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Skip Navigation LinksKiwanis Kids > Serve > Mentoring > How to mentor

How to mentor

Be a mentoring maniac

Arrive at the school or site and talk to the teacher or site coordinator to learn more about the students. You may learn something interesting to use to start a conversation. It’s also important to understand the age group you’ll be mentoring.

What makes elementary students tick?

Here is a little insight from KIWANIS Magazine about What makes a K-Kid tick? 

How to connect with kids


  • Be yourself. Don’t try to be “cool” or act like a kid yourself. Kids respond to authenticity.
  • Show interest in their interests. What are their favorite music, movies or video games?
  • Let them be the experts. If you don’t understand something they’re talking about, invite them to explain. They love being the teacher.
  • Be patient. Don’t take over as soon as your kids begin struggling with a problem. Offer guidance, but let them try to solve it on their own.
  • A mentor provides guidance and support, but also leads by example. 

Key points to remember when mentoring:


  • Arrive on time.
  • Learn students’ names and use them.
  • Use creative, fun activities to engage students in thinking.
  • Ask students to help you with a project or task.
  • Explain program expectations to students.
  • When you notice students doing something positive, compliment them.
  • Show genuine respect and expect it in return.
  • Talk to students about things you have in common.
  • Listen actively.
  • Talk about people you admire and why.
  • Help students move through frustrations.
  • Follow through on obligations.
  • Help students with decision-making skills.
  • Use several different teaching strategies, such as reading, discussion, hands-on participation or singing.

Mentors benefit from the mentoring experience: 

Research conducted in the field of adult development theory shows that mentors benefit from the act of volunteering in many ways:

  • A feeling of fulfillment.
  • Enhanced reputation in the community.
  • New friends.
  • The opportunity to express creativity.
  • Improved listening and problem-solving skills.
  • A sense of satisfaction from making a positive difference in the world.