I grew up with two sisters and as an adult there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not yakking on the phone to one or both of them ”in fact- we're prone to participating in many three-way calls. I also have a brother who is 12 years my junior- and while I love him equally- the relationship we share is completely different. In fact, we can often go for weeks without speaking on the phone and when we do, our conversations are pretty succinct. I certainty don't find myself gushing to him, the way I would with my sisters, about the state of my marriage, my weight, or my motherhood dilemmas. I do believe that because we aren't the same gender we are prone to communicating on totally different wavelengths yes the saying that men are from Mars and women are from Venus does ring true.
When I had my own kids, a daughter and a son, I was a bit crestfallen over the fact that my daughter would not experience a sister relationship, as I believe mine has been crucial in helping me develop into the woman I am today. So, ever since my son's birth I've been on a mission to lay the foundation for a communicative and open relationship between them, one that I hope will provide them with the same emotional support that sisterhood has provided me. But it's been tricky to say the least- they're different genders which is becoming even more pronounced as they get older and gravitate toward polar-opposite interests. My daughter is all about her ballet classes and my son is obsessed with sports and jumping off every single piece of furniture in my house.
So I'm all about finding activities that brothers and sisters can share as kids, so that as they grow into adulthood the bonds they've hopefully developed will continue to be strong and lasting and they'll always remember to call text or e-mail one another!
#1 Create Keepsakes for one another According to Sara Lise Raff a NYC arts education consultant, creating keepsakes for one another and establishing memories are several ways parents can foster brother-sister bonds throughout childhood. Have children create books and write a dedication to each other. You can use published books to show children what a dedication looks like. It's very simple to have children create a mini book. Children can draw pictures or use stickers. If one child is too young to write an adult can take dictation. You can laminate the books and keep them on the bookshelf.
#2 Talk with each child and have them come up with a surprise day for each other. Maybe a favorite place to visit or have lunch. You can document them by creating a collage page filled with pictures, postcards, tickets from the event and calling them “________ (insert siblings name here) Surprise Day for __________ (insert other siblings name here).
#3 Have the kids come up with a joint blog (blogger is free, www.blogger.com) documenting their summer events. They can each have their own section and can even review movies, places and foods and give different points of view.
#4 Any site can be made into a bonding experience. If you bring a camera and document it you send a message to your children how lucky they are to live in this city and to be able to share it with your sibling. What make these experiences even richer is to choose a few certain places you visit annually and take pictures in the same places so they can see how they've grown year to year!