Like any relationship, a match between a Big and a Little takes time, energy and dedication to grow strong. The pay off from that initial effort is worth it – research shows that longer, stronger mentoring relationships have a greater positive impact on children. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!
But what steps can you take at your first few outings with your Little, to make the match a success? We recently asked a few of our Bigs to offer advice to new Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Here’s what they said:
Keep it simple.
Kay says: “The best advice is just hang out. It’s not about what you do. It is about being together. Sometimes just experiencing what your life is like with them is something Littles enjoy the most. Some of the best conversations can occur while driving in the car.”
Stick with it.
Pat says: “Early on you might not think you’re making a difference or that the relationship is getting stronger, but it is. Sometimes we all just keep our guard up a bit, and sometimes individuals, maybe especially children toward new adults, don’t show their emotion or gratitude right away. Stick with it. You’re making a huge difference, and that moment when you find out will come, and it’s awesome.”
Barbara says: “Let go of the fantasy of some immediate great bond. Relax and keep showing up even when it’s difficult, and your Little will learn that they can count on you.”
Alex says: “Always come up with multiple ideas of things to do. If you only have one, he/she may have recently done that activity or just doesn’t want to.”
Kelsey says: “Take the time to call weekly or every other week, even if you don’t have plans. Sometimes the conversation can feel one sided, but the fact that you are showing your Little that you are committed and thinking of them regularly helps foster a close relationship.”