Thoughts from the overactive, engaged minds of the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winnipeg

The Time In-Between Photo

The Time In-Between

by Jane Marion

Making a commitment to mentor a child means a requirement to be as consistent as possible in your outing schedule. Some mentors struggle with how to maintain this kind of frequency when, at times, life can make it hard. Things come up. We know. However, we also know that research says consistency is the key. How do we find a good balance that works for everyone?

What we know from research is that it is the consistency of the contact that matters, even more than the duration. Mentors who tie themselves to thinking that an outing needs to be a ‘super-outing’ of four hours each time may feel like every two weeks is all they can do.

But what about other fun ways to keep in touch between weekly outings? For older youth, texting and email can often create the bridge between outings. For younger kids, this may not be possible. We know that suggesting phone contact is often met with resistance. Kids don’t often love to talk on the phone, calling you can be a challenge and sometimes calling back is hard. Sometimes the pressure to have a dialogue seems off-putting. So why not turn it into a bit of a game. Make it fun! We are all about how to merge purpose and play.

We’re taking a page out of social media and trying to make it analog. All those “Throw Back Thursdays” and “Fun Fridays” we see on Facebook create a sense of consistency and ritual for users. People seem to enjoy these themes. So what would it look like on the phone? Here’s something to try.

Create your own ritual. Make it a goal to try it for few months. See if it helps keep you feeling more connected. Make sure this is the Mentor’s responsibility to call every week, but add a layer by suggesting that the kids can call you too do the same. Maybe you can find a copy of a joke book at a used book store, and provide ample possibilities for times they may want to call but don’t know what to say. Make sure it isn’t overly complicated in order to focus on making it short and easy, and goes just a beyond ‘just calling to say hello.’

Mentors could call every week just to…tell their Little one new joke!

Mentors could call every week to give a #FridayFactoid (of strange and weird trivia)

Mentors could call every week to tell their Little a new brain teaser or riddle to work on

Posted September 22, 2016