Siblings as educators

Children start to learn even before birth. It would be wrong of us as parents to think that we are not the first educators of our children. You may well have even been thrust a leaflet since becoming a parent that tells you just that! Parents are the first educators of their children and our approach to our children can have a lasting impact.

I’ve written before about learning beginning at home and the different ways in which we, as parents can contribute to our children’s learning process.

What about when you have more than one child though?

I’ve heard many parents say that they don’t have time to do the ‘extra’ stuff with their children when they have more than one. Firstly, I’d always argue that what we do to enhance our children’s learning can largely be achieved in the every day conversations and activities we do, and we shouldn’t regard this as something extra we should be doing. Every situation has the potential to be a learning experience. Secondly, I’d argue that siblings themselves are educators and can hugely enhance the learning experience for each other. This doesn’t just work with older siblings educating younger children, as older children can also learn a great deal from their younger siblings.


The younger children teach the big ones to be patient. They teach them the importance of clear instructions and give them responsibilities. They remind them to see the funny side of things and not take themselves too seriously.


The little ones teach the big ones to stay young as long as possible and remind them how to play and just have fun sometimes. They give them experiences that many people only have in adulthood and the big kids are able to learn about so many aspects of caring for little ones.


On the other hand, the older children teach the younger ones so many things. They learn how their bodies can move differently by copying movements the older ones make, including some quite complex gymnastics and dance routines. The little ones learn to be ambitious by always striving to be bigger and better at things and do things just like the big kids can.


The older children share their knowledge with the younger ones and as a result the little ones sound wise and knowledgeable beyond their years. The little ones follow and listen intently, hanging on every word.


They all learn to share, to compromise and how to love unconditionally. They educate each other without even knowing.

So when you are despairing that one has taught the other to pick their nose or to burp twinkle twinkle little star, try to remember all the other things they are learning too!

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24 comments on 'Siblings as educators'

  • Fab post! I totally agree! My twins are always teaching each other things, but they’re also learning lots from their older siblings too. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

  • Little ones always seemed to grow up quickly. They really do learn from the older ones they had admire. Here on the farm it is lovely to watch the older children helping the younger ones with the animals. #sharethejoy

  • I agree with you completely. My son revels in teaching my daughter, it is lovely to see. And I can definitely see his awareness of her as an audience means he has to change his language and delivery, which shows that he is learning too. Great post :)
    x Alice

  • This is so sweet. I only have one child right now, but now that he’s passed the one year mark (sniff!) baby fever is back in motion. With it is also a little guilt about wanting another; but this post helps. It’s nice to know the good things that will come if he isn’t my one and only!

  • Such a great post and absolutely spot on. I have also written about the influence that having a sibling made on my autistic son. Having a younger brother has really helped him to improve his social skills and he always has a friend. I loved your photos too!

  • Love this and I totally see this everyday with my two – the eldest is learning SO much and I see her future parenting skills developing with clear instructions and patience as you’ve said. The toddler pushes his body to copy her headstands, running, jumping and climbing beyond what he would alone. A wonderfully observed post that’s one of my favourites this week! Thank you for linking up at #sharethejoy x

    • Thanks Michelle – yes it is wonderful to watch insn’t it. I know what you mean about the parenting skills, my eldest in particular is very aware of the way she should speak to the minis and how much of an influence she can be. x

  • So true I couldn’t agree with this more I was just saying the other day that I can’t believe how much faster MM has done things, learned things and passed milestones than her brother because she has a role model to follow someone to guide her all the time showing her new things. Siblings are a great source of educators. I hate that people say they don’t have time to put that extra effort in after having one child it only takes a conversation in the car on the way somewhere to teach them, talk to them and ask questions or at the dinner table or while you are cooking. Multitask for goodness sakes it’s their education I say! lol :) Love this. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • Yes totally agree Jenny – it isn’t any effort at all. We chat non stop in the car about the colour and shape of things outside, who can see what, we count things and so on x

  • All so true
    I notice this a lot with my neices and nephews
    I dislike when people cannot be bothered to teach healthy ways by reading and cooking ect really riles me when I see children glued to electronics all the time too

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