Having another baby can cause jealously for older children, and can often lead to them feeling neglected by you and resentful of the new addition to your family. To help nurture sibling bonds and to make all children feel involved, here are a few activities that you can do with your kids.
Now when you hear competition in the same sentence as your children, your heart rate might increase. Pitting your children against each other is never the answer and can cause even more tension and distance. Instead, have them join together against you and your partner with a game. Parents vs. kids will allow your kids to bond, problem-solve together and develop their relationship skills. A game of soccer or oz-tag is perfect for this scenario or board games, as it gives your kids the opportunity to listen to each other and work together.
Collaboration is key to getting your kids to bond; this can be in the form of art (painting on a big canvas together) or a game. A scavenger hunt is perfect for your kids to work together and once again listen to each other about what the next course of action should be. Implementing fun activities allows your kids to bond without realising they are bonding. Getting your older child to help your younger child is also a good tactic to get them to bond more, the younger child can start to look up to their sibling while your eldest may feel a sense of newfound responsibility.
Having a bedtime routine that includes one nice thing their siblings did for them and also saying ‘goodnight’ and ‘I love you’ before bed promotes their bond. Read them a book they both like, or have turns asking the eldest sibling to read the younger siblings favourite book to them. Allowing them to work together and understand each other’s likes and dislikes will make them want to be together.
Family time is the best time for sibling bonding. Get them to make dinner with you together or assign them roles they can do together with the family (e.g. making the table or taking out the garbage together). Family time also allows the entire family to bond; this could mean having your older kids who are teenagers bonding with their younger siblings who could be toddlers or in primary school.
While this may not seem like the most fun activity for your children, getting them to talk to each other and letting them know the value of having a sibling will allow them to reflect. Your kids don’t understand why you brought another baby into the mix, but if you explain that they have a built-in friend for life, they might view their relationship differently.
Sibling rivalry is never easy to diminish, and sometimes it is out of your control. But teaching them core values and implementing these fun activities at a younger age can promote their bonding and can make you all feel more connected as a family.