Five Ways Parents Can Encourage Stronger Sibling Relationships
When you have more than one child, you’re always worried about whether or not your children will get along. You know the value of stronger sibling relationships, and certainly, you want that for your kids, right? A strong bond leads to better familial relations as they grow up, and while fights are inevitable, they will learn to deal with and resolve these through healthier and better ways.
So, how can you, as a parent, encourage your kids to develop stronger sibling relationships? Here are five simple ways to do so:
Help Them Engage in Various Bonding Activities
Children are often eager to play or do something fun — more so when they have someone to do it with. Before anything else, you should first consider the strengths and weaknesses of your children. Find a common ground of interest between them and help them engage in an activity that you know both of them will enjoy. For example, if your children like cooking, you can set aside an afternoon for them to play around in the kitchen, baking cookies or decorating cupcakes. You can even ask them to take pictures of each other, print out the pictures, and hang them up on the wall or display them on the fridge door. Whatever activity it is, your kids will certainly love hanging out together if they both enjoy what you planned for them.
Give Them Some Space For Themselves
While this may seem like the total opposite of what you’re aiming for, giving your kids space for themselves will allow them to develop as individuals. Let them spend some of their free time with their friends from school or even by themselves if they want. Doing so will help them realize their own strengths and potential for a skill or activity without having the pressure of measuring themselves against their siblings’ capabilities — in essence, allow them to celebrate their individuality. Plus, when two siblings spend too much time together, you can expect a fight (or two) to break out eventually.
Don’t Get In Between Their Fights
We don’t mean that you should just sit and watch while your children pull at each other’s hair. You should still be present whenever a fight arises to guide your children on how to resolve the conflict. Be a neutral mediator — never show favorites because it’ll only add fuel to the fire and one of your kids will accuse you of loving them less. Listen to both sides, and then tell them to come up with a compromise or a solution to their squabble. If they handle the situation well enough, praise your children for managing the problem by themselves.
Go on Family Vacations
Always make time for family vacations — whether it’s one big trip at the end of the year or a series of short holidays every few months. It not only encourages siblings to have fun under the sun together but also helps the family re-group and catch up with each other in a more relaxed and soothing environment where they won’t be bored with the same old routine that they follow at home. Because of this freedom, your kids are more likely to enjoy their time together and engage in activities that they mutually find interesting.
Assign Group Chores
This is probably the most basic tip when it comes to encouraging stronger sibling relationships, but it sure does work! Plus, it makes small and menial house chores much more fun and doable for your children, so they won’t feel as if they’re doing housework at all. So, pick simple tasks that your children can do together such as setting up the table for dinner, raking leaves in the backyard, or washing the dishes. They will feel a sense of shared achievement afterward and realize that they can rely and depend on each other.
You can practice these and many other ways to encourage your children to be closer to each other. Even the smallest things can make a huge difference when it comes to the strength of their bond. However you choose to approach it, remember that you should never ever favor one child from the other, and always go for healthy ways that will uplift and keep them happy.
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