“Mom?” I hear from the other room. It’s my (almost) 13-year-old. “Can Dylan come over today?” Music to my ears. Dylan is his 10-year-old cousin.
“Yeah! Yeah!” I hear the other boys yell.
“Don’t forget about Lia!” my daughter yells, talking about another cousin (Dylan’s sister)
There is something so special about growing up with cousins close by. Our four children and my brothers two children are as close as siblings, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We live in the same town, we vacation together and every Sunday we have dinner together at my parents.
It gets even better: As their aunt, I love them as much as any human can love another who is not their own child.♥ It’s a relationship that I plan to nourish for many years to come because I’m lucky enough to know the benefit of having an Aunt who did the same for me.
Cousins are so important… and it is important to me that I help nurture the bond between them, as they continue to grow up as not only family but best friends.
Our kids have 6 cousins, two that live just ten minutes away, and four that live a few states away. There is something so special about cousins & the relationship that they are born into – and the one that they develop over time.
Why are cousins so important? What makes them so great for our children?
COUSINS ARE THEIR OWN TEAM
Cousins are often a child’s first best friend (outside of the siblings). They are friends who are related to you, which is even better!
When a new cousin is born, it doesn’t take long until they become one of the crew. They are welcomed with many open arms into this team that they didn’t know they would be a part of.
- Cousins share secrets that others don’t know.
- Cousins won’t judge you because they are family.
- Cousins look forward to seeing you at family parties.
- Cousins are always around for a phone call, text, or facetime chat.
- Cousins don’t need to make plans to talk – anytime is a good time.
- Cousins share the same family and have many of the same memories.
THEY ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE TO FIND AT FAMILY GATHERINGS
‘No matter how you feel about your extended family or family gatherings, you will be attending. This is because now the ultimate reason for attending family gatherings is for your children to have the time of their lives with their cousins.
Little kids love their cousins. I’m not being cute or exaggerating here. Cousins are like celebrities for little kids. If little kids had a People magazine, cousins would be on the cover.
Cousins are the barometers of how fun a family get-together will be. Are the cousins going to be there? Fun!”- Jim Gaffigan
COUSINS HAVE EACH OTHER’S BACKS
One of the most reassuring parts of having four kids is that I know they have each other’s backs. Yes, they get into little tiffs with each other (cousins are like siblings & there will be stealing of toys, arguing over the best seat in the car, pointing fingers about who ate the last cookie, etc…) but there will also be an unbreakable bond.
They will defend each other, stand up for one another & protect each other. The “all for one & one for all” part of the cousin-bond is something that never ends. Yes, they might complain about each other, but watch out if someone outside of the family makes the same remarks! 😉
The bond between cousins is strong.
PLANS DON’T HAVE TO BE PLANNED (neither do sleepovers!)
Cousins are the perfect playmate. They don’t need to plan “play dates” or “sleepovers” because with cousins- they just happen. Whenever the kids get together, we know a sleepover is probably in the works.
Often, the sleepover happens at their grandparent’s house after a family dinner, which reminds me of a quote I once read:
“Grandma’s House… where cousins go to become friends.”
They don’t care what they look like, or the fact that they didn’t pack an overnight bag, because they are cousins. They are accepted as they are. They share clothes, shoes, pajamas & beds without a second thought.
(Plus- there is no stress on the parents because it’s just like having your own kids sleeping there. )
VACATIONS TAKE ON A WHOLE NEW MEANING
As often as our kids see their cousins, since they live just across town, they can’t wait to go on vacation with them. Getting all of the cousins together is like throwing a party – there is always something to do, someone to talk to and someone around to play a game.
Swimming gets a whole lot better when you can go underwater with your cousin to have a “tea party” or when you can guess what your cousin is saying under the water.
It’s almost guaranteed that when bedtime hits, there will be kids tucked into bed, giggling and talking for an hour past the time that they should be sleeping.
On our last trip, my sister-in-law said, “Let’s not go up – they are making memories.” and so they continued to chat until they fell asleep 30 minutes later.
They create adventures & find fun in everything. ♥
STUDIES PROVE FAMILY COMES FIRST
A study about cousins that was conducted in 2013 and published in the British Journal of Psychology proves that family comes first. They found that people were much more likely to help out cousins and extended family before friends.
The theory that individuals would choose family over friends or others was next tested with very distant relatives that did not have a close emotional tie or bond. The researches found that family still came first. It was labeled as the “Kindship Premium.”
COUSINS REMIND US OF OUR HERITAGE
Listening to my cousins talk about our grandparents is always an experience. I love to hear how they view family members differently and how they share stories that I’ve never heard before.
Cousins help to pass down stories that may be forgotten. They pass down traditions that may not have been carried on. They pass down values that they remember from generations before them.
“Cousins we will always be… best friends from the same family tree.”