Parents with more than one child know all too well the importance of the sibling bond. This is the second most important relationship for your children other than the parent-child relationship. The sibling bond is where children learn how to interact with someone closer to their age before they make friends outside the home.
When a bond is created at a young age, your children become each other's first best friend, and 'partner in crime'. That kind of a bond is not easy to break.
As a parent, there are certain things you can do to nurture the sibling bond in your children.
Don't have a favourite
No one wants to be compared to their sibling. This is because your children have different personalities and interests. Comparison only breeds jealousy, low self-esteem and rivalry.
Instead, make everything equal no matter the age difference or gender. This will teach the children to recognize and appreciate each other's character, among other things.
Supporting their activities and projects
From the very start, parents know the things their children enjoy doing together. From indoor activities such as dancing, art, cooking, sports or building things outside, sibling activities should be encouraged.
This is not only for children of the same gender, your son can have similar interests as those of your daughter. Give your children tasks they can complete together now and then. This will strengthen their communication among other benefits.
The goal is cooperation and not competing against each other lest they develop sibling rivalry before they understand healthy competition.
Praise their joint effort
When the children complete an assigned task, do not make the mistake of praising one more than the other. The compliments should always be equal to encourage them to work together more and make each other better.
On that note, don't criticise them individually, saying one did a better job than the other. When it comes to correcting or disciplining them, make them understand what was wrong. This way, they also learn to become each other's keepers.
Encouraging a healthy emotional bond
Other than sharing the same parents, siblings need to be friends too. Most parents assume siblings are friends because they share parents. This might not be the case at times. Therefore, teach them friendship and love for each other.
Introduce them to children's TV shows that promote positive lessons for them to understand and remember from a young age. Also, as parents, you need to openly express your love for them and towards each other so that they mimic that behaviour.
Encourage respect, trust and communication
Respect starts from home, if children see parents respecting each other, they will learn it and emulate it towards each other. Teaching them how to share things but still have respect for each other's things will promote positive communication skills and trust in each other.
If an outsider tries to fight the children, they will have each other's back because of their bond. The children also learn how to trust each other whether there is trouble or not.
Siblings can have one of the strongest bonds on this planet if guided well from a young age because they share a lot more than just parents-they share memories and experiences.