Most siblings grow up in the same household, which can mean a shared background and long, strong relationships that last throughout adulthood. Help your children cultivate a loving bond with one another by creating opportunities for your children to care for one another and work toward common goals.
Help One Another
Siblings can do a variety of things to help one another depending on their ages. For example, an older sibling can help put on her younger sibling’s shoes, help with homework or reach for something that is too high. Younger siblings should reciprocate to the best of their abilities. A younger sibling can assist an older sibling by helping clean up his toys or bringing him a cup of water. Small but caring actions can help children develop a lasting sense of concern for their siblings.
Recognizing Acts of Kindness
Promote positive interaction between siblings by recognizing acts of kindness. Write down each child’s name on a piece of paper. Hang the piece of paper on the refrigerator or in another location where everybody can see it. Each time one sibling practices an act of kindness toward another, he earns a star. Point out acts of kindness you recognize, but also let your children point out acts of kindness they witness. When a child earns 10 stars for 10 acts of kindness, he earns a reward. Rewards can be simple, such as choosing what to have for dinner or staying up an extra 30 minutes on the weekend. For older children, make rewards more enticing, such as a later curfew or more time on the computer.
Siblings often fight over chores because one child might feel like she is doing more work than the other. Make your children accomplish a common goal by assigning chores they have to do together, such as doing the dishes, shoveling the driveway or cleaning out a closet. This facilitates positive interaction as they work together toward a common goal. Praise your children as they complete the chore and thank them for making an important contribution to the family.
Allow your children’s relationships to deepen while having fun. Puzzles can encourage children to work together, for instance. Older siblings can take this time to teach younger siblings how to put the pieces together. Reading together also promotes positive interaction. Allow your older child to read to her younger sibling. Also, remember that while kids make a lot of noise when they play together, they are probably having fun. As long as they are safe and getting along, allow your children to get loud and create loving memories.