As mentors with school-based programs, we become accustomed to having a variety of breaks in the mentoring schedule like school holidays and summer breaks. As we’ve often learned and discussed in Seedling trainings, it’s essential to re-establish a connection and return to regular visits as soon as possible after one of these breaks. We know that children thrive on structure and regular schedules, which is why we encourage mentors to establish consistent routines with mentees. To this end, your Mentor Director is working hard to reconnect you as quickly as possible.
What can you do to re-establish the trusting relationship you have built over the last year or years? Do you and your mentee share established rituals? Revisiting established rituals such as sharing what each did the previous weekend to kick off each visit can be a great way to reconnect. This ritual allows both the mentee and mentor to think about and prepare for what they’re going to share with each other. Mentors who end their visits by asking their mentees what they want to do the next time give children some power in the relationship and something positive to look forward to. Mentors can come up with a variety of different rituals to share with their mentees, or they might ask their mentee what traditions they would like to come up with together. Take advantage of the new start after the summer break to create new rituals and new memories together.
It is always a good idea to come back from any break, no matter how long it has been, ready to have fun! Researchers Tom Keller & Renee Spencer found that “mentors who expected to enjoy fun activities, had longer lasting matches than those who wanted to focus on things like achieving goals or developing a meaningful bond or connecting around intellectual interest.” Seedling’s Current Mentors page has numerous activity ideas to choose from to keep your visits fun and engaging.