Sibling Rivalry: Creating a Bond – Guest Post by April Paine
I bought the “Big Brother” and “Little Sister” t-shirts, I involved my older child in every step of the pre-baby preparations, and I even planned what our first Christmas card photos would look like. But my son and daughter didn’t get on as beautifully as I imagined. Finally, I put some techniques in place to aid the strong bond I hoped they’d have. Find below some sibling advice that I had to give to myself:
Make a tradition. Whether you always eat Sunday lunch or insist on Family Game Night well into their teens, give your children something to enjoy on a regular basis. A family ritual will strengthen your children’s bond (and their bond to you).
Let them row. And argue. And agree to disagree. Rather than insist that your children be best friends in every situation, accept that siblings squabble from time to time (and sometimes even more often). Remember that it’s not easy to live with someone harmoniously all the time (you may have an argument or two with your partner every now and then??!).
Play sports. Whether it’s family football or rock climbing in pairs, athletics will improve team spirit within the family.
Make them work. Just like athletics breeds teamwork, chores that your children have to complete together will keep them in sync.
Let them laugh at you. Allow your kids to enjoy a chuckle at your expense –maybe not when you’re speaking at The Annual Fete—but enjoy their mutual amusement if you bake a lopsided sponge or when you go on your invariable search for car keys.
Encourage common interests. If your children enjoy a day at the seaside but you and your partner prefer riding bikes down a country lane, give in to the kids’ matching request when possible. Your family will have a nice day, your children will be happy, and the sibling relationship continues to deepen.
Get together with family. The best way to promote future closeness between your children is to show them how it’s done. Invite your siblings and relatives for visits and family teas. Let your kids know how important you regard family and family bonds.
Praise their efforts. They can’t be best mates every day, but when they do share nicely or help each other, commend them for their sibling kindness.
April Paine is an American living in Norfolk with her British husband and often amicable children, Robbie & Jessica. April is the co-author of The ABCs of Baby #2 Tips, Hints & Real Mum Advice for Celebrating the Arrival of Your Second Child, now available on Kindle, itunes and Sony Reader.