Siblings Helping Siblings

siblings helping siblings

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?


  1. says

    On rare occasions, I see siblings sticking up for other siblings at school or other places where the kid might need support. It’s not usually bullying but I am confident my kids would protect their siblings, but sometimes a misunderstanding or too rough play when my son ends up crying.

  2. says

    I don’t know if it could be called a symbiotic relationship but my girls have been doing a lot of role playing – they take turns being the big sister and the baby and they get really into whatever role they are playing. That picture of Anna and Emma is stunning.

    • says

      I hope it doesn’t make you too sad. There are benefits to being an only child, as well, and you do a wonderful job of providing Anna with amazing opportunities.

  3. says

    This is such a beautiful post – I absolutely love the way you approach sibling relationships and foster such a healthy family environment. When we first had our second baby, having my not quite 2 year-old (at the time) help by getting diapers and such was so important to building a connection between him and the baby and helping him feel important to the family at a time when a new baby can grab a lot of attention.

  4. says

    I try to wait to intervene and often I get to watch my kids work things out amongst themselves. My favourite moments are when I see two or more of them cuddled up “reading” together.


  1. [...] There is nothing cooler than seeing your children get along when you are a parent. Every parent dreams of raising their children to all be best friends. It makes growing up easier when they are all close. They look out for each other, teach each other things, and play games with each other. As they grow older maybe they will do even more things together like make a band or room together at college. MaryAnne at Mama Smiles recently posted about Siblings Helping Siblings. [...]

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