Helping Your Kids Develop Close Relationships With Their Cousins



By: Anchel Krishna @anchelk

Photo: Courtesy  Anchel Krishna

Photo: Courtesy Anchel Krishna

In the spring my husband’s brother, his wife and their two kids moved from Vancouver to Toronto so they could be closer to family. While I know they miss the beautiful west coast of Canada we’re really happy to have them close by.

Syona is our only child and I want her to grow up with cousins who are more like siblings – and we’re lucky because she will. She has three older cousins who are my first-cousin’s kids plus Dilip’s brother’s kids: Keshav (almost two) and Divya (3 ½). It’s perfect because Syona is so close in age to both of them.

Syona and her cousins don’t look all that alike.

But they have some funny characteristics that show they are related. Their laughs, shrieks of delight and tantrums have a lot in common.  Sometimes the kids sound so alike it’s hard to tell which one of the kids is yelling (it may be better that way).

The cutest part is that the kids often talk about each other – wanting to call each other

Divya loves reading with Syona and she’s often the first one to find a way to adapt an activity and make it inclusive so Syona can play, despite her special needs. Keshav runs around and jumps in whenever he gets a chance.

Before Keshav and Divya were around Syona really didn’t like other kids. She was a bit skittish when kids got too close. I think their unpredictability freaked her out a bit. Logically this makes sense since my three-year old has spent most of her life with adult, often in one hour chunks of therapy and focused activities.

Parenting Writer

Parenting Writer

Because the kids are so young they adapted pretty quickly – it only took a few weeks. The kids yell, fight, play, talk, hug, kiss, share germs and repeat the cycles all over again. Syona started nursery school this fall and it wasn’t as long of a transition as I was expecting. I think a lot of that was because she was more used to being around other kids.

Syona is also starting to assert herself a little more with other kids, which is a key skill for her to learn. If Divya or Keshav gets in her face – and she doesn’t want them there – she will find a way to tell them to go away (either by saying ‘ go away’ or pushing them – subtlety is not a strong suit in our family)! We’ve also found that being around other kids has helped her learning quite a bit. Her speech has improved and she shows more of an interest in cooperative play with other kids.

We’re lucky because Syona’s cousins live close by. But even when they lived in Vancouver there were a few things we did to make sure the kids knew each other. We visited each other as often as we could, we showed the kids pictures of each other, we skyped or Facetimed weekly, we constantly talked to the kids about one another and referred to one another as “Keshav and Divya’s mom and dad”.

I’m not sure this made a difference in terms of helping the kids establish their own relationships with one another quickly, but Syona’s cousins have been a regular part of her life in one way or another, from the very beginning.

Are your kids close with their cousins? What are your tips to help cousins be close?

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