We understand that you have a super busy life. Friends, school, work, and other obligations make it hard to find time in the day to fit in something like mentoring your younger siblings. However, something that will help them grow into the best person they can be will certainly be worth your time. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take a huge time commitment. Not even a whole day! Here are a couple of suggestions to find some time to mentor:
In the car. There will be car rides where you and your sibling are stuck with each other. They will have nowhere to go and no way to escape you. Even if all you do is complain about your parents’ taste in music together, you are forming a bond. They may be more willing to open up when it is not a face-to-face discussion. That makes car rides the perfect time to talk to them about what is going on in their life, and possibly offer some positive words or suggestions to help them through a tough time.
During a physical activity. Do you play a sport? Try to include them when you need practice. You can have a great conversation while shooting hoops or playing catch. Even if it is just talking a walk around the block with the family dog, give it a try. Physical activity is a great way to bond with a younger sibling. Keep in mind that they may just be learning the motor skills involved in a sport, so try to take it easy on them!
At the table. Is there a time of day when the two of you are sitting at the table together? It doesn’t even have to be a meal. If you’re making yourself a snack, invite them to join you. Try to engage them in conversation while you’re sitting together.
Watching television or playing a game. Take turns watching favorite programs or playing games and find out what interests them, even if it is babyish or lame. Find out what they like about it. You might be surprised to see that you have similar interests and can help steer them toward something that you may both like.
If you are going out with friends and it is an activity that your sibling might enjoy, consider including them. Be sure that it is age appropriate. They will think that they’ve died and gone to heaven when they get an invitation to hang out with the cool kids. It is a great opportunity to show them how you act away from your parents and home. All of these suggestions are in your day to day life and won’t take up too much of your time. Your little brother or sister will be delighted to see that you care enough to learn more about them or to help them with something. Never underestimate what a few moments out of your day will mean to them. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask them a specific question like what their favorite activity is at school or to name the most interesting thing that happened to them that day. All you have to do after that is listen—really listen—to their answers.
What do you think of our list? Did we miss anything?