In the first year of friendship, matches should be getting together 2x/month for 2-4 hours. We often discourage higher frequency of outings to ensure that matches establish a routine that is sustainable for the long-term. Short periods of increased frequency can be confusing and set unrealistic expectations. If your match is not meeting these parameters, Bigs and guardians should be speaking with their Match Support Coordinator to discuss what’s realistic and expected for your match.
After the first year, 2x/month is still recommended, but providing consistency is the top priority. If outing frequency needs to be lowered, Bigs, Guardians and Littles should discuss why and what that looks like.
When it comes to choosing the activity idea, there are a variety of strategies you can use.
Bigs and Littles can create a bucket list of activities that they are excited to do together. This list should be approved by the guardian and include a variety of low-cost and/or free activities. Your Match Support Coordinator can help provide several activity list ideas to get you started with this.
Choose items from your bucket list randomly (use a jar or box to randomly pull out activity ideas).
Bigs and Littles can take turns choosing activities on a rotating schedule. Bigs and Littles should choose outings approved by guardian, are within the general comfort zone of their Big/Little and cost appropriate.
Utilize community resources to attend a more date-specific event that is of interest to your Big/Little. (Link for activity guide?)
Bigs and guardians can work together to come up with three appropriate outings for Little to choose from. Providing specific activity choices can often be more effective for kids than an open-ended question of “what do you want to do?”
Sometimes what initially works for planning and outings may need to be changed as your Little gets older. It’s possible that your Little’s interests will change as they age, so revisiting the bucket list and overall outing expectations can be beneficial.
For older matches, there can also be a transition from formal, planned outings to more general “hang out and talk” outings. These less formal planned outings can be just as successful and fun as activity focused outings.
It’s ok to repeat activities! If you and our Little love a specific activity, embrace and foster that interest. Match Support can also help strategize about how to foster CURIOSITY and new activities while maintaining some familiar outings.