You’ve been hearing it for years, but being a big sister is truly a special role. The big sister will have her share of headaches thanks to younger siblings, but older sisters have a great deal of influence on your brothers and sisters. There are easy ways to use that influence in a very positive way.
Reading to children is hugely beneficial. Instead of relying only on your busy parents to read to younger siblings for twenty minutes a day, do it yourself. Once your brothers and sisters are reading on their own, encourage them to read to you as part of their homework. Sitting down to read an Easy Reader with a little brother will be a powerful moment for both of you – it’s a very nice way to bond together. You can even take it a step further and select a fun chapter book to read out loud to your siblings. This is a nice way to improve your own reading while encouraging their listening and reading skills as well.
There are a rather disturbing number of overweight children in the world, especially the United States, and encouraging your siblings to turn off the video games or television and start exercising is often just a matter of making a suggestion. Encourage the younger ones to chase you or to play hide and seek. Take them outside to help you wash your car or to jump on the trampoline. You might even show them how to play constructively on sites such as this one for quiet time – a nice way to use creativity, anyway.
There is nobody better to teach younger children how to cook than their older siblings. Teach your little brother how to break eggs into a bowl and throw away the shells. Show your little sister how to mash potatoes. Make a cake, cookies or brownies together and then sit down together to watch a favorite show and enjoy the treats. (Go run around outside after eating them, of course) Remember, of course, that cooking can be a bit dangerous. Watch very carefully for accidents about to happen and prevent them. Also, limit the use of heat and sharp implements as much as possible.
Crafts and coloring are not only fun for children; they are a great way to practice creativity and fine motor skills. Give your little sister coloring lessons. You’ll not only become her idol, you’ll also have someone to hang out with when the urge to color Strawberry Shortcake becomes overwhelming. You might even get especially lucky and receive an autographed or personalized art project you can frame and enjoy for the long term.
Younger children look up to you whether you like to play idol or not. Instead of resenting the fact, use it to your and your siblings advantage. Pull out your homework at the big table and make a big deal about fixing snacks and drinks for homework time. Soon you’ll have companions at the table and you can all enjoy popcorn and work on various levels of math and vocabulary together.