6 tips on building a sibling bond
Raksha Bhandan, which in our culture is a celebration of love and bond between a brother and sister. This got to me thinking about how lucky my kids are to have a close bond with one another. I am an only child and growing up it was hard being the only “one.” People used to say, “Oh you are so lucky you have no brother or sister to fight or share things with,” or they would say, “Oh you must be spoiled because you are the only child!” At the time it didn’t really phase me, but after awhile it started to bother me. I can honestly tell you I disliked being an “only child.” I wished I had a brother or sister to share things with and I definitely was not spoiled. Actually, it was quite opposite my parents were really strict. Yeah there were times I got what I wanted but my parents made me work for it, it was just not given to me. This is what inspired me to write this post on the bond of siblings and how important it is to keep it going throughout their whole lives. Of course as parents we can only do so much and then it is up to them, but here are a few tips on helping push them in the right direction.
- Nurturing your kids is something that comes naturally to all parents. But sometimes you have to step aside and have them figure it out on their own. Encouragement and guidance will help push your children in the direction you want them to go.
- Each child is different! It is hard at times, but you have to remember each of children are individuals. My two oldest kids are day and night. Yes one is a boy and one is a girl, but it’s not just their gender difference that makes them unique. Yes, there may be similarities in your children, but you cannot expect any two to be exactly alike. As parents, you have to try your hardest to look at them individually, and praise them individually. No child likes being compared to their sibling(s).
- If there is a conflict, have them talk it out themselves. You don’t always have to get involved. If they are able to talk out their feelings with one another this helps them connect and understand each other. Have them use words such as “You hurt my feelings because…” or “I do not like it when you… it really hurt my feelings.” Using words like this helps the sibling understand what they have done. And of course do not forget to tell them to say, “ I am sorry for…“Sorry is a comfort word and everyone wants to hear it after being hurt by someone they love.
- Emphasize the positive! When they are playing together very well or working together on a puzzle, acknowledge it! You can say, “ I love the way you guys are playing nicely together, or, “I love how you are sharing.”This is encourages them and makes them realize it’s not that bad playing with their sibling! 😉
- Make it a point at least once a week to create that special sibling time. At least once or even sometimes twice a week I have my kiddos play with one another (and I know its tough because they are 6, 4, and 15 months old), but I make them chose one thing that ALL of them can participate in. For example, water play outside, or just being outdoors together, or the older one reading a story to the little ones.
- Have them take turns playing activities that can often be favored more by one gender than the other. I have two girls and one boy. We have a lot of princesses and dolls in our home, but also a lot of cars and superhero toys. We make it a point to let our kids know that it is ok to play with something that their gender may not normally feel comfortable playing with. For example, the other day my son asked my daughter to play superheroes and my daughter said “NO!” After a little while she came around and said, “Fine, I will play with you as long as I can be a girl superhero.” After that my son told my daughter, “Since you played super heroes with me I guess I will play dolls with you, as long as I can name the doll!” It made me so proud to see them compromise with one another. Teaching your child to play with all kinds of toys teaches them to be open-minded and not judgmental!
I hope these tips help! Remember it is important to build your children’s sibling bond. They may not appreciate it now, but when they get older they will remember these fun filled memories they have with one another and it will give them something to bond over for the rest of their lives. And hopefully, they will pass it on to the next generation! 🙂
Photo taken by: Tracy Van Dam www.tvdfotos.com