The news of having a new member in your family is exciting not only for you as parents but to other members also like your older children, grand-parents and the whole extended family. Leo Tolstoy has also beautifully quoted “Happy families are all alike. At least they share certain basic characteristics”. When kids are young, they are unable to understand family relations and bond. Only siblings are the other members in the family apart from parents that they are able to connect till 2 years of their life. Once the kids are 2 – 2.5 years of age, they are able to put names with ideas as Grand Mom is mommy’s mommy and so on. This is a time when children really begin to recognize the importance of others in their lives. To raise such happy family, here are some ideas that can help your children feel close to their relatives, not just around the holidays but all year long:
- The best and only way to create a great bond with the older siblings is letting them spend time together. Identify your older kid’s interest and your little one’s too and set up an activity for them. Don’t interrupt a happy play. Laughing, being outdoors, dancing – everything helps! Include as many oxytocin-inducing activities as you can in their daily routine.
- Ask your kids to perform certain task together. For instance, put them together to do the decorations for Father’s Day, or planning a fun family outing. Let the children work together to do the planning, with you only peripherally involved to insure safety and maximum fun.
- Support siblings to nurture each other. When one child gets hurt while playing, ask the other to fetch the first aid box. Let all children be part of this, so that they begin to feel like a helper rather than a by-stander.
- If the grandparents stay with you then its best but if not then you, as a family can visit their house in timely intervals. Ask them to come over to spend time with your children.
- Grandparents play a critical role in helping your baby begin to understand family relationships.
- Traditions are good ways to develop that special bond between all family members and the new baby. Be it birthdays or anniversaries or any casual dinner party, it will help kid understand the who’s who in the family
- If there are too many members in the family, create a family tree and help them understand the relation. So when the kids are meeting their extended family next, they know the members with their names and exact relation.
- Encourage more face-to-face sessions. When family members are in each other’s physical presence, the connection is much stronger because they are responding to immediate needs. Make sure your child and his relatives have something fun to do when they get together.
Good family bonding is important for lots of other reasons too, like:
- It makes children feel secure and loved, which helps their brains develop faster
- Can help overcome difficulties with children’s eating, sleeping, learning and behavior
- Make it easier for your family to solve problems and resolve conflict
- Help you and your children respect differences of opinion as your children develop more independence
- Give children the skills they need to build healthy relationships of their own
Always remember that everyone in your family will need time to adjust. Let relationships within your family develop at their own pace and it will build the strong foundation for a happier family life in the future.