Ideas for Encouraging Young Siblings to Bond
Why do so many kids view their brothers and sisters as their enemies—and even archnemeses? Are they born with some sort of genetic disgust, or do they learn it from schoolmates? Do they just hate to share Mom? Whatever the cause, there’s no guaranteed cure. But you can make things better. Try these ideas for encouraging young siblings to bond, and one day they might even like each other.
Team Them Up
So many kids’ activities involve competition, but yours already have enough of a sibling rivalry. Try to brainstorm things that don’t involve the words “the best” or “winner.” See if your kids want to build different Lego buildings and put them together as a town. Play musical instruments and video record “the band.” You can even assign the kids to work together on chores. If you have to compete, put siblings on the same team against the grown-ups.
Point Out Role Models
Many young brothers and sisters can’t even imagine a universe in which they’d want to hang out with each other. So, the next time their favorite uncle is over, remind them that he’s your brother and that you once “hated” each other, too. Siblings are built-in home teams who will root for each other throughout life. When you see brothers and sisters who work well together, point it out—even if it’s Elsa and Anna. Or T’Challa and Shuri. Or the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
Few children can resist the lure of a bunk bed; they’re basically sleeping forts. If your kids share a room, they can trade who gets the top and bottom. If you get bunk beds for different rooms, you can suggest “sleepovers” with special activities—just as if they were friends! And you can choose bunk beds that separate into twin beds for when your kids outgrow the concept. Or you can use tents or decorate big cardboard boxes, and suggest overnight fun that way.
Get Them Outside
You may have a million ideas for encouraging young siblings to bond, but if they’ve been cooped up and are getting on each other’s nerves, get them out for some fresh air. The benefits are undeniable—vitamin D, improved motor and sensory skills, an appreciation for the environment—and best of all, they can burn off all that nervous energy. Put them on the same team for a scavenger hunt, collect some insects, or set up an all-natural obstacle course. Sometimes, brothers and sisters need a little extra space, so let them roam free.