Have you ever said: “Please never put his foot in your mouth” or “Jumping over the baby isn’t a funny game”?
If so, you must be the Mama of siblings. I truly feel that having multiple children is wonderful. But there are certainly unique challenges. One of which is helping to create strong sibling relationships.
I have three little ones in very different age groups: 10 months, 3 years, and 11 years. At times, their bond is … well … strained. They argue, they have trouble sharing, they want to do activities that interest them alone. But – at other times, they are all best buds: laughing, cuddling, and playing together.
My personal goal as a Mama is not to eliminate the arguing and difficult times. I recognize they are going to happen no matter what I do. My goal is to maximize the opposite. I aim to provide activities, games, and time for my wee ones to bond, play, and enjoy each others company.
Here are 5 Activities that Nurture the Sibling Bond.
1. Compete against Mom and Dad
Competition, in general, does not do much for my wee ones bonds.
But… team up and compete against Mom and Dad – and watch those kids unite!
Physical games are ideal – tag, flags, hide and seek, or a water fight. Mom and Dad versus the kids is tons of fun for both sides. A water fight especially may be just be the motivation your kids need to work together – the opportunity to soak their parents!
2. Super Messy Play
One of the main differences in our house between the adults and the children is level of enjoyment out of messy things.
I am all for messes for the sake of fun and learning. But, being completely honest, I would be perfectly fine without participating in ‘slime’, ‘gloop’, or ‘gluck’ activities.
However my kids, I do believe, may perish without being able to get crazy messy. So my wee ones bond over their utter love for playing with (messy and kind of gross) doughs. It doesn’t really matter what their mutual interest is, find whatever it may be for your kids – and jump all over it! Even if it means you have kids with slime in their beds. (I wish I was joking … I have no idea how it got in his bed!)
P.S. Find 10 ways to keep messy play clean so it doesn’t get too out of hand!
3. Make Birthdays a Big Deal
We do big birthdays in our house. Not big in cost or style – just big on celebrating our special birthday boy or girl.
In our house, it is their one very special day to be all about them. They get to choose dinner, games, activities, special snacks, everything! And we aim to spend the whole day making, doing, and being as a family.
Since our focus is on activities and time, we don’t get too much jealousy – as everyone is participating. And since everyone has a birthday, everyone knows they get a special day too. Each brother or sister has a full day to think about and appreciate the birthday boy or girl.
A great boost to sibling relationships.
Get great tips for doing activities with both toddlers and big kids at the same time!
Once a year we do a great big sister and brothers sleep over.4. Have an Annual Sibling Sleepover Party
In our house it takes place on Christmas Eve. It started the very first year Madeline became a big sister. She slept on the floor by Sam’s crib. It has been a much loved family tradition ever since. The kids now all sleep on the floor, snuggled in (and eventually … eventually) sleeping mound.
There is tons of giggling and story telling and snacking that goes on. Including a lot of sneakiness that I pretend not to know about (cookies at 10 o’clock? Just once a year).
This has been such a wonderful bonding tradition for my wee ones.
5. Family Time
Spending time together as a family is a wonderful way for siblings to bond.
Going on outings, having many experiences, and spending lots of time as a complete family (whatever that may look like for you) is important for bonding. It will give your wee ones memories and lots of “remember when!” opportunities. We have many traditions that we do every year in the hopes that when our wee ones get older they will still want to participate in these family outings.
I have realized that arguments will happen and, that just as quickly, the giggles will happen too. And at the end of the day, my three truly do love and care about each other.
Having multiple kids can certainly pose some challenges. And I am sure you say things every day that you never thought you would (“Why is there slime in your brother’s bed?”) But I am so happy that my wee ones have siblings to grow, love, and learn with.