As a side effect of some volunteering I do, I find myself playing something of an 'uncle' like relationship for some of the children of women I've volunteering with. I love children and am more then happy to play that role, and of course only do so when encouraged to by the parents.
Some of their kids grow attached to me, and as it is now I currently have at least half a dozen sets of kids that look forward to my visits and their parents encourage me to know and be involved with them, acting in something of a quasi uncle like role with the children when visiting. The kids vary in ages, though generally all younger then teens.
I only visit these kids occasionally, Level of contact depends on many things but generally after I'm no longer actively volunteering with them I'll still occasionally visit somewhere between once a month to once every other month.
Many of these kids do not have a traditional father. Most either have a single mother, or two mothers. The father is usually either completely out of the child's life, or plays a minor, and not always positive, role in their lives. Most of the kids are still well adjusted, with two parents that care for them, but I think part of the reason some latch on to me so quickly is because I am a male.
Anyways, I enjoy spending time with and playing with these kids. However, I would love to help encourage the kids in any way I can. I'm wondering if there is anything I can do as an 'Uncle' to help the encourage growth and positive development for the kids; beyond simply playing with them and making them feel important.
Again, the kids are all generally already loved with good parents, in fact it's pretty much guaranteed that the parents are good parents who would raise the children well for me to know the family to begin with. The kids aren't desperate for love or emotional support etc; though occasionally perhaps at least curious about having a male role model (though usually I'm not the sole male role model).
Are there things I can focus on to try to make the most of my limited visits with these kids while I'm with them? Beyond playing and having fun, which is a given, what small things might I try to do to help encourage the children I'm playing 'Uncle' for? Can I really have any impact on them with such infrequent visits, even if they do look forward to them?