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One of our Family Support Workers shares an activity they do with siblings to help them cope and manage their emotions.

One idea for working with siblings that I found useful was the following activity:

You get all the siblings in the family to draw around then cut out their handprints, about 4-6 each is good.

Then decorate the handprints however you like, this can range from simply sticking stickers on, to decorating the nail area with tiny gems or drawing henna designs on the hand.

Then get a large piece of card (either black, brown or green) and cut out the shape of a tree trunk, then cut it up and out to make thick branches. Place the handprints on each of the branches.

I used this once with an ill child and his two siblings, the ill child was too sick to decorate his handprint himself but his siblings helped to finish them off for him, the older sibling than wrote about five lines on white paper on how they loved each other, this was then glued at the bottom of the tree trunk. They presented it to their parents at Christmas about two months after the ill child had died. Mum and Dad were so impressed with it that they bought a clear A3 photo frame and it was hung up at the top of the stairs with a light fitted above so they always could see it.

I also used to work with a sibling who was very sensible and protective of his younger sister, who was unwell and often held back on having fun and some time for himself. During one visit we played an act it out game with him and his younger brother; it was great fun and we were all laughing for the whole visit. For me, it was so rewarding and lovely to see him smile and forget about things for a while and great for Mum to watch him laugh out loud and be a bit silly for a change!

  1. Draw around your hand.
  2. Inside your hand, draw or write everything that is important to you and is good about your life.
  3. Around your hand, draw or write all your worries, fears or concerns.