When I was pregnant with Theo I worried endlessly about how Mia would react to having a sibling. I always wanted my children to have a close sibling bond, unlike myself and my little brother.
Despite knowing what a king and loving child she was, I was concerned that she would be jealous. When we found out we were having a boy I felt relief – for reasons unknown to know me, I was concerned that a possible rivalry would be magnified with siblings of the same gender.
Thankfully, Mia adored Theo from the second we bought him home. And now, 4 years later, they are best friends.
Of course they bicker, what siblings don’t! The bickering never lasts though, they are so close and would do anything for each other.
I’ve been thinking lately about what I did to encourage such a close sibling bond and thought I’d share my thoughts for those whose children aren’t so close or any parents that are expecting a second child.
- Allow your first child to nurture their sibling. Allow plenty of cuddles and kisses, let your first child help with nappy changes and bath-time etc. Even now Mia sings to Theo when he’s in the bath and helps him put his shoes on – it’s the little things that mean the most.
- Time out is vital. Despite the close sibling bond Mia and Theo have, they both require an adequate amount of time apart too. On evenings where relations are a little fraught between the pair of them I make sure they are in separate rooms with plenty to keep them occupied.
- Allow them to be individuals. Mia is a typical girl, she loves pink and glitter and dolls, Theo however loves cars and dinosaurs. I never allow either of them to do something just because the other is and I ensure I give them both time to indulge in what they love. For example, I take Mia to her gym class without Theo so that she can be herself, without fretting about her brother.
- Encourage joint activity. Although individuality is important, it is also important to allow siblings plenty of time together. Simple activities such as painting or a board game are perfect for encouraging a sibling bond, but always ensure you are close by to help resolve any conflict.
- Say ‘I love you’. Say it every single day. Tell both children how much you love them separately and together. When I take each child to their class on a school morning I say ‘have a good day, I love you!’ and at bedtime I say ‘I love you both to the moon and back’. This way, they know that I love them both equally.