HERE ARE THE TOP 7 BENEFITS OF HAVING SIBLINGS
The best thing I've ever given my kids is each other.
They may not agree but their friends sure do. They are always telling my kids how much they wish they had lots of siblings to play with. Cue my kids' collective *eye roll*...
The truth is, life in a large family is impressively loud, beautifully messy, and can be complicated... But most of all, it's never boring and crucial life lessons abound around every corner, thanks to siblings.
Here are the Top 7 Benefits of Having Siblings
1. Live Longer. A study found that people who enjoy strong family relationships live longer than those who lack strong family bonds. Adult siblings often support each other emotionally and encourage one another, resulting in improved physical health and overall mental wellness later on in life.
2. Built-In Playmates. My #4 and #5 fight like cats and dogs, every day, and at least one of them will dissolve into tears at least once a day due to some injustice put upon them by their sibling aka arch nemesis. On the flip side, they spend many hours together, every day, building forts, riding their bikes, making up games, building on Minecraft, cracking jokes, cooking, and enjoying their shared favorite mid-morning snack, cheese and grapes.
It isn't all rainbows and unicorns in a house full of siblings but honestly, it's often "unicorny" and "rainbowy" much of the time, thanks to my fabulous daughter who insists that her older brothers sit through episodes of My Little Pony with her (who are they kidding, my boys are HUGE fans of the show).
3. Practical Life Skills. Learning early in life to share things such as your toys, bedroom, food, pets, clothing, and even your parents, makes it easier later in life to master important social skills like compromise, inclusiveness, cooperation, and patience.
If you can nail down regulating your emotions and how to get along with others, starting at a young age, you are ahead of the game. Thank your siblings for the practice.
4. Empathy. No matter how bad a time one (or more) of us is having on any given day, the sight of our youngest baby instantly boosts our mood and brings us out of our own problems and into the happy world of little B. I have seen my older kids instantaneously go from "Cranky Franky" and "Debbie Downer" to "Sibling Super Hero" at the sight of their baby brother or sister in distress.
Even my #4 and #5 will do their best to comfort or encourage the other if they sense they really need it.
The Benefits of Empathy are Far Reaching into Adulthood: Empathy lowers aggressive behaviors; enhances the quality of intimate relationships (marriages), and helps to create and maintain friendships. And countless studies have shown that the practice of empathy fosters the positive and healthy relationships needed to enhance a person's quality of life.
5. Belonging. Having siblings is like belonging to a very exclusive club that you can never get kicked out of.
No matter how quirky and off-beat your sense of humor, your siblings totally get you. No matter how much you geek out on Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Disney Princesses or viral Fortnite dances, your siblings will be your willing (mostly) audience, always. And no matter how epic your tantrum or how serious your sibling infraction, there is always forgiveness.
Sometimes in adulthood, siblings become estranged, but that's not the norm. Siblings are for life. Even if you're not on speaking terms, your sibling will always be family and there is hope for reconciliation.
6. They Make Great Teachers. Older siblings make great teachers.
They can teach the younger siblings "the ropes" of navigating childhood from an older child's fresher, more adventurous, perspective, as opposed to mom's less fun and more cautious approach.
The younger siblings love to emulate their older siblings while the older ones feel good and capable to be leading the younger siblings to greater heights. The older siblings take on mature responsibilities and the younger siblings are exposed to lots of new experiences.
My older brothers often brought me along to places and I learned so much just by observing their interactions with the world. It was a priceless education that I could only have gotten from my older brothers.
7. Friends for Life. When I am gone, my children will have each other to share their collective memories of their shared youth. And I know they will be there for one another as they build new memories with their future families. I hope they will get together with their kids and enjoy being impressively loud and beautifully messy together, once again. And I know that they will have learned enough from one another to handle the "complicated" parts of life with grace, humor, and lots of sibling love.
I am always on the hunt for ways to better streamline our large family living. If I happen to spot you in public with your big family, I'll probably stop and ask to take a peek in your full-size van since I'm in the market for a new one myself (I currently own a red '06 Honda Odyssey but we are at full capacity and it. is. snug. The car walls are starting to close in on us. If we're at co-op together, I may ask how you tame your ever growing laundry beast. And bedtimes - do you stagger them by age or have one blanket bed hour? And lastly, do you buy individual lunch size snack packs (pricey) or do you go big, Costco style, and then dole out smaller portions into your own snack size baggies (cheaper but time consuming).
So whether you're a big family lifer, like me, or just curious to see how we do things, here's a peek into some of our stats. We are still a fairly young family - my four boys have yet to hit the teen years and eat us out of house and home. So we haven't yet had to take out a loan for groceries (yet!) Here we go:
70-90 eggs consumed per week
45 bananas weekly
4 gallons of milk weekly (that's cRaZy lots for a half-Asian family! I grew up in a Korean family of 5 and we rarely got through a quart of milk before it expired.)
10 cups of uncooked rice for a day's worth of meals
$50 average for fast-food drive-thru
$1,400 monthly grocery bill
$100 for a movie and snacks (cheaper at second-run theaters)
70 average number of towels washed per week
16-18 number of laundry loads per week
160 nails clipped weekly
7 numbers of years we've been homeschooling
2,000+ books (...I stopped counting)
300 Ticonderoga pencils annually (the Rolls Royce of #2 pencils)
9 number of diaper bags I've owned over the years (don't judge me)
2 cars whenever we go anywhere because we don't all fit in the mini-van
So that's a small peek into our life in numbers. If you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to share, I'm all ears. Books and kids are my weaknesses - I can't stop collecting them. How about you? What are your favorite things to collect?