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Kids Need Cousins!

Cousins can teach kids lessons that are sometimes hard to learn from friends

My brother recently moved to California – less than three hours from our house – and we spent Saturday and Sunday visiting them. I didn’t live near cousins growing  up, but I always loved getting together with them, and my kids had a wonderful time with these four cousins who they have only see two other times in their life. I am thrilled that we will be able to get together much more frequently now. Kids need cousins!

My brother and his wife are very different from me and Mike, and their kids are also very different. There is a shared family history that makes connecting easier, and I love seeing my kids learn and grow from interacting with cousins! Watching my four kids with my brother’s four kids reminded me a lot of visiting cousins myself as a child – so many fun memories! I love catching up with my brother, and I always learn a lot from my in-laws, too. Johnny is often frustrated by the fact that he is surrounded by girls, so he was pretty excited to spend time with my brother’s three sons (he also has one daughter).

Extended families are a lot like this structure built by a bunch of cousins - complex, intriguing, and well worth the effort.

All of the kids except for Anna, who was napping, worked together to build this! Extended families are a lot like this structure built by a bunch of cousins – complex, intriguing, and well worth the effort.

I am also a big believer in finding friends who can be adopted family when extended family is unavailable. We have had friends who have filled this role, and it has been wonderful for me and Mike, as well as for our kids! It is really nice to have someone in your life who is enough like you that you understand each other, but different too so that they push you to try new things!

Do your kids have cousins nearby? Did you play with cousins growing up? Do you have friends who act as adopted cousins?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

15 thoughts on “Kids Need Cousins!”

  1. I didn’t play with cousins too much growing up. My kids have 3 cousins that live in Thailand. We wished they lived closer! BUT we are trying to go visit them sometime next year!

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    I didn’t get to spend much time with my cousins growing up, but there was always an instant connection when we did get together. My kids have lots of cousins, but they are all even farther away than my cousins were. We have finally, after five years of living here, found a family that is like family to us, plus the kids’ Godparents are serious about being their Aunty and Uncle. Such blessings to have adopted family like that in our lives!

  3. My sister never got to have the big family she wanted because her husband died of cancer but my kids are my nephew’s surrogate siblings :-)

  4. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    Sadly, my daughter doesn’t have any first cousins. I have met my older cousin (a boy 3 years older) often growing up and usually he wouldn’t rest until he would make me cry or at least pout. Later, however, we became very close. How cool that your kids can all play together!

  5. That is great that your brother moved to CA! I’m glad your kids will get to play with the cousins. I grew up with cousins and Abby has cousins. It’s so much fun!

  6. Cousins was something I never got to experience! And for the reasons mentioned in this post, I was always jealous of others who had lots of cousins to play with… I can see why kids having close cousins would be greatly beneficial..

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