Pope John Paul the Second said the greatest gift you can give your child is another sibling. Honestly- I agree! There is nothing sweeter than to see my two children interact. My son always has to know where his sister is and is the first person to run to her side if she is upset or sad. He loves to give her kisses and is always checking in on her. My daughter is happiest if she can watch him play and when he approaches her, she lights up! Nothing could have prepared me for the joy that comes from watching my children truly love each other.
Did you know four out of every five Americans have at least one brother or sister, according to U.S. News and World Report. And according to The Huffington Posts’ Alena Hall, there are handfuls of reasons why having a sibling is so important. Mostly because it’s a bond unlike any other that we have in our lives.
“The connection is hard to describe in a single word,” Hall wrote. “It’s the comfort felt when you sit in the same room with your brother and sister, in pure silence, yet you both know how the other is feeling. It’s picking up right where you left off, even if it’s been weeks, months or years since the last deep conversation. It’s the knowledge that, at the end of the day, you’ll always be able to call on that person for support.”
Here are five reasons why having a sibling can change your life.
A sibling makes you healthier
Yes, your sibling is actually helping you cut back on obesity and improve your mental health, according to BBC News.
Research shows that our siblings (and family and friends in general) can help us stay active. When it comes to fit-inspiration, 43 percent believe that friends and family have the largest impact on how healthy our lifestyles are. And staying fit together may help grow that sibling bond.
In regards to mental health, kids who can connect with their brother and sister and go through life together are more apt to tackle some harder situations with ease than those without siblings, BBC reported. It’s all about a support system! The more siblings, the stronger the cheering section.
It could give you a higher IQ
This is especially true for the older sibling.
According to LiveScience, a study in 2007 found that older siblings usually have a higher IQ than their younger brother or sister. This is because they get the most attention in the home — being the first child — and can pick up a number of different cues from parents, the study found.
Yet additional children have the advantage of having examples for language, social behavior and modeling age appropriate activities. I see it with my son in some ways he is a little behind just because he hasn’t had a model to follow while in other areas, he is well ahead of those his age. I know I’ll see it even more with my daughter as she grows and develops.
You can learn from each other
It’s not all playtime for siblings, even when you’re in the playground.
The Deccan Chronicle reported in July of this year that siblings can learn from each other during their playtime. Specifically, brothers and sisters learn how to count, write with chalk and to interact in very much the same way that teachers and students work together. When playing together, siblings look to solve problems and conquer issues that arise, which leads to one sibling teaching the other something that later translates into the classroom, the Chronicle reported.
You learn to achieve goals
According to a study in the Journal of Research in Personality, siblings have a different way of achieving goals. As Time’s Francesca Fenzi highlighted in a story about the study, older siblings are more likely to achieve goals that give their own performance a boost. On the other side of that, younger siblings are better at outperforming others. “First-borns may be more motivated to learn, whereas second-borns may be more motivated to win,” the authors said in the study.
Life is just better with a sibling
Yep. According to a study done by Brigham Young University, life is just miles better when you have a sibling — and for multiple reasons. The study found that siblings are better at avoiding depression, and they are better at lowering “the risk for delinquency,”Deseret News reported.
“Sibling affection, regardless of gender, was a really positive thing,” said Laura Padilla-Walker, one of the professors involved with the study. “We know that siblings are important in early childhood, but this finding is interesting because it shows that they still matter in adolescence.”
In any sense, having a sibling makes us happier! For many, that sibling bond means a lifetime of emotional support, a close friendship, and an endless number of inside jokes. That’s why it should come as no surprise that holding onto a tight relationship with your brother or sister can lead to happiness later in life. I’m so glad that my children have begun that bond and can’t wait to see it strengthen as we add more siblings to the mix.