Did you know there was a National Siblings Day? It is meant to be a day of honor, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but focused on appreciating our siblings. National Siblings Day is coming up on Saturday, April 10, 2021. This is a great time to look at ways we can teach our kids to appreciate their siblings. Let’s help our kids celebrate National Siblings Day!
How did this begin?
Claudia Evart, a resident of New York, lost both her brother, Alan, and her sister, Lisette, early in life. She came up with the idea of a sibling day to honor her siblings, and so she started the Siblings Day Foundation. It became an official holiday in 1997, and it is always celebrated on April 10, the birthday of Claudia’s late sister, Lisette. National Siblings Day is now celebrated in many countries around the world.
Siblings are often known for not appreciating one another. Sibling conflict and squabbling are considered to be a normal part of life. However, many of us know someone who has remained close and friendly with a sibling, so we know that this stereotype doesn’t hold true for everyone. So what makes the difference?
Teach your kids to value each other
We as parents can set the tone for how our kids treat each other. We can begin with showing them how to treat other people in general. Our kids see and hear how we treat and talk about other people. Are we being understanding and gracious? Or are we criticizing and judging? Our kids will take our approach in this area and operate the same way.
Another way we can influence sibling behavior is in how we ourselves treat our children. It’s easy to see our kids as a group of identical people. But our kids are individuals with individual needs. When we treat our kids as individuals and work with them in the way they need, we are showing that everyone is different and that we can treat different people with respect. This also opens up a wonderful teaching opportunity.
How often do sibling fusses begin with, “But she got to have…” When we are working with our kids as individuals, this is easy to answer. I often explain it to my own kids with this example:
“If I give Johnny some medicine for a headache, does that mean Suzy and George have to have medicine too? Of course not. I love each one of you, and it’s my job to help you and meet your needs. It’s OK for me to give Johnny medicine and not to give you any right now. And you can be OK with that too. Let’s be happy that we have medicine to help Johnny with his headache. Sometime you’ll have a headache, and I’m sure you’d like to be able to get some medicine without everyone else demanding it too.”
Of course, I’m not talking about headaches or medicine, but it’s a good way to help my kids see that sometimes one person has a need met, and sometimes another person does, but I can trust my parents to decide the right thing here. And I can be happy that someone I love is getting something good.
Help them solve problems
Do you know the best way to help kids solve a problem? We can help them best by staying out of it and letting them solve it. Now, there are of course exceptions to this rule. Young children must be taught how to get along and solve problems. Physical fights should be prevented. But in general, teach your kids some good problem-solving skills, and then let them work it out. I frequently tell my arguing children to go figure it out. And you know what? Most of the time, they do.
We can also help our kids consider problems before they happen. Do we know we’re going into a situation where we tend to have more conflict? Let’s set a couple of expectations ahead of time. It’s good to anticipate problems and have a plan for how to deal with them. This is a great life skill to teach our children.
Celebrate National Siblings Day
So how can our kids honor each other on National Siblings Day? The answer to this will be different for every person in every family.
Have your kids think through what the others enjoy? What is special to them? What would they appreciate? Help your kids think of something to do for their siblings. Could they make a favorite treat? Is there a dreaded chore that could be done for a sibling? Could they play their sister’s favorite game or make a card saying something sweet to their brother?
My Signing Time can help!
My Signing Time also has resources to help your kids appreciate each other as well as your entire family. The Rachel & Me series has an episode about My Family. And our Signing Time series has an episode about Family, Feelings, and Fun. You can watch this episode’s fun song, In A House, right here.
This is also a wonderful time to learn some family signs. Use our Signing Time Dictionary to learn the signs for brother and sister. And why not learn the sign for happy, because we can be happy together! Let’s help our kids learn to appreciate each other and celebrate National Siblings Day!