FaceTime and Zoom, what with the pandemic lockdowns and ‘iso’. Although not able to wrap their grandkids in big hugs, they can at least see and talk to their favourite small people, writes Carole Levy.

It seems, now, a bit scary to think that people going through the same quarantine restrictions during the 1918 Spanish flu had no technology to maintain contact, with even (rare) phones often restricted to emergency calls.

But they did write letters. It turns out that this disappearing art of “talking on paper” is a terrific partner for our tech contact with the grandies.

In fact, there’s more than one way to keep in dynamic, loving contact with them – and they’re ways that are guaranteed to bring lots of smiles, with neither much talent nor effort required.

Here are a couple to think about:

1. Write a letter

Post your letter in a large envelope, addressed to your grandchild’s name, and enclose a bundle of smaller unsealed envelopes with an A4 sheet of paper inside each, stamped and addressed to you.

Kids love getting letters. And if you make it easy on them (and their parents), you’ll receive back letters – or pictures – from them. They’re great grandma-type keepsakes, and whacked in a scrapbook, could mark the ‘season of COVID-19’ in years to come. And kids say the funniest things so imagine the laughs come their 21st birthdays.

2. Direct a movie

Nothing fancier than a smartphone or iPad is required, and directorial talent is optional. The point is to give the grandkids a glimpse into your life during enforced separation, by simply filming yourself or another as you/they go about the day.

It might be grandpa in his garden, or tinkering in his shed, or grandma doing her morning crossword or picking herbs for the night’s dinner. Choose small vignettes, stopping and starting wherever, but keep up a running conversation about what’s happening in front of you.

Kids will find it a) hilarious; b) heartwarming; or c) be inspired to return the favour. And, again, a wonderful chronicle of family life.

Old-fashioned and new-fangled: both great, like anything done with love. Coronavirus will pass, but the need for meaningful communication is forever.