During my second pregnancy, all I remember doing was preparing my (then) 2+ years old for his new upcoming role of a big bro. He was quite excited to welcome the new member, who he thought, was going to be his in-house play mate. My son used to be so amused every time I made him feel the little one’s kick in my tummy. Like everyone else in the family, he too was looking forward to welcoming his sibling.
Baffled New ‘Big B’
Soon after my daughter was born, my son (who had just turned 3 then) was in for a surprise (if not shock)! He was not allowed to touch or go‘too’ close to her. The picture that he was conjuring up in his little mind all this while was completely different. There was no ready-made, full time play mate for him, instead there’s this new ‘alien type’ creature, who is latched on to his mamma and sometimes to his granny too! (what breach of trust!)
But sibling bonding with the new born had already started as the new big B would come from time to time to take updates about his sister, checking whether her eyes are open or close- so curious to know more of her and about her!
Sibling Rivalry- Sibling Bonding
I, who never had a sibling, had only heard of sibling rivalry and silently wished, I had a sibling, every time I noticed the strong sibling bonding that my friends or cousins shared with their brothers or sisters. It was after my daughter was born did I realise, what does sibling bonding mean actually. Also, how as the Mamma, I need to help my son and daughter nurture this special bond.
Here are some ways how Parents (especially mums) can strengthen Sibling Bonding
Free Play Time
Once in a while, allow your wee ones to play freely in the outdoors. Just let them enjoy. They will love this time away from all the rules and restrictions. Let them get messy, let them swim together, or how about a pillow fight? Also, the duo would love to watch their favourite movies together. The kiddos most certainly enjoy this time, away from Mommy’s screams and pestering. Just relax and take pleasure in watching your wee ones enjoying each other’s company.
Teach your children to rejoice each other’s success, accomplishments and share their sorrows and pains alike. When the older sibling achieves something, the younger one must learn to praise his efforts and vice versa. The younger ones just love it and feel very motivated when their older siblings compliment them. Similarly, when one is hurt, show your other kid how painful it is for his sibling and that she should take care of her brother and attend to his needs.
Taking them on family outings mean giving them more experiences together. Take them to a park, go for boating or horse riding. Make it a habit to eat one meal together as a family, daily. This is a convenient way of having family discussions and broaching new conversations. Also, once a year family vacation gives the sibling to bond over a new place and new experiences.
Get them board games that both the kids can play together such as carom, Lego, cards etc. Remember to tell your kids, they jointly own the board games and that it is their responsibility to take care of their possessions and maintain them. If the age gap between your kids is over 4 years, you may encourage your older one to teach and assist your younger one in playing these games or even with her homework.
Gift them a pet and ask them take care of it together. Sharing such responsibilities helps in promoting sibling bonding. You will be amazed to find your kids carrying out their tasks together with full zeal.
Birthdays- Yes a big deal!
Teach your kids to look forward to their sibling’s birthday and celebrate the special day. If it’s your younger one’s birthday, encourage your older one to be involved in organizing the party. Seek his suggestions regarding which friends to invite, selecting the theme of the party, buying return gifts etc. Similarly, when it’s your older one’s birthday, your younger one too should take active participation in hosting the birthday party.
Dealing with Sibling Fights
The best way a mom can encourage sibling bonding is by never taking sides, whenever there’s an argument between the kids. Let them sort the issue between themselves. However, if at all, your intervention is required, try to pacify them in the most unbiased manner.
Talk, talk and talk!
Talk to both your children about their individual childhood days, the good habits in each of them and more. By narrating funny tales, positive attributes of one sibling to another, you can only increase their fondness in each other.
Make it or Break it!
A wrong move by the parents can majorly affect the sibling bonding. Don’t exhibit any sign of favouritism. Treat them equally. If one sibling feels that you love her brother or sister more than her, then it affects the relationship between the siblings. They develop an inferiority complex and eventually withdraws herself from her sibling. Honour their individual interests. Spend exclusive time with your children, so that both feel equally loved by you.
Siblings Record Book
Maintain a common scrapbook for your kids. In this book, stick their pictures, their creative work, record their important milestones and also keep a note of important dates. Later, when they flip through the pages of this sibling book, their heart will be filled with pure joy and pride of the memories.
Raising two or more kids has its own share of ups and downs. Differences, jealousy, arguments between siblings are inevitable. But, the best part is , the kids forget soon and don’t drag the issue for long. Soon, they start giggling and hugging each other and even gang up against the mother! After all, siblings are bound by a strong foundation of love and care.
Seeing my wee duo together is a treat to my eyes. How about you? Are there any special sibling bonding activities or tips that you would like to share?