Helpful Hints for Mentors
  • Look for and focus on the positive aspects of the child’s life.
  • Communicate your love and acceptance by giving the child focused attention, eye contact and appropriate touch.
  • Use your example as your primary teaching tool. Your words will likely soon be forgotten but your actions, attitudes and values may stay with the child for a lifetime.
  • Use the three “R”s of memory making to give lasting treasures to the child; Routine, Ritual and the Ridiculous.
  • If you are busy, for whatever reason, and cannot have the child visit you for a weekend during a particular month, call the child and communicate your situation.
  • If you cannot make a scheduled visit with the child, call as soon as possible before the anticipated meeting time.
  • Entertaining youngsters is always fun, but mix in the other activities of real life as well. Try to keep a realistic mix in your shared activities. Allow the child to go with you while you run errands, do business, perform chores, work on the car or in the garden, grocery-shopping etc.
  • Allow the child to do some chores around the house. Every child is responsible for completing chores while living on campus. This helps develop responsibility and builds self-esteem.
  • Be patient with the child. Don’t expect the child to warm up to you or share things that are important to them right away. It may take weeks or months before you sense a bonding between you and the child.
  • Be ready for setbacks. Some children may disappoint you. Remember that it is not the child you are disappointed with but his or her behavior. Take into consideration the circumstances that the children have come from and objectives as mentors and staff to help them grow and mature in appropriate behavior.
  • Do establish some guidelines for behaviors that you expect from the child. Be consistent with these guidelines. Allow the child to have some input concerning the guidelines.
  • Children often fail to show proper thanks and gratitude. You are encouraged to help the child learn how to be courteous and use proper manners. Verbal prompts can be helpful.
  • Do practice good listening skills. Focused attention is a powerful way to communicate your love and give the child a sense of his or her value. Children are keenly aware of when they lack your complete attention.
  • Don’t pre-judge the child. Keep an open mind, especially when first getting acquainted with the child. Try to accept the child where he or she is, and focus on the child’s positive aspects.
  • As the relationship develops, do encourage the child to think about him/herself. Plan some goals together for the future.
  • Avoid getting caught in the middle between the child and his/her houseparents, teachers, parents, etc. Do carefully listen to and understand the child’s complaints. Communicate concern for the child but avoid taking sides. Let the child retain ownership of the problem.
  • Relax. Be yourself. The child will appreciate you for who you are and will learn from you because you have taken the time to invest in him/her.
  • If a visit does not go well, try not to take it personally. Take into consideration that a child may be troubled by a crisis in the cottage or a disturbing interaction with his or her family. There are many things outside your control that will affect you relationship with the child.
  • Direct questions and requests for assistance concerning the child that you are mentoring to the child care staff or their supervisors will yield the best results. They want to be of help to ensure a good experience for both you and the child.
If you experience a problem with the administration of the mentor program, please feel free to request a meeting with the Vice President of Children’s Services and/or the President of The Children's Home of Lubbock.  They will be happy to discuss and try to resolve your concerns.