There are numerous studies that analyze siblings and the effects they have on each other, their family and the people around them. I am certain that the numbers don’t lie and there is validity to most of the arguments and research made about siblings.

What prompted me to write about this topic was an email I received from a visitor to our blog. She reached out to me letting me know that the blog was a great resource for her and her family. Their daughter, born in January, was diagnosed with WHS in March and they are now pregnant again. From her reading on the blog, she found that it seemed to be the case that WHS children with siblings close in age develop better than those without siblings or ones further apart in age.

With our situation, Kendall and Cailen are 20 months apart. We didn’t really plan on having them so close in age. Additionally, Carsen (our son) is only 13 months older than Kendall, leaving all 3 kids within 3 year span. We really hadn’t figured that this would impact Kendall until we started seeing the changes over the last 3 months.

Cailen, now 16 months old, has been developing at a rate which normal 16 month olds develop. Since she has turned 1, she has been crawling up stairs, walking, climbing over objects and all of the other things that toddlers do. Up until Cailen was 12 months old, Kendall would only crawl if provoked and stand if put up against a wall or chair. Well, the last 3 months has proven to be a booming developmental time for Kendall. Now, just 3 months after Cailen has been showing Kendall the ropes, Kendall can now climb all the way up a stair case, pull herself up into a standing position wherever she wants, walk across the room on her own with her walker, climb over barriers and so much more. It’s like she busted out of her shell and is now working so hard to compete and keep up. Her motivation has blossomed since Cailen surpassed Kendall. Every day, we see more and more from Kendall and it’s amazing to witness what we thought may never happen. Her advancement is developing right before our eyes.

So, the sibling effect is one that can make a difference with all of our children. Of course, we can’t say for certain that Cailen is the cause of Kendall’s gains, but there is a coincidence factor at play. I don’t encourage giving birth for the sake of making another life better. However, if it is in the plans, I would suspect that others will see the benefit from having close-in-age siblings.

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6 Responses to The Sibling Effect

  1. cordillh says:

    Interesting that you just posted this. My husband and I were just having this conversation this weekend. More recently, Riley has really started noticing other kids and wanting to interact with them. Since she is an only child (for now!), she doesn’t have anyone to model after. I think it makes a huge difference when kids have another one to keep up with daily. I think Riley would be doing more than she is if she saw others doing things like crawling.

  2. Kevin, I think that siblings play a HUGE role too. Izzy is 12.5 months older than Norrah. Norrah wants to do EVERYTHING that her sister does so they fight over toys, spend time reading books side by side and have crawling races. I know that Izzy is so important to Norrah’s development and I LOVE THAT.

    It is all so complex though because I think of two WHS kiddos in particular who are very advanced and are only children – no siblings to model their behavior, language or development after.

    In any event – I wouldnt have it any other way than for my girls to be 12 months apart and loving each others company!

  3. Afryka says:

    I totally agree with this. I think both Rheyn and Paizley have benefited from each other enormously. I’m sure that seeing Rheyn crawl and cruise around really prompted Paizley to want to do the same thing early on, and now that she is older, Dan and I have noticed more from Rheyn as well.
    Ever since Paizley started getting really vocal, Rheyn has started to babble more frequently and has become louder. Paiz now says Dada and Mama and just the other day, I’m 99% sure Rheyn was barely whispering “dada” while I was drying him off after bath time. I think he was practicing! I think that once she starts walking all of the time, he will want to more, also.

    We knew we wanted to have another baby and that having one closer in age with Rheyn would be fun for both of them but we didn’t know just how amazing it would be to see them interact! They have so much fun together and love babbling back and forth with each other. They even sleep with their cribs right next to each other and always fall asleep at night head-to-head.

  4. Janell says:

    It seems to me all children do more sooner with other siblings. I have always wanted at least 2-children. We have been trying for another one and had a miscarraige in October 2009. So far no luck on getting pregnant again 🙁 I was really hoping that we would have had or would be just about to have another child as Emmy will be 3-yrs on August 2nd. She loves other kids (of all ages) she tries to interact but does not know how… so she mostly watches and tries to touch the other kids but again she doesn’t understand what is okay (for instance she tries to grab their hair because she loves hair or touch their faces) so I have to be right there with her. She is the only grandchild on both sides and therefore doesn’t even have cousins to play with… We are older and so our friends that do have kids, their kids are all older tweens & teens so no one there either…. I can’t wait until we have another child and/or she (we) meet someone for her to play with!!! Kids love other kids!

  5. rybrae says:

    It took us a very long time to go back for a second pregnancy because I have the balanced translocation. So there is a 6 year gap between Ryley and his younger brother Braeden (who also has the unbalanced translocation). Despite the big age gap, Ryley has benefitted so much!! When Braeden started walking…so did Ryley! Ryley copies his brother so much. They fight with each other too, but you can often see them sitting together, Ryley watching Braeden closely.

    There are lots of concerns though that I have for Braeden, in terms of the future. He already likes to ‘help’ Ryley with everything, and while this is sometimes a good thing, it is very common for siblings to think they have to be the carer like their parents.
    I have found that it is really important for Braeden to connect and start to build friendships with other siblings. He has one friend in particular whose older brother has Autism. They are only very very young, but that friendship will be very important as they get older.

    Great topic though.

  6. Laurie says:

    This is very interesting to consider, and I hope that there is truth in this when the sibling is older. My son Ryan is 2 years old, and Kaylee is 5 months. Although she hasn’t really taken interest in him yet, Mark and I are both hoping that she will develop a desire to keep up with him as she grows. Of course, we are still considering the possibility of adding yet another child to our young family; if we do, then Kaylee will benefit (hopefully) by having a sibling on either side of her to emulate and learn from. Thank you for posting this article– it is wonderful food-for-thought!

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