12 ways grandparents can be everyday mentors

January is National Mentoring Month. The National Mentoring Month website provides oodles of information and plenty of reasons why mentoring matters, noting that — to name just a few — kids with mentors:

  • have better school attendance, better attitudes about school and a better chance of going on to higher education;
  • are 46 percent less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27 percent less likely to start drinking;
  • and have reduced depressive symptoms — "a particularly noteworthy finding given that almost one in four youth reported worrisome levels of these symptoms at baseline."

To be a mentor "...you don't need special skills, just an ability to listen and to offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person," the site states.

I'd say that's pretty much what grandparents do on a regular basis.

For more concrete direction on mentoring your grandchildren, though, consider the following:

grandparents as mentors

12 ways grandparents can be everyday mentors

■ Share knowledge and life experiences.

■ Provide guidance and advice.

■ Listen, showing genuine interest in questions and concerns.

■ Inspire.

■ Offer encouragement.

■ Be open and honest.

■ Help set goals.

■ Coach new skills.

■ Support new interests and efforts.

■ Discuss educational opportunities.

■ Explore different careers, regardless of how unrealistic they may seem.

■ Provide and help identify resources that support interests, goals and dreams — books, classes, websites, outings and experiences.

The official slogan for the 2014 National Mentoring Month is, "Be someone who matters to someone who matters." As a grandparent, you're already that for your grandchildren. If you're interested in being that for someone else, too, through mentoring, find out how to get started here.

Today's question:

Whom do you mentor most often — whether child or adult, relative or not?