He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

A recent study showed that brothers and sisters value different things in their relationship with their siblings. Sisters feel closest to each other when they are talking something over, while brothers feel the greatest intimacy when they are doing something together. Brother-sister combos also tend to forgo the talking in favor of activity.

Parents who want to help their children deepen their relationships with sibs can look for opportunities to let their children be “alone together.” The normal distractions of family life— sports practices, friends, cell phones—can make it difficult for siblings to spend quality time together.

Yet positive sibling relationships are worth pursuing because they are often the longest-lasting relationship in a person’s life. Here are a few ideas to make sure your kids get some time together:

• Sibling “dates.” You provide the cash and transportation, they come up with the idea. The catch—it can’t be a movie or arcade. This date is about interaction with each other.

• Sibling “sleepover.” Why should slumber party fun be just for friends? Sleeping bags, popcorn, and some flashlight tag in the backyard can turn a normal Friday night into a great memory.

• Take away the little kids. If you have a larger family, take the younger kids away for a couple hours and let the big ones spend some time together without worrying about including the young ones.

—by Annemarie Scobey  from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2010 and 2011 General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

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