How to foster sibling bonding?

Someone once told me that the best gift I could ever give my daughter is a sibling….

super excited sisters

I could not agree more!!

It has been such a blessing to watch my two girls grow together and create an unbreakable bond. Coming from a childhood with undeniably strong sibling relationships that have now grown into adult relationships with my siblings that are even stronger, I know how special and important a sibling bond can be.  I knew that I wanted that for my children also.

Responsibly, there are MANY things to consider prior to growing your family. Very important things such as timing, finances, childcare, lifestyle, and wether or not having a child is a commitment you are willing to make. It is a HUGE decision that is life altering, yet it is the most rewarding thing to be a parent. Your heart will grow and love more than you ever thought possible. While making the decision to have one child is no small feat, making the decision to have a  second, or a third child is no less. There are still many things to consider prior to making the decision to have more children.

There are both pros and cons (finances come to mind) to gifting a sibling to your child. The many, many, positives and possible lifelong opportunities of having a sibling outweigh the negative substantially.

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Let’s start with what having a sibling will create for your first little one.

So say you and your partner have made that decision to give your child a sibling…. you may be wondering what is at stake? In what way will this affect my first child? How will he/she take to having a sibling? What if they don’t love each other? Is this the right decision for my family? How can I, as the parent, foster a healthy sibling relationships?

Well, to start with #growingupwithsiblings allow your child to constantly practice life long skills and place them in situations that otherwise may be dependent upon outside opportunities and circumstances not always applicable or granted. Siblings provide your child with their first peer group. This is where they will learn social skills and how to manage conflict. Sibling relationships also develop critically IMPORTANT and POWERFUL roles that will serve them well over the course of their lifetime.

happy screaming kids sisters giving sass

As parents, we may often worry when our children fight, argue, make mistakes, or misbehave. This is natural AND normal. 

Something to remember from the Parenting with Love and Logic toolkit…”The road to wisdom is paved with mistakes.”

You may wonder how much fighting is “too much” fighting. Think of these fighting moments as learning opportunities for your children… the will learn how to negotiate, how to play, how to share, how to be a companion and it will ultimately influence who they become as adults.

Parenting tips to help foster healthy and strong sibling relationships:

  • notice activities that get your children to play together
  • promote those activities that they can do together
  • don’t interrupt happy play- when they are playing well #letthembe
  • induce oxytocin into their play with laughter, being outdoors, dancing (we love a good dance party), singing, being goofy, family board games
  • designate a block of time each day for your children to play together
  • Include in the bedtime routine a chance for your children to say goodnight and I love you to each other (we do goodnight kisses and hugs)
  • support nurturing of one another if someone gets hurt or needs help😚

Scared of “sibling rivalry”?

Sibling rivalry is a real thing. It can be seen as jealousy, fighting, teasing, competition, disagreements or more. It can show up in many ways and it is important to watch and take notice of any rivalry cues as early as possible to intervene with strategies. Some potential influencers of rivalry may be birth order, jealousy over parents or toys,  a child’s personality, or insecure parental attachments. It could also be something a little more temporary such as being tired, not feeling well, or trying to get the parents attention.

mad face little girls

Always take into consideration what the root of the cause of the rivalry is prior to trying to reduce or eliminate it. It could also be that they just need a little space. Just like adults, children are their own individuals too and sometimes just need a little time to themselves. This is good for the development as well. “Boredom” leads to creativity and the building of the imagination. Give your child some space and alone time and you will be amazed at how well they can transition into play with their sibling after.

Reduce or eliminate rivalry

There are things that you can do to prevent or reduce sibling rivalry such as spending one on one time with each child to secure the parental attachment.  It is important that your child knows that they are loved unconditionally whether another baby comes along, or not. This will directly impact their lives and relationships with anyone in their future.

Another important note it not to compare your children. That goes for not comparing them to each other just as well as to your friends children. Each child is different and unique requiring their own special doses of love and discipline. Do what works best for you and each child. No one child will need or want the same things. Parenting is no “one size fits all” experience.

Comment below or find me on Instagram and let me know… Which of these do your children do? Which tip will you try to encourage in your children? How have your sibling relationships influenced your life? Was this helpful?

Published by

Marissa Almond

Born and raised in Northern California moving to Southern Utah in June. Football Wife, Mother of two, Elementary School Teacher, and lover of all things chocolate. I'd love to hear from you. Contact me via email, Facebook, Twitter @marissa_almond, or instagram @lady_almond.