One of the first things people usually notice about our children is how well they get along. Sure, they have occasional squabbles, but that is the exception rather than the rule. For the most part, they really love and admire one another and enjoy being in each other’s company.
They are friends.
When people ask us how this came to be the case, we’re always quick to credit God’s grace. It’s a heartfelt answer, but not particularly helpful. So for parents who are searching for ways to encourage a deep and lasting friendship between their children, we offer eight practical suggestions:
- Turn off the TV
Have you ever noticed how poorly family members treat one another on sitcoms? Yet every snide remark is rewarded with liberal doses of canned laughter. If our children are raised on a steady diet of such fare, it shouldn’t surprise us when they emulate what they’ve been watching.
Even if the programing is good and wholesome, allowing children to watch too much of it precludes more meaningful, real-life interaction with their own family members. So switch off the set and make your own fun, instead.
- Play Games Together
When you enter into your children’s world through play, you send them the message you enjoy being with them, and those warm feelings get sent back to you and shared with one another.
A few of our family favorites? Puzzles. Zombie tag. Spoons. Knock-Out. Chess. Checkers. Tea parties. Hearts. The Hat Game. Ultimate Frisbee. Putt-Putt Golf. Ping-Pong. Cabo. Bananagrams.
- Allow for Kid-Directed Adventures
Sometimes our kids dream up things to do together that don’t include Mom and Dad: Build blanket forts. Ride bikes around the block or to the gas station for a treat. See how deep a hole they can dig in our backyard. Hike through the bamboo forest. Build bicycle ramps. Bake peanut-butter cookies. Sell lemonade on the street corner. Drive to Dallas to see Nana.
As long as the things our kids are asking to do are feasible and reasonably safe, we try to say yes to their requests. Not only do these sort of adventures build character, maturity, and confidence, but they bond siblings together in a special way that parent-directed activities alone cannot do… ( Read the rest of this post on our family blog.)