5 Ways To Encourage Sibling Playtime

sibling toddlers at playBefore Abby was born I was worried about the usual things. Sibling rivalry, how I integrate play into the everyday at the same time (!!), keeping them both engaged, etc.

For all of my worry, we’ve seemed to hit a stride. A sweet spot if you will – wherein they gang up on me are starting to play together more naturally. Without much goading or effort on my part. Except for all of those times that I have to step in to cease all forms of arm pulling, body tackling and general rough-housing.

But we’re not talking about all of that.

For however well things seem to be going – trust me. This playful sibling scene has not come without it’s hard work to produce. ‘They’ say the key to success is practice, practice makes perfect. Siblings in general have a natural desire to play with and protect one another. They also have an innate desire to drive each other bonkers and sit on each other whilst dangling a favoured toy under the other’s nose, just out of reach.

For example.

So. As a parent who wants to nurture and nudge their bonding in a more positive direction, while keeping them both engaged with age-appropriate activities, I’ve come up with a bit of a system. Perhaps you have young toddler siblings, close enough in age to connect through doing the same types of play. Don’t give up, oh weary friend, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Consistency is key.

5 Ways To Nurture & Encourage Sibling Play

1. Sensory Play
The great thing about sensorial activities is that they can be modified to include a wide age range of children. Any type of play that stimulates your child’s senses (touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing), can be considered a sensory activity. Seasonal and themed sensory bins are a great way to get sibling playing together. As is playing with kid-friendly music instruments or singing songs together. Arts and crafts, playing with play-dough – the options are endless to create, investigate and explore.

2. Role Play
Otherwise known as dress-up. We all loved this form of creative, free-play as a child. With good reason. Role playing inspires a child’s imagination. We know that our little ones want to do everything we do and often will mimic the way we do things or the chores that we do around the house. Role play gets kids experimenting and developing their own worlds of magic and fantasy without borders. 

3. Baking
Baking (which can also be considered a sensory activity), is an activity that can really help your little ones bond and develop their sense of taste and touch…but also to develop cognitively in a social setting. Lots of linguistic communication and creative play happens naturally when you get to baking with your little ones.

4. Gardening
Kids digging in the dirt. ‘Nuff said. It may just be the shiny newness of spring, but our peace and happy place right now is anything involving the outdoors. Specifically, gardening. Since it is such a big part of our everyday family life, we’ve tried to include our kids in the process as much as possible. They are both ardent lovers of helping me pull weeds, pick up piles of spring clean-up to dump in the garden bin, and planting seeds. Especially now that a bunch of them have sprouted! They get into a really nice groove when we are gardening together outside and it may not last, but I’m going to do all that I can to keep their love for gardening blooming. *(You will excuse the nerdly use of that pun, won’t you?)

5. Reading
Recently my eldest toddler has begun reading and moved from Stage 1 Readers to Stage 2 Early Readers. One of the most amazing things about this huge milestone is that he can now read stories to his sister! Which he absolutely adores doing. Our bedtime routine has turned into a family affair, where we used to put them down separately reading them each their own stories. Now, we and they get the best of both worlds! Wyndham can read Abby the stories she loves and he gets to practice reading. We read Wyndham a longer, wordier story once his little sister is in bed.

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More Babbles From Selena…

Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Regular writer here and on Disney Baby. Part-time mischief maker, all the time geek. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

Elsewhere on the internets…

Via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve

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