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importance of building sibling connections early on
Last week, the Chai Mommas celebrated an Indian holiday called Raksha Bandhan that essentially celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. Specifically, we each tied a rakhi (a friendship bracelet) on our brothers and male cousins, wishing them great success and happiness in their lives and in return they promise to always be there for us and protect us. The knot on the rakhi is symbolic of the strength between siblings, a bond between a brother and sister that strengthens with each tie, each year and each phase of life.
And although this is a tradition that we have in common because of our cultural heritage and upbringing, we felt that it was important enough to share with all of our readers since it’s so crucial to build sibling connections, no matter if it’s between brothers, sisters or both…and from the beginning. Sibling relationships provide a significant source of continuity throughout a child’s life and are one of the longest relationships that most people experience.
Teaching this at an early age, the idea of strength and love in sibling relationships, carries into the “threads of friendships and partner relationships in the future“.
We’re hoping that our children learn from us what it means to be a good sister. And that from their dads they firsthand see the importance of being good brothers. We’re hoping they see the mutual love and respect between their parents and all their siblings and cousins….and their entire family. If your children are raised to be confident and know that no matter who they are, no matter who they aren’t, no matter what they do and no matter what they don’t do…that their sibling will love them unconditionally and forever, then they have an amazing basis for a strong relationship with one another.
We’re not naive enough to believe that celebrating this holiday once a year created the bonds that we share with our brothers and cousins and even sisters, but we each feel that it served as a significant basis for the strong relationships we have with our siblings today. And each year, we can take time to reflect on that bond.
And so with that, we invite all of you to celebrate in this tradition or create one of your own with your children. We’re thankful our parents did…we know one day your children will thank you too.
Here are some ideas for traditions to help your little ones (or even you) get started…
- Have your child make a card for their brother/sister/cousin on a specific day every year that symbolizes why that year was so special between them.
- Have your child work with you to frame a picture of him or her with his/her siblings/cousins that represents fun memories of their past year together.
- Get your child in the kitchen and work together to bake siblings/cousins their favorite baked goods, on the same day each year.
- Encourage or make it possible for your children/their cousins to spend the day together doing an activity or going somewhere fun…make it an annual tradition. (Or adults…go somewhere with your siblings that reminds you of your childhood.)