GUEST POST: Essential Guide to Creating A Good Relationship Between Siblings

Happy Thursday! How has your week been? Mine has been good. We’re slowly adjusting from my parents leaving last week; however, the weekend has been tough because on top of taking care of the kids, that’s when we need to grocery shop and do the laundry. I woke up last Monday with a sore body, the kind you get from working out. Lol! Also, I am not excited about this weekend’s time change. I always have a hard time adjusting to Daylight Saving Time; so if you don’t hear from me for a week, you know why!

Today’s guest author is Zara Lewis. Zara is a mom, fitness & yoga enthusiast and a regular writer for High Style Life. She is devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her family and friends. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning some new skills, because she sees her parenthood as going to school forever. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling and baking. She is going to share with us how to create a good relationship between siblings.

girl siblings

If you asked me who my closest friend is, I would say – without a moment of hesitation – that it’s my sister. Growing up with someone and sharing history together – both the good times and the bad – is a great basis for a lifelong close relationship. But the relationship between siblings doesn’t always turn out like that. It is largely up to us, the parents, to encourage closeness between siblings. Just how do you build a strong bond, regardless of the age or gender? Here are some ways that work.

Lead By Example

kid and baby siblings with parents

It is a well-known fact that children learn primarily by imitating the models of behavior they see in their immediate vicinity – most notably the parents. It is not surprising, therefore, that they are very likely to model their relationships after yours. Nurture your own relationships with your family members. Even if you don’t have any family, or your relationship with them is beyond repair, you can still give a positive example. Be kind and loyal to others, support your loved ones, and resolve conflict in a civilized manner. When you talk about your own family and siblings, do so in a positive and loving manner.

Don’t Pit Your Children Against Each Other

girl siblings

Positive parenting is the way to go. Negative parenting practices – like harsh criticism or draconian punishments – can create an atmosphere of rivalry and jealousy between siblings. When they are under stress and afraid of the consequences for their actions, children might adopt tattling as a way to avoid their parents’ anger – even if that means throwing their brother or sister under the bus. Not to mention that this kind of strict behavior provides an unhealthy role model. It’s not rare that kids from very strict families behave in a similar manner – which might lead to the oldest sibling bullying the others. Instead, let your children stand as a united front. Encourage them to share their things. For instance, since my children are quite close in age, I don’t always buy two of everything – things that can reasonably be shared are shared in our household. It saves money, storage space, and teaches the children not to be selfish, but also not to place too much value on material things. Kids can share responsibilities too: they can do more difficult chores together.

Share Quality Family Time

boy siblings

There’s nothing like quality family time to create a sense of togetherness and belonging. Make sure you consistently set aside a certain amount of time to spend together as a family. Of course, mealtimes are important – but that’s just not enough. Do fun stuff together – maybe you can designate a night of the week to play board games, or spend every Saturday morning cycling and hiking; maybe the first Sunday of the month is a picnic day, or you can take up a sport you can play with your family. Whatever you decide, it’s important you do it regularly, and you all enjoy it. In my family, we have a new obsession – the segway board. Ever since we got one for my son’s birthday, we’ve all been crazy about them, and it’s a super fun activity we enjoy together on the weekends.

Be Careful With Conflict

boy and girl siblings

Fighting between siblings is an everyday occurrence, but that doesn’t make it any less tricky. The crucial thing is to model peaceful conflict resolution for your children. In time, they will adopt the view that fighting is not a viable solution. Have faith in them – as often as possible let them try to work it out on their own. It’s absolutely unnecessary for you to get involved every single time. If you have to mediate, try to be as fair as possible – really listen to what happened instead of jumping to conclusions. It’s okay to allow for some time apart too. Just like grown-ups, children sometimes need some time for themselves.

The most important thing when it comes to kids is to find the right balance between love and freedom. Be there to gently guide them, to mediate and encourage positive feelings and activities when necessary. However, it’s just as important to know when it’s time to step back and let them solve problems, negotiate, and bond on their own.

profile of Zara Lewis
In Zara‘s free time, aka “me-time”, she enjoys reading books, practicing yoga and socializing with her friends. However, she only gets the feeling of completeness when she spends some time with her family. They’re in love with various outdoors activities, such as hiking or cycling, so they often spend their weekends somewhere away from the crowded city and urban society. You can also connect with her through Twitter.

When Zara reached out to me with this topic, fostering a good relationship between siblings, I had to say yes immediately. As a mom of 2 kids, this is something I am absolutely interested about. My husband and I do our best to make sure our kids get along really well; and we want to make sure that we start as early as now in helping to establish a good relationship between them. And these tips that she has shared with us would really help us ensure that.

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Do you want to foster good relationship between your kids? Here's the ultimate guide to create good sibling relationships, everything you need to know to help nurture positive sibling relationships. Click on the image to learn more.

We hope that you liked this post and found it helpful. What did you think of the tips listed here? How do you ensure good relationship between your kids? Let me know in the comments. You know I always love to hear from you.

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  • Robin Rue

    For us, it is all about that quality time together. My boys are 3 years apart and could not be closer. It makes my heart happy!

  • Brittany Strawbridge

    Thank you for sharing! I have a 3 year old son and a baby girl on the way, so I am thinking about this constantly! I wasn’t extremely close with my siblings because it was never fostered, and I don’t want the same for my kids. Great post! xx

  • Wise Mama words. Great job.

  • kristin mccarthy

    I have four daughters and my greatest hope is that they remain close and grow up as best friends. Having each other is such a gift and treasure to each of them.

  • Amanda Hartman

    I love the topic of conflict resolution. I have 10 kids, and it seems someone is always arguing with someone else. I’ve learned that there are times to see if they will work it out themselves (which they do many times), or if I have to step in and take control.

  • Such a great topic. As an only-child mom of two, this is new to me!

  • Quality family time is SO important. My sister and I are four years apart and now that we are grown we are the best of friends. I am very grateful for all of my siblings. They are my rock in difficult times.

  • Maria Manlangit

    Okay, can I just say I love the photos on this post!
    I don’t have siblings, I was adopted as a baby, and there were days I wished I had this kind of bond with someone. I mean, I kinda do, with my best friend who’s been my friend since we were 9. But I love this post even more, because I’ve got three kids. All the things that was said on this post, is so true! As parents, with several kids, it’s totally important to nurture their relationship between each other. To boost their love, and acknowledge the down days as well. I’m saving this post, thank you for sharing!

  • I’m an only child, so I wasn’t raised with siblings. But it was a shock to my system to get two new stepsisters when I was in my twenties! They have such a great relationship with each other and I can see how much nurturing a strong bond between your children can really change and shape their relationship. I am still dancing around between wanting one and wanting two children of my own.

  • Such awesome advice hun! So important to pay attention x

  • Marcie in Mommyland

    Such an important topic! My youngest is 5 months and I’m trying to make sure my 3yo has patience with him and that they bond together.

  • Good tips for parents, and not only new parents. I think observing and taking action is important. Many parents think sibling rivalry is a phase, others pit their kids against one another. It is important for siblings to have a good relationship.

  • Janel Berchielli

    So great that your sister is your best friend. I always wanted my kids to be close in age but God had other plans and they are 8 years apart.

  • Annissa Slusher

    These are great tips! When my daughter was born, people visiting us would ask if her older brother was jealous right in front of him. I could see the wheels turning in his head with him thinking, “hmmm, maybe I should be jealous.” I always wondered if this planted a seed of jealousy. They do have a pretty good relationship now, thank goodness, but I do still see hints of jealousy.

  • Ayanna

    These are great tips! We try our best to spend a good amount of time bonding as a family in order to foster not just the relationships between my daughters, but also them with us as parents.

  • Kari Chalene

    Such great points! So important to try and help your kids stay close

  • Theresa

    That’s such an important topic. Sibling relationships matter your whole life. Being strong bonds at a young age.

  • Anvita – TheBellyRulesTheMind

    Such good advice for parents of siblings. i am lucky and sister and I had a very healthy & positive relationship during our childhood and hold true even now.

  • Anne Markey

    One of my greatest desires is for my kids to love each other and have a good relationship. These are great tips.

    • Zara Lewis

      I agree with you. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Ashleigh Wilson

    This is a great post! We have an only child right now but plan to have another in the next year or two. I always worry about how they’ll get along and if he’ll feel left out once he has a baby brother or sister.

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

  • Jessica Harris

    Great advice! I also think it’s so important to model that conflict resolution. Putting responsibility on our children to mend their relationships with each other is a life skill.

    • Zara Lewis

      I agree totally. And developing this skill in them as early as possible is of a great importance for their future life and social intelligence.

  • Betty Boiron

    My kids are very young but I can already see their relationship changing and growing. I will have to keep these tips in mind so that my kids will become best friends when they get older!

    • Zara Lewis

      I believe that developing these bonds in kids should start as early as possible. Thanks for reading!

  • My kids can’t seem to get along! We are working on it , they definitely love each other but they get sick of each other easily!

    • Zara Lewis

      I believe that’s just a phase in their lives. However, “relax and don’t interfere unless you really need to” is my mantra. And after some exercise, it really works.

  • Nicole Banuelos

    This is great advice that I will definitely keep in mind with my two small children!

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you so much 🙂

  • My sister and I would totally agree with your statements!! We didn’t get along all the time but we did become close friends as adults.

    • Zara Lewis

      I’m glad you’ve found yourself in this article. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  • This is valuable information. My sister and I have a horrible relationship due to circumstances out of my control. However I will use all the advice I can get so that my boys relationship will hopefully be a strong bond.

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you, Stacy! I’m sorry to hear about that, but maybe you could sort it out eventually. Anyway, it’s you as a parent who needs to work on developing this habit in your kids, so I’m sure you’ll do a great job.

  • Katriza Luna

    The sibling bond is so strong and I love how it’s brought on at an early age! My brothers and I are close even though my oldest brother and I are 6 years apart!

    • Zara Lewis

      Yes, I agree with you. The same goes with my sister and me, and I really enjoy watching how my kids are close too, despite some occasional fights. 🙂 But it’s natural, isn’t it? Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Roxanne Ferber

    Great tips! I have twins and the sibling competition is fierce. We try to give them one on one time with each parent as much as we can. It helps them to see themselves as individuals and special to each parent.

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with you about the importance of one on one time, particularly when it comes to twins, since they really need to feel special to each parent… well a little bit more than other kids

  • Mamabops

    Thanks for these tips. I’m due with Baby #2 here in a few months. I’m an only child, so I’m not 100% sure how to negotiate sibling waters. This was very helpful!

    • Zara Lewis

      I’m glad you’ve found it helpful! Bearing these in mind is great, but you’ll see that there are lots of things you’ll do them right instinctively, so don’t worry! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Adaleta Avdic

    These are wonderful tips and beautiful photos, so important to have a good relationship

    • Zara Lewis

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  • What a lovely post! It’s a tad difficult between me and my half-siblings (for the obvious reasons) and also because there’s a HUGE age difference. My brother and sister and 11 years older and my older brother is almost 20 years older than me! So it’s a pretty tough situation here x

    • Zara Lewis

      Thanks so much for reading. It’s true that siblings with a small age difference get closer naturally, but the age gap could be overcome for sure if there’s strong will for that.

  • Kirsty Pickering Bott

    Some great points and tips raised. I have 4 children, 10 years age gap between 1 and 4. I always encourage all 4 to do things together but also encourage say 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 to do things together. As a parent, it’s nice to see the different dynamics between siblings.

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you Kirsty! I’m glad that you’ve found it interesting. I bet you’ve got so much experience to share on this topic.

  • Katie Bingen

    These are great tips!

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you Katie!

  • Grace Lipscomb

    Such great ideas, I love the part about not pitting them against each other. Having positive parenting strategies is soo key!

    • Zara Lewis

      Exactly! It’s all about being positive and find the right balance. Sometimes you do the right thing, sometimes you feel like you could do it better, but eventually the results will come 🙂

  • Meredith

    This is such a great post, and I will definitely be bookmarking this for whenever we have a second!!

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you Meredith! I’m glad you like it.

  • Reesa Lewandowski

    I have to say even though I have had 2 kids for 6 years, this was really helpful. A lot of times you don’t even realize you are doing some of these things!!1

    • Zara Lewis

      I’m glad you’ve found it helpful! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Nikki

    My son is an only child, but I grew up with a brother. We weren’t close until I was a teenager, but now we’re very close. These are great parenting tips for helping siblings build a closer relationship from the start!

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you Nikki 🙂

  • Alina Orozco

    Such great advice! Thanks for sharing!

    • Zara Lewis

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad you’ve found some of these helpful 🙂

  • Adrienne Carter

    I love this!!! I have a twin sister and we fought our first eighteen years together! 😉 Love these tips for parents! Thanks for sharing!

    • Zara Lewis

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I hope you and your sister have sorted things out after eighteen years of fight 🙂

  • Ashley

    I am so struggling with this! I love the idea of creating opportunities to share by only buying one toy for two kids. It’s so hard when one kid is just not developmentally there though and the older one has to be the reasonable one always!

    • Zara Lewis

      I agree with this. It requires lots of effort and patience for sure. Finding the right balance here is of great importance and it depends on kids’ capability to understand and not to feel hurt.

  • Beautiful post and beautiful post. My sister and I hate each other – it a long story but she a selfish cow. it also doesn’t help that she 10 years older then me. Constantly belittle me and go in a full rage mood if I mention her on my blog. Oh well I have great sister in law so that all matter. xx

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Your kind words mean a world to me. I hope you and your sister will sort it out.

  • tiarastantrums

    I just know for myself – that I didn’t want my children to NOT be close. I have 3 siblings and we were not close at all. In fact I can say they made my life misery and my parents did nothing about it. I never wanted my out children to ever fell like that. My daughters are the best of friends ad I will do everything to foster and nurture that relationship!

    • Zara Lewis

      I cannot imagine being not close to my sister. My parents really did a great job there, and I’m trying to do the same with my kids. Thanks for sharing your story, I appreciate it.

  • DearLyndsey

    I love this post. I really needed to read this. My two are getting to the “fighting” stage and I never know how to properly handle it. I want them to be best friends and know that they will always have one another.

    • Zara Lewis

      I’m glad you’ve found it helpful. The “fighting” stage is absolutely unavoidable, so as I said previously, the wisest thing is to be calm and interfere only if you really have to.

  • Melissa

    This is a great post. I hope to have children who are close.

    • Zara Lewis

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂

  • Wow! Such a great post! 🙂 I hope all my children are close as well. 🙂

    • Zara Lewis

      Thanks for reading. I’m glad you’ve found it helpful 🙂

  • Wonderful tips. My daughters are six years apart and I was always worried about that age gap. They are the sweetest together and the best of friends!

    • Zara Lewis

      Great to know that! Thanks for reading and for your kind words!

  • Rose Sahetapy

    Reading this post reminds me of my childhood. I fought with my brother one day and we didn’t speak to each other for a couple of days. Soon after without any reason we talk and play together again like nothing happened. Love the idea to find the right balance and freedom when deal with kids.

    • Zara Lewis

      Sometimes it gets hard to be calm and listen to their fights, but really it’s not worth of giving so much attention to it. I mean every single time. You should definitely try to find the right balance and interfere the moment you realize things are getting the wrong direction. But letting them solve their conflicts is essential.

  • Shannon Epstein

    Great tips! Being the middle child it’s always interesting to me to see how other sibling dynamics play out.

    • Zara Lewis

      Thanks for reading. I’m sure sharing some of your experience would mean a lot to many of us.

  • These are absolutely great tips. I am an only child so I can’t say that I can relate on some of the things here. Worth sharing.

    • Zara Lewis

      To tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter if you’re the only child or you’ve got siblings. Building strong connection between kids (and well everything related to them) when you’re doing it for the first time raises to many questions. Thanks for reading and sharing

  • So many great tips! I hope that my daughters can have a strong relationship, so I’ll be sure to remember these.

    • Zara Lewis

      Thanks Danielle for reading. Once I’ve heard from someone that building a strong relationship between kids is the ultimate attainment for a parent, so I really put so much effort in this. And I think my kids have been doing great so far:)

  • Breyona Sharpnack

    I have 5 kids and it is important to settle conflicts in a way that is not biased. Great tips and well stated in this post.

    • Zara Lewis

      Thank you Breyona! It means a lot to me when someone who’s much more experienced than I’ll ever be, thinks the way I raise my kids and share the ideas about it are great.

  • These are great tips. I have two little ones and they interact with one another more and more everyday. My youngest can’t really talk yet but I can tell already when they have a difference of opinion. I agree that letting them sort things out themselves is oftentimes the best practice.

  • Such great tips! We have 5 kids, and with big age ranges. I love when we have a peaceful day of getting along.

  • Great post on sibling love. Sibling rivalry is real but I think good parent can prevent a lot of it.

  • Zara Lewis

    Thank you Amanda 🙂