Tips for Maintaining a Strong Sibling Relationship During College

Is your child missing their college sibling? Are they having trouble adjusting to the new family dynamic? Like you, they’re probably feeling the change, and the loss of the sibling bond, as well—but they may not be as vocal about it.

While researching this topic, I came across an article on how college often improves sibling relationships  — and I’d have to agree with the author and Washington University alum, Sarah Baicker.

My brother was starting high school when I was starting college, so we were both experiencing big changes, but the new breathing room between us made way for a better relationship with fewer arguments. Dr. Baum-Baicker, a clinical psychologist, puts it best:

 “Sibling relationships in adulthood tend to mirror what they were in childhood. It’s like a rubber band. If the relationship was good in childhood, it will snap back.”


My relationship with my brother definitely snapped back when I started school. Soon I was sending him facebook messages, and he’d email me his favorite youtube videos. The first few months, I’d even call him just to see how my parents were holding up without me at home. It’s important to keep this in mind though:

“If the relationship in childhood wasn’t close, it will probably become distant after the college transition,” said Dr. Baum-Baicker.


To help your children maintain a good sibling relationship while one is in college, shoot this article their way: Helping Your College Student With Sibling Relationships . It has a lot of great tips for before your student leaves for school, once they’ve left and when they return home for a visit.

Here are some quick tips on how you can help your kids maintain a good Sibling Relationship:

-Include siblings when getting your kid ready for college.
-Help your children unbottle their emotions and share their feelings.
-Suggest your college student spend some quality time with their siblings.

The one tip I came across that I wish my mom had thought to do is this: Ask a sibling to help prepare a care package to send to their college sibling. My mom’s care packages were honestly great, but one from my brother would have been pretty cool, too. If he had chosen items to include in the package, I think he’d put some of his favorite CDs in there, a funny movie, some candy we loved growing up, a new pair of headphones and possibly a silly toy or something random to remind me of when we were crazy kids.

So when one of your kids moves away, there’s no reason to think that’s the end of their close sibling bond. If they make the effort to keep in contact—and you’re there to remind them if they start slacking—I’ll bet you’ll see their bond grow even stronger. This can definitely help your child deal with the changes that your college going kid will bring about in the family dynamics.