There are many blogs and articles devoted to the ultimate age gap between kids. Is it 18 months, 23 months, two years, four years…. The debate carries on. When it all comes down to it, the difference in age between your kids is completely individual to both your kids and your family.
Focusing purely on age gap will not determine whether or not your children will grow in harmony together and be lifelong best buddies. Whether your kids are 18 months apart or four years, their relationship will be moulded based upon their unique little personalities, their morals instilled into them by mum and dad, other family members and close friends, combined with their own connection to one another.
Lifelong close sibling relationships cannot be forced, but they can be fostered.
- Show love and respect
Even if their personalities are split opposites, you can teach your children to appreciate and respect their sibling’s individual characters. Sure they may not enjoy doing the same thing all the time, but they can learn to respect one another and appreciate their differences.
- Teach empathy
Kids who have a strong family life with strong sibling relationships have more resilience to navigate their way through life’s tough times. When picked on in the school yard or when having a tough day, coming home to a supportive family environment helps to foster confidence and trust in their family unit and to tackle their tough times.
- Involve and include
Involving your kids in one another’s lives is a great way to encourage inclusion. Taking them to watch their sibling’s soccer game, watching a dance recital – the little things go a long way.
As much as we yearn for our kids to be friends for life, there will be stages where they fall in and out of favour with one another. As parents we can’t force relationships onto our children, but we can provide the loving and supportive environment for them to flourish individually and together as a sibling unit.
And that’s the best we can do.