8 Valuable Tips To Strengthen Sibling Bonds

9 min read

Last Modified 2 August 2023 First Added 23 May 2023

A sibling is likely to be one of the closest relationships many of us have during our lives, and parents play a big role in helping to nurture this bond.

While helping your children get along may feel like a constant challenge, there are many beneficial ways to encourage siblings to love and respect one another and reduce those niggling arguments!

With these 8 valuable parenting tips, you’ll see a stronger bond flourish between your children. Get ready to sit back and relax, as you watch them enjoy supporting each other and grow together!

Tip 1: Find the root cause of any issues

If arguing between your children has become a regular occurrence in your home, you’re probably trying to understand why and how to stop it!

Fighting between siblings is common and takes place around the world, leaving many parents frustrated and tired. Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

In the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, Professor David Isaacs explains how “sibling rivalry is a nearly universal human phenomenon”, that every family experiences in some shape or form. Isn’t that music to your ears? It can often feel like it’s just your children!

Speaking to your children is often the best way to understand the root cause of conflict. Whether it’s a simple resolution or an issue with more depth, communicating with a gentle tone is a great way to start. Gauge the situation and alter your approach to best suit each child.

Whether that means talking one-on-one or coming up with solutions together, getting to the bottom of the issue is the most effective way to connect with your children and resolve sibling conflict.

Tip 2: Appreciating each child

All your children are uniquely special and comparing them can lead to rivalry and low self-esteem.

All children are different. It is normal and should be celebrated! Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all the same?

Although you mean no harm, it’s easy to overlook how making comparisons between your kids, such as “I wish you were as academic as your brother” could be fuelling sibling rivalry.

Children love to please their parents and make them proud, so choose to honour each child’s personal achievements rather than compare. In the long run, this could reduce unnecessary competitiveness and jealousy.

Strive to create a loving and peaceful environment allowing siblings to appreciate each other’s individuality in harmony. How blissful does this sound!

child holding baby on the floor

Tip 3: Encourage teamwork

Teamwork is a great way to build a healthy, fun environment where siblings enjoy spending time together and completing projects. Incorporating activities into your daily routine is a simple way of encouraging siblings to bond as they must work on the same team!

Putting away the food shopping, walking the dog or clearing up after dinner can provide a special time for siblings to work towards a common goal, have a laugh and strengthen their relationship.

You can even make those tasks you dread an exciting team job for your children. How many clean t-shirts can you fold together? How big of a pile of leaves can you rake together? Other options may be imaginatively using items from the toy collection, or introducing something new, to get everyone working together – use football toys to work together to  ‘beat the keeper’, how about adults vs kids teams on a board game, helping each other with a construction set or maybe it’s time for that first, big or complex LEGO project.  There are endless opportunities to encourage teamwork!

Tip 4: Making time for fun

Having quality family time is incredibly important to establish great sibling bonds. Choosing fun activities the family can participate in will offer positive experiences for siblings to enjoy together.

Taking trips and holidays away from home is also a fantastic experience for siblings to connect over. We all have fond memories of childhood holidays or adventure days out.

Impromptu picnics, camping trips or visits to the beach offer the excitement and adventure that kids crave! Those exciting moments of exploration, the possibility of mischief and a newfound sense of independence with your siblings by your side – it’s the perfect recipe for a healthy sibling relationship.

You don’t have to go away to enjoy quality family time. Make the most of your garden or the local park and encourage your kids to bond over outdoor adventures. From bikes to slides, swings to scooters, there’s endless fun to be shared with outdoor toys.

two children having a pillow fight on a bed

Tip 5: Keep it cheery

There are many benefits to enjoying oxytocin-inducing activities as a family and fitting these into your daily routines is easy and fun!

Something as simple as sharing a joke and laughing together will promote these hormones, allowing your children to associate those positive feelings with their siblings.

Reducing stress and strengthening relationships, are other benefits when incorporating these feel-good moments into your children’s lives. Oxytocin plays a vital role in promoting factors that enhance well-being, providing a perfect time to improve sibling bonds. Find more about Oxytocin and its role in well-being through the National Library of Medicine.

Why not try dancing, singing, roleplaying, or exploring the outdoors this week and discover the benefits this has for improving the quality of your children’s relationships. Explore our range of home role play toys to inspire you.

Tip 6: Practising respectful disagreements

Children are not always going to agree with each other, and that is okay! As they are growing up, becoming more independent and forming their own views, being able to politely disagree is a great skill for kids to learn.

Having a different opinion should be empowering, but it’s important to execute it respectfully. Our children will most likely experience this for the first time with their siblings. A great place to practice these valuable skills is while playing a card or board game, where discussions and opinions are likely to arise.

Parents can lead the way and show their children how to react respectfully. Taking an interest in their opinions and allowing others to finish talking before responding demonstrates a positive way to interact with their siblings when they disagree.

Doing this over family activities will allow them to practice thoughtful and polite responses as well as establish them as great listeners – and who doesn’t love a good listener?

Brother kisses sister on the cheek.

Tip 7: Raising great listeners

In a busy family home, it’s easy to get lost in the noise of everyone’s day! It’s important to listen to each other and create a space where everyone is heard. Showing your kids the value of listening to their siblings and allowing them to share their thoughts and feelings – no matter how big or small – will be beneficial as they begin to socialise outside of your home.

Establishing these skills with their family and learning not to talk over their siblings is a great starting point.

Why not practice this around the dinner table? Bond over a delicious meal and learn more about each other’s days. Encourage your kids to share a fun activity they did, listen to what others say and respond thoughtfully.

Having this quality time with their siblings will help them strengthen their bond and develop valuable listening skills to take with them as they grow and interact with other children.

Tip 8: Looking out for each other

Siblings are a natural ally and a ready-made best friend in the bedroom next door. But we all know they can go from being the best of friends to raging competitors in a matter of seconds!

And as they grow up, friends at school can often become preferred buddies to hang out with. But that doesn’t mean the love and care between siblings disappears.

There are plenty of opportunities to inspire your kids to care for one another and build a strong relationship. Doing so will lay the groundwork for establishing a long-lasting, loving bond.

Looking out for each other can take place in many forms. You may encourage your children to show care for their siblings when they feel poorly or provide support when they move to the same school.

Or small acts of kindness, such as saying “Goodnight” and “I love you” at the end of the day, also helps to boost sibling love and appreciation. It’s an easy and natural way to show care.

What is the most common cause of sibling conflict?

Children love to be treated fairly. They seem to be apt in singling out when their brother is given extra attention, or their sister is praised more. It’s often from this feeling of unfairness that most sibling conflict arises.

As a parent, no matter how hard you try, you’re not going to get it right all the time. Life is full of swings and roundabouts but convincing your children this doesn’t always go down so well.

Although friction is unwanted, it luckily has some benefits for your children’s development.

A five-year study conducted by The University of Cambridge stated that milder forms of sibling rivalry were shown “to have a beneficial impact on development in childhood”. Their research suggested that children’s social understanding may be accelerated through their interaction with their siblings.

In summary, what can you do to help your children strengthen their bond? Following the tips in this article will guide you in areas of your busy family life.

It’s always best to keep it simple and find the root cause of any issues first. Show your children love and respect, and value their uniqueness.

Carve time out to enjoy shared experiences and quality time as a family. Encourage them to do exciting activities and explore side-by-side – it’s more fun together! Teach them the importance of having their own opinions but being able to listen and disagree with others politely. And perhaps most importantly, let them know the value of having a sibling! This will be one of the closest, most significant, and most important relationship children have during their lives, and so the way they treat each should reflect this.

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Great toys siblings can play together

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