When siblings get along, you get a very cool symbiotic relationship where siblings help each other. In this picture, for example, Emma (six years old) is helping Anna (four months old in the picture) by reading her a story. Anna is learning language from her sister reading, and she loves seeing Emma point out all the details in the pictures. In exchange, Anna is helping Emma by making her feel important, helpful, and by giving her something to do while she waits for the bus!
Here are few other symbiotic sibling relationships I see in our home:
- One child calming down a sibling – could be any combination of my kids, including baby Anna. The calming child is developing empathy and resourcefulness as they brainstorm creative ways to help). The child who was upset sees that someone cares about them, and can understand their point of view.
- Older children helping younger children get a snack or get dressed. The older child enjoys the responsibility and “being in charge.” The younger sibling gets to tell the older sibling what they want/need.
- Older children teaching skills (baby school and Emma helping five-year-old Johnny with his reading come quickly to mind; I’ve seen all three of my “big” kids exchange drawing tips with one another, and three-year-old Lily regularly “reads” books to her baby sister by narrating the storyline). Teaching is a great way to reinforce a skill, and the child being taught gains new knowledge. Patience can also be developed through the process of teaching or learning from a sibling.
What symbiotic sibling relationships have you seen in your home?