For better or worse, our siblings have been a huge part our or lives for as long as we can remember. And whether or not we get along with them, leaving them behind when we go to college in the fall is going to be a huge change, both for them and for us. In order to make that transition a bit easier, especially for those of us who have close relationships with our siblings, here’s a list of ten things to do with your siblings to bond with them before you leave.
1. Take up a joint hobby.
Take advantage of these next few months of freedom to learn something alongside your siblings – whether that be knitting, hiking or a new sport. It doesn't matter if you're terrible at it; what matters is the time spent with your siblings, and the collaboration required to do something new. And if the hobby is actually a success, you'll have something to do next year if you have any free time in college.
2. Introduce them to a show or movie from your childhood or rewatch an old favorite.
Depending on the age gap between you and your siblings, you may have grown up watching the exact same children's television, or you may have grown up with completely different shows. Either way, this summer is the perfect time to have a blast from the past, and either experience some nostalgia with your siblings or introduce them to gems from your own childhood. Bonus points for getting theme songs stuck in your head.
3. Cook dinner for your parents.
In a few months, you're also leaving them behind. Take advantage of the time you have left and do something for your parents on a day that isn't Mother's or Father's Day, and in the process spend some time with your siblings – it's the least you can do for all of the years that your parents have put towards raising you. And for your younger siblings, cooking is good practice for the fall, when they're going to have to assume all of the responsibilities that you're leaving behind.
4. Let them do your makeup.
Alternatively, do theirs. Do not think that this suggestion doesn't apply to you because you don't wear makeup or because you only have siblings that don't – there is nothing more truly hilarious than watching someone who has no idea what they're doing struggle to apply makeup. This one is even better if it goes horribly wrong, and your parents will be forever grateful for the life-lasting supply of pictures that this will provide. If you're actually good at makeup, and have siblings who wear it, the result is a makeover and a bonding experience.
5. Visit your grandparents.
Or your aunt/uncle/cousin that you haven’t seen in years. This is a great way to spend time both with your siblings and your extended family, both of which you likely aren’t going to see for a few months. There is nothing that grandparents love more than seeing their grandchildren, especially multiple grandchildren at once. And it’s almost a guarantee that you and your siblings will get along better in front of your grandparents than you do in front of your parents.
6. Give them all of the life advice you wish you’d had.
Whether or not they’ll listen to you is a completely different story, but share with them everything you learned in your additional years on the planet. It could be warnings about homework, relationship advice, pearls of wisdom on how to survive high school unscathed, but whatever it is you have to share, tell it to them. If you went through your high school years without anyone acting as your guide, it was likely pretty terrifying, and it’s totally possible to help your siblings avoid making the same mistakes that you did.
7. Go through old photo albums.
Our generation is one of the last to have their baby pictures taken on actual cameras, meaning that we’re one of the last to have photo albums, so take advantage of that and spend an afternoon with your siblings going through all of the embarrassing baby photos your parents took of all of you over the years. Bonus points for funny hats, extra bonus points for bathtub pictures, and triple extra bonus points if you manage to make this count as the “summer cleaning” your parents have been nagging you about since school ended.
8. Teach them something.
Maybe it’s how to drive, maybe it’s how to ride a bike, maybe it’s how to knit, but spend some time with your siblings this summer teaching them how to do something. Even if it’s frustrating, they might be more inclined to listen to you than your parents, and you’ll leave for school with the knowledge that you’ve contributed something to their lives. It’ll be rewarding in the end, and teaching someone anything is a bonding experience unlike anything else.
9. Read your favorite book to them.
Again, this one is for the really little younger siblings, but pick out your favorite childhood book and read it to them. You’ll both introduce them to a book you loved and bond with them over the book, and it has been scientifically proven that reading to children helps create a bond between child and reader, especially important if your sibling is really young and won’t see you for several months after you leave for school.
10. Beg advice off of them.
If you have older siblings who have gone through the college process before, or are going through it now, ask them any and all questions you may have. They’re easily your most accessible resource when it comes to finding out what college really entails, and you’ll go into school significantly more prepared than if you hadn’t had someone to guide you. Even if they go to a different college, most information is the same across the board, and they’ll likely provide you with answers to questions you hadn’t even thought to ask. Your siblings know you well; they know how you’ll react in certain situations, and that will help them give you the best advice possible.
Whether your siblings graduated college years ago, are still in elementary school or fall somewhere in between, they’ve been our best friends and our support network for most, if not all, of our lives. The first year without them is going to be strange, so don’t forget to spend some time with them this summer!
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