How to Help Your Children Create A Lifelong Bond
Is there any better sound than your children happily playing and giggling together? One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is not only our unconditional love and guidance, but a built-in best friend who can love and lend support to them too!
Our siblings are our first friends, vessels of learning empathy and unconditional love, teammates and lifelong confidants. However, sometimes it seems that all our children want to do is to yell at one another and pick fights. Other times they squeeze their younger sibling too tight with an overwhelming surge of love.
Having a sibling or two is a blessing, often we don’t realize it is so powerful until we grow up and move away from our brother or sister. So, how can we as parents ensure that we help our children to create such a strong bond with one another that lasts a lifetime? Here are some ideas that you can implement to help make your children loving and enthusiastically playing with one another an effortless household dynamic.
Ideas To Bond Your Children
1. Share a “Sibling Kindness of the Day” at the dinner table.
It’s common for families to share their highs and lows of their days at the dinner table together, which is important to do. Not only can your children share an accomplishment they are proud of or an exciting event that happened in their day with you and their siblings, but they get to process their unhappy feelings, too! This is a great way for you to stay in the loop with how your children are doing when they are away from you at daycare or at school.
Similar to sharing highs and lows, you can encourage each of your children to share one nice thing that one of their siblings did for them that day. This simple addition to your dinner routine will not only require your children to actively think about all of the nice things their siblings did for them that day, but it will also encourage your children to do kind things for one another over time.
The more your family openly discusses the kind things you all do for one another, the more often your children will think to do kind things for others throughout their day. You and your partner can be a role model by sharing the kind things a family member did for you each day, too!
2. Schedule “Sibling Time” in their daily routine.
Just as independent play is important for your child to have in their daily or weekly routine, one-on-one time playing with their sibling, or activities that require all siblings to play together is important, too.
If you have a monthly calendar or weekly schedule dry erase board hanging up in your home, be sure to write in times where your children should be playing together to communicate that it is a priority. You can even set up fun, safe activities that your children can do together with minimal need for your help or supervision. Try setting up a water park in your backyard, pencil in a silly fashion show or play for your kids to put together themselves and perform for you later, or encourage your older child to teach their younger sibling how to play a sport in your backyard. Making “Sibling Time” a priority for them can help them learn the importance of sibling bonding!
3. Have family game nights with your children as one team.
Family game night, anyone? One of the easiest ways to make your children feel like a team is to provide opportunities for them to create fun memories as a team together!
You and your partner can be on one team, and have your children be on the other team. Family game night can be anything you make of it: Olympic Games in the backyard with DIY team t-shirts, water games in the summer like water balloon tosses, charades, board games, etc. You can even have your children work as a team to think of new games for that week’s game night, further encouraging them to embrace teamwork.
4. Encourage your children to go to each other for support and comfort.
The next time one of your children gets hurt, whether it’s from falling down or feeling upset about not having their favorite foods in the house, of course offer them a big hug or acknowledgement of their feelings, but encourage their siblings to do so, too.
It’s human nature for your children to go directly to you for comfort as their parents, but create an awareness for them at a young age that siblings are also there to give big hugs, encouragement, and help! You can show them this by crouching down to their level, explaining that their older sibling loves them too, give a big hug altogether and ask your older child how they think they could help their younger sibling feel better!
5. Make chores and other activities a team effort.
Sure, it’s important for children to have individual chores that cater to their direct responsibilities and the messes that they create, but try incorporating team cleaning activities on family cleaning days, too. Play some music, set a timer and have your kids clean up the playroom together. You can also create rewards as needed to encourage efficient teamwork!
6. Include your children in planning trips and vacations.
Whenever it comes time for a family local field trip or far away vacation, have your children sit down and work together to come up with ideas of where to go and what to do. Not only will this help give you direction for planning the most awesome family vacation that everyone is guaranteed to enjoy, but it will allow your children the opportunity to brainstorm, negotiate and work together on an exciting project they can proudly present to you once they’ve come to an anonymous decision. This activity also requires them to share their ideas, listen to one another and consider each others’ unique desires and interests!
7. Always have a house project for your children to work on together with you.
Do you have a backyard shed that could use a pop of color? A playroom closet that could use a serious organization makeover? Or just an elaborate holiday dish that you’re known to bring to the family party? Why not encourage your children to become a central part of your fun to-do list? You can teach your children new skills like painting, sorting objects or measuring ingredients while having them work together and help each other out while they help you get things done!
The Importance of Sibling Bonds
While they may not realize it when they are young, your children will have each other for the rest of their lives, so consciously guiding them to form a strong friendship is crucial in their younger years. Reinforce every day that they not only have the adults in your family to go to for love and comfort, but they have their siblings, too!
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