How to encourage sibling bonding
Teach them to disagree respectfully and to respect each other – respect is an essential part of building good relationships. Teach them to treat others as they would like to be treated and recognize and appreciate good manners and behaviour. Let them know that differences in opinion happen all the time and this is no reason for conflict, be it in the form of name calling, shouting or physical fighting.
Be a role model – by modelling positive sibling relationships with your own siblings, you are setting an example for your children.
Do not compare them – treat each child as an individual and recognize that each one will have different characteristics and they will not all be the same. Often, comparing children results in resentment.
Foster teamwork – many siblings see their home as a battlefield where they are trying to get your attention. To avoid this, create situations in which they are on the same team, working as partners. Find things they both love and have them enjoy it together. Teaming up with older siblings usually brings out a sense of security in toddlers and the will to be protective of their sibling in the older child. Encourage them to play games together, clean up their toys together and spend more time with one another and support this behaviour by saying things like “you make such a great team” or “you always work so well together, I’m so proud.”
Don’t let them feel left out – if you see two of your children playing together and the third sitting by themselves, this might be a good time for you to spend alone with that child so they do not feel lonely or left-out.
Have fun as a family and encourage communication – use family time, like dinner time, to ask each other questions about the day and get each other talking. Have them tell each other stories and enjoy the company they are in.
Solve the problem – in an argument, repeat the conflict out loud to them and figure out what can be done to resolve the issue, like playing with a toy together or taking turns rather than fighting over it. Alternatively, ask them what the problem is and ask them to give you ideas on how you think it can be resolved.
Promote the idea of family and embrace conflict – arguments and conflicts are likely to happen in an environment with more than one child. What is important is for your child to be taught that these little squabbles do not get in the way of the love one has for their family, let them know they are like gifts for one another . Embrace the conflicts as they offer a training ground that provides the skills your child will need growing up and in future relationships
Encourage sibling admiration – when they look up to one another or show love for one another, recognize this and appreciate it by verbally saying something to them like “wow I love the relationship you two have” or “It’s great how much love you and your sister have for one another”
Give older siblings the opportunity to teach – children love to teach what they know to other people. Let them enjoy the sense of responsibility that comes with passing your knowledge on to your younger sibling. Older siblings usually take pride in this plus the learning experience is great for their connection.