You’ve probably already heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” Well, every child needs a mentor from that village. Mentors are a bridge between their education and the world around them. Learning from different sources diversifies their experiences and can help them to love learning even more.
Here’s how you can tell the difference between a mentor and a teacher, and how your child can benefit from having both in their lives.
Mentors vs. Teachers
Having a community of supportive people is crucial for any kid, and teachers are an obvious part of that community. They’re an authority figure who encourages your child and helps them grow, and they do almost all of the traditional elements of your child’s education. Plus, teachers help foster a community of peers for kids.
Where teachers often go broad, mentors go deep. The focus is on just one child with a mentor, vs. teachers who may need to look after classrooms of 20-40 kids. That means a mentor helps with your child’s personalized education. A teacher can’t adjust a lesson plan for one child, but a mentor can. They’re both essential to your child’s education.
You might consider your child’s coach to be a mentor if they play any sports, or the supervising adult in other extracurricular activities. It may be their job to teach your child how to play the sport, but it’s the coaching relationship that makes them a mentor.
Encouraging Your Child’s Passions
One of the best ways to help kids to love learning is to encourage their passions. Parents can do that by showing interest in what excites them, and by setting them up with activities to further explore their passion. But every child needs a mentor who can show them how those passions can be useful and fulfilling.
If your child joins the boy scouts or girl scouts, you might consider their scout leader to be a mentor. They can introduce your kids to plenty of fun and rewarding activities, from arts & crafts to archery.
Personalized Goal Setting
From our first puzzles to our first New Year’s resolutions, working to achieve goals can improve our habits and skills. But for your child to get personalized, tailored goals set, they need a mentor, vs. a teacher who has to create goals for the class as a whole.
Teachers often get to know your child as an individual and can help set some personal goals, too. But when it comes to individualized attention and follow-through, children need the attention of a mentor who knows what level they’re starting at and how to grow past it.
Action Plans Developed from Experience
You don’t have to be building a career to recognize the value of action plans and long-term goals. If you need the whole class’s lesson plan, ask a teacher, vs. a mentor who can help you enhance your child’s education plan.
Mentors can also help your child plan and execute extracurricular projects for further education and enrichment. There are many things children can learn and figure out on their own, but every child needs a mentor to help them figure out exactly what they want to do and how to achieve it.
The parent-child bond is paramount for nurturing and emotional support. But you can’t be there for your child all the time. That’s where a wider network of support comes in. For instance, if your child is struggling at a subject in school, it may help for them to talk it over with a mentor, vs. a teacher, who may not have the time to individualize their lesson.
A mentor is also someone who understands the difficulties of your child’s passion. No matter how much you love something, there are aspects of everything that can be hard. A mentor can talk them through the frustrations while still encouraging their passions.
Positive Role Models
Nobody can replace the model you provide for your children and the lessons parents have to teach them. But your kids can benefit from having more than one or two role models. This is where both a mentor and teacher come in, as knowledgeable authority figures who can set positive examples for your child’s outlook and behavior.
For the first months of their lives, babies have all their needs taken care of. As they grow into toddlers, every child needs mentors to show them how to interact with the world.
find community with Hello Genius
You can find mentors (and teachers) for your child with the parent community on Hello Genius. This app-based platform is a safe place for your child to discover what they love, and for you to find parents and children with similar interests. It also gives you an in-depth understanding of what inspires your child and personalized suggestions for activities to encourage their creativity.
Once your child has started finding their passions, the app can connect you with the parents of other children nearby who share those interests. Try Hello Genius free for 30 days.