Our family just came off a 22 hour road trip. Like most parents we left when the kids (3 yo and 10 mos) were napping. What happemded during this trip was so special I had to write about it. While driving we started hearing giggles. In the back seat locking eyes our two babies wee entertaining each other. No words were spoken, they simply gazed at each other and had a great time. I love how both interact with each other. We are at an age where they can actually relate to one another. Besides entertaining one another here are some other sibling benefits I've witnessed:
Milestones are reached earlier - When children have a peer to emulate they will reach milestones earlier. Researchers have proven this over and over. Babies learn through their social environment. Social learning theory posits that we learn how to engage the world through witnessing the successes and failures of those who we relate to. In a kids' world that is likely an older sibling. Because of this walking and talking comes sooner.
Advocacy - Another benefit is the ability to advocate on the behalf of someone else.. When children have a younger sibling they are able to apply what they know about right and wrong on behalf of someone else. Empathy is a learned skill that separates good managers and great leaders. When kids advocate for yonger siblings they are developing empathy.
A parent picked best friend - If the many sibling benefits, having s ready made best friend is my favorite. As the youngest of 5 I especially appreciate having my big sis as my best friend. When your best friend is your sibling you are more free to be who you are, flaws and all. In Social Learning theory models we know that the impact of mentors is connected to the trust placed in the person as well as the value of that particular task the person is helping with. For our kids, they are more likely to adopt the behaviors (mostly good) of their older siblings if they have a trusting relationship and see value in what they are doing.