The school holidays are in full swing, and my mentee is visiting her family.
It came as a surprise when I learned that the mentees are often still in touch with their families, sometimes staying with them when their schools break for holidays. For students, school holidays mean time off from homework, sleeping in, family trips and endless amounts of playing. For some mentors, the holidays can feel like work, with a sudden need to keep their own kids occupied, but they can also mean a trip somewhere warm, or a planned ‘staycation’ in Cape Town. However, for the youth we work with, school holidays can be a challenging time.
While most young people can’t wait for a break from school, it’s important to remember that it might not always be an enjoyable, positive experience for the mentees. They may even act excited because they romanticise what their holiday will look like and how their parents might act, but it’s important to remember that there are often mixed feelings, sometimes reservations. Maybe they love going home so much that it makes it difficult to leave when they need to come back to the group home. The experience can be an emotionally draining one, and many young people have a hard time understanding just what it is they’re feeling. They may act frustrated, or even shut people out. Maybe they don’t have a family to visit, so they’re feeling a little sad and perhaps lonely in their group home if others have left.
I think it’s important to keep these things in mind during the June holidays. I know it’s made me more aware of how my mentee might be feeling about this time away. I hope we can all take a few minutes to discuss how the holidays were with our mentees, perhaps there’s space to listen to how they’re feeling. And if it’s possible, check in with them throughout the holidays to see how they’re doing. Everyone loves feeling connected.
Thanks for reading,