The arrival of a new member into the family can cause the family dynamics to shift to a great extent. Your older child may feel overshadowed by the little one’s presence, and this makes the transition much more difficult for them.
Every parent needs their children to have a good sibling relationship. Luckily, there are several things parents can do to foster a strong bond between their children and reduce conflict and rivalry. Parents can encourage kids to do activities together to build teamwork and give their little ones the required tools to deal with conflicts in a constructive manner. But that’s not all. Below, we list down 10 tips that you can follow to foster a good sibling relationship right from the start.
1. Start Before The Baby Is Born
Springing the news of a baby on your little one won’t do you or your family any good. Instead, give them some time to adjust to this news by having a talk beforehand. Discuss the benefits of having a sibling and let them know that your attention will be divided between them since the baby will be too young to care for itself. Have an open discussion about the changes, and make sure to let your child know how much you love and care for them. Be open to answering all the questions and concerns that your child may have in the best way possible.
2. Involve Your Child In Baby Shopping
The last few months can be all about the baby — buying diapers, baby clothes, making room in the closet, checking for hand-me-downs, and setting up the nursery. This can make your older child feel neglected and harbor negative feelings even before the baby is born. One way to help your child feel comfortable with all the changes is by involving them in the process. When picking a theme or color for the nursery, consider their opinion. You could also take them along when shopping for baby clothes and ask for their opinion. This will not only help them feel involved but get them excited for the baby’s arrival.
3. Encourage Your Older Child To Take Up Some Responsibility
Whether it is amusing the baby during diaper changes, singing a song during nap time, or simply helping the mommy with some assistance when needed, it will help your older child feel more involved as you tend to the baby. Spending time with the baby and watching them smile or laugh in response will help them bond with the baby.
4. Do Not Compare Your Kids
Did you enjoy it when others did it to you? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that comparing kids is bad parenting and a sure shot way to build resentment among kids. By comparing your kids, you are pitting them against each other. So, be mindful of how you speak about them to each other. Avoid saying things like, “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” or “Your brother doesn’t argue with me so much.”
5. Understand The Reason Behind Their Conflicts
There could be several reasons why siblings fight with each other, the reasons being more diverse than you imagine. Kids can pick a fight when they are looking for the other person’s attention; it could be because they are bored or when they are both competing for your attention.
If you pay attention, you will likely see a pattern behind this behavior, which will help you address those issues and minimize such squabbles. For example: If your children tend to fight when they want attention from the other, you could teach them some non-agonizing ways to grab the other person’s attention.
6. Help Them Embrace Each Other’s Differences
Each child is different and unique in their own way. You might have a child who likes nothing more than to sit and read, while the other child may like loud music or playing video games. When their interests and temperaments are different, it may naturally lead to conflicts. Teach your children to respect those differences and find ways to do things that can work for both of them. They could either take turns or find other activities that can be fun for both.
7. Build Teamwork
Assign them chores that require teaming up. You could ask them to clean their closet, garage or help out with washing the dishes. Make sure to give them chores that are appropriate for their age. Doing chores together is a great way for them to bond and learn to work as a team.
8. Prioritize Family Bonding
Explain to them why sibling relationships are important and the bond they share with their siblings is one that will stay forever. Sure, there are going to be times when they would prefer the company of their friends over siblings, but helping them realize that a strong sibling bond is unmatched is worth repeating every now and then. Your kids may be too young to understand it now, but they will learn to understand as they grow older.
9. Teach Them How To Respectfully Disagree
Disagreements are bound to happen, but it’s how we deal with them that matters. Help them understand that even though they may not always agree on things, physical fighting, name-calling, and using words as weapons is not the way to go.
10. Make Things Fun For Them
If your kids share any common interests, make sure you arrange activities that they love. This will ensure that they have fun and are less likely to have conflicts.
It’s normal for kids to squabble and argue every once in a while. But with the right upbringing, you can ensure that your kids grow to love and cherish their bond when they are adults. Apart from following these tips, it is also important for parents to build a strong bond with each child to help them know that they are loved and cared for.
Did you find our article helpful? What are some of the things you do to encourage good sibling relationships? Comment below and let us know.