Sibling bonds built on love and mutual understanding last a lifetime. Still, encouraging that closeness amidst inevitable rivalries takes effort from parents. While some siblings are incredibly close and form bonds that last a lifetime, others are like chalk and cheese.

Personality plays a big role in whether siblings get along, but there are things you can do to help encourage a closer bond between siblings in your family.

Model Positive Relationship Behaviours

As parents, the way you interact with your own siblings gives your children an example to follow. Demonstrate affection, resolve conflicts respectfully, and support each other during difficult times. This lays the groundwork for your kids to get along. Some ideas to help this process along include:

  • Schedule video calls or visits with your brothers/sisters so your children can witness healthy sibling interactions.
  • Reminisce fondly about childhood memories you share.
  • Ask siblings for advice and reassure them when they need encouragement.

These techniques apply to your own children as well as any others you care for, such as if you are fostering siblings.

Foster 1-on-1 Connections

It’s important for each child to feel valued as an individual and have some solo time with mom and dad or foster carers. Separate outings allow you to focus on their unique personalities and take an interest in their personal likes and dislikes. Meanwhile, siblings left at home get the rare chance to play independently without mediation. This helps them bond in pairs or as a group.

Sibling Bonds

Encourage Open Communication

Create an environment where your children know they can confide worries without judgement. Shared problems can unite siblings, so don’t discourage tattling. Instead, teach them to speak up if someone (including each other) makes them uncomfortable. Lead by example in having calm discussions to solve disagreements. They’ll learn to express their feelings and compromise rather than take frustration out on each other.

Involve Older Siblings in Caregiving

Children often resent younger siblings for stealing mom and dad’s attention. Combat jealousy by giving them age-appropriate caretaking tasks. This helps them feel pride and connection as a family unit. It also teaches patience, empathy, and responsibility. Have them:

  • Read bedtime stories.
  • Help pick out outfits.
  • Push prams whilst supervised.
  • Entertain babies with silly antics.

Allow Independence Whilst Limiting Favouritism

Sibling Bond

It’s normal to relate better to one child than another sometimes due to shared gender or interests. Be mindful not to cause division by overtly playing favourites. Make sure all siblings get equal time, affection, and opportunities. If one child develops an extremely close bond with their sibling, suggest independent play dates to allow a healthy amount of separation.

Overall, the key is finding balance between family activities and 1-on-1 time so no single child feels excluded.

Manage Competition

A little friendly competition over grades, sports, or video games is normal. But left unchecked, competing for parental praise can breed resentment between siblings. If the competition gets heated:

Compromise may be difficult, but parents can teach siblings to resolve conflicts in a mutually considerate way.

Try the above techniques to help your children form closer bonds with their siblings.

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