Not many families today aim for a brood of four or more, and understandably so. Having an only child screams E-A-S-Y. But growing up with a brother or a sister is a unique bond that lasts a lifetime. In fact, did you know that having siblings can also mean better health for your kids? If the perks of having a big family—and mind you, these benefits the kids mostly—has not swayed you into abandoning your one-child policy, these might.
1 ...give kids a higher IQ A study published in the journal Sciencefound that first-borns who have siblings, on average, have higher IQ--close to three points higher--than those who solo children. Researchers tested for the IQ of 18- or 19-year-old first-born boys and their younger sibling when they reached the same age.
Another study found that the wider the gap between sibling makes older kids want to achieve more and get higher qualifications.
2 ...prevent kids from being obese. At two to four years old, becoming a big brother or big sister could lower a child's risk for being obese. They were found to have a healthier body mass index (BMI), says a study published in the journal Pediatrics. Same-age solo kids, on the other hand, were three times more likely to be obese during their elementary years.
Another research shows that that siblings, or family and friends in general, can help a person stay active. Brothers and sisters who stay active together have a stronger bonds, too.
3 ...boost children's mental health.A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that having a sister or a little sister makes 10- to 14-year-olds less lonely, or unloved, guilty, self-conscious, and fearful. Researchers also found that sisters are protective of each other, which promotes charitable attitudes way more than their parents' influence.
In another study, sibling support was also associated with a reduced risk for developing depression and with higher self-esteem and life satisfaction.
4 ...longer life. Family and friends are key in encouraging and inspiring a person to take care of his health. Research published in the journal PLoS Medicine discovered that strong social ties with siblings may help you live longer. According to the study, only children who are lacking in social skills are 50-percent more likely to die about 7.5 years earlier.
A Swedish study notes that as siblings are a crucial part of a child's development, maintaining a strong connection with their brood even well into adulthood is associated with overall health and happiness.