I feel overly obligated to start by saying I don’t have the whole “loving siblings” thing figured out and that if having 5 kids has taught me anything it’s that they’re all different with varying needs, personalities and relationship dynamics. BUT I do think we’ve done a few things that have helped strengthen bonds between our kids. Whether or not it will payoff in the long run will forever be an open verdict but for now they’ve made our home mostly pleasant and silly with lots of sweet sibling moments sprinkled in. What’s helped more than anything is taking the time to notice what works for each kid — just like love languages and such, each of our kids seem to be influenced differently — so I thought I would break up my tips and ideas based on what works for each of our babes!

HELP OR ENCOURAGE LOVE NOTES + JOURNALS | This is HUGE for Tilly and I think overall there is something so freeing and powerful about being able to jot down your thoughts and sentiments. She’s always slipping notes under doors and crafting mailboxes and envelopes for us to return the favor. This past fall, all the kids wrote letters to Ozzie for his 18th Birthday and I think I cried over all of them. However, it doesn’t have to be fancy — a simple post it note will do!

POINT OUT THE MOMENTS + THE MEMORIES | This is Ozzie all the way. Show him a picture of him and his siblings, remind him of a story, talk about how they’re the same or different, and point out the MOMENTS of bonding that mean so much, like “how awesome is it that you can work together on (fill in the blank)” or “Gosh you guys are such a fun pair!”

FRIENDSHIP OVER SIBLINGSHIP | Swap out “little brother/sister” and “big brother/sister” for “friend” (okay, maybe not all the time!). For example, “gosh your being such a good friend to Poppy!” Griffin (the most high maintenance of the sibs) eats this up! Probably because he’s 4th in the lineup and wants to feel more like part of the crew and less like the “yittle brudder”.

TEACHING CONFLICT RESOLUTION | this is important alllll around, but it also happens to be Poppy’s forte. Girlfriend never backs down from a conflict but always makes sure everyone hugs and makes up. Also not ashamed to say we’ve taken a line from Full House (+ Fuller House, too) — Talk it out, work it out, hug it out!

TEAM BUILDING FTW | Espen shines in this situation but overall, everyone benefits. Anything from playing a game, sharing highs and lows at the dinner table, having them say 3 nice things about each other, organizing a lemonade stand, or giving them a chore to do together, to family nights in, staycations, weekend getaways and longer vacays! And when the kids seem to be at serious odds with each other, organizing a “parents vs. kids” game works like a charm!

Just a bunch of crazies that get to grow up together. (Including us parents.)

Here’s hoping we’re teaching them to appreciate, show up and cheer for each other while being authentic and sincere. Not just forcing them to “get along” — which in my book is totally overrated and should be reserved for coworkers and neighbors. Even if it feels like my sanity might be at risk sometimes, hahahah!

Now it’s your turn… share all your tips! Lord knows I need them!

xo, Rae

Images by Amy Nielson Photography


  1. Deb February 16, 2019 at #

    What a great message! My husband and I raised 6 children, all in their 30’s now. Two of them ( so far!) have their own children. We love hearing them all talk about what they remember of their own childhood relationships.
    We were also HUGE on love notes and especially apology notes… it’s one thing to say “sorry”, quite another to sit down with pencil and paper and sincerely make an apology. I think we said it had to be at least 3 sentences long. Painful but effective! We still have all those notes tucked into books and it’s so much fun to read them together. Lots of laughs.
    Love your idea of “parents vs kids” games! Being on the same team is so unifying!
    Great job parenting!! It takes a huge amount of devotion but nothing could ever be more worth it. Our kids are all super close. My husband and I have always said that if we know they will always look out for each other then we did a good job. It’s the most important thing to us and it’s what families are all about. I know there are no guarantees in life but putting the effort in when they are small will pay off later. Enjoy each other and thanks again for the post!!

    • rae February 16, 2019 at #

      oh, I love this Deb and hope people scroll down and read it! Thanks so much for sharing! xoxo

  2. Breanna February 16, 2019 at #

    We live over in Union, and with two kids under the age of 4. I look to your blog a lot, just to see how you stay afloat with five. Thank you for sharing. You have given us inspiration to take a quick weekend get away to Seabrook, thanks to you and your blog (which I love!), I know from a trusted source it’s actuslly kid friendly!

    Thank you!!
    Keep up blogging Momma. Please!!

    • rae February 16, 2019 at #

      Breanna, thank you so much! So excited for you and your trip! You’re going to LOVE Seabrook! xoxo

  3. Meg Day February 16, 2019 at #

    Oh, I love this! Thanks for sharing honestly.

    An elder in our church told my husband that as the leader of the house, he has to be the chief repenter. Meaning, he apologizes first and most. This has changed my life and it’s become a top down thing. Apologizing openly, thoroughly, and often to each other and our children is something that we’re practicing.

    Thanks again.

    • rae February 18, 2019 at #

      Meg, that’s so, so good! And I always appreciate the reminder that everything starts at the top. xoxo

  4. dad February 16, 2019 at #

    You have an amazing gift for seeing your family each as individual blessings.
    Each with their own special talents and gifts.
    And perhaps most important, you are fiercely in their “corners” loving them in their own love languages and speaking goodness over their lives.
    I am so thankful for you!

    • rae February 18, 2019 at #

      DAD!!! Thanks for being so sweet, supporting and reading my little blog. Love you mucho! xoxo, boo

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