As a kid, I remember exploring my family’s backyard with my cousins practically every time they came to visit. We’d play on the swings, jump on the trampoline, climb our favorite tree, and anything else our combined imaginations could come up with.
To this day, my cousins are not only my cherished family members but also some of my closest friends. The bonds we developed as children have stayed with us our whole lives and only continue to grow stronger as we age together.
I know my experience with my cousins isn’t an unusual one. Kids need cousins because they are often the first friends they have in their lives. They’re the ones that show up for childhood birthday parties, Christmas celebrations, and family reunions. They’re the ones that can have some of the most profound impacts on children’s lives.
What Makes Cousins So Special
Beyond typical reasons for family meet-ups, bringing children together with their cousins can build strong bonds between them and fortify memories they create. The friendships these playdates inspire can last a lifetime and there’s a reason for that.
Kids need cousins because they are like the siblings they never had. This can especially make a difference for only children. I personally remember telling my own cousins how much I wished they could just be my sisters and stay with me forever. We always hated it when one of us would have to leave to go home.
When hard times befall us, as they are bound to, having close family members like cousins can help provide a sense of support and security that you can’t find anywhere else. Cousins can help bring smiles back into the picture as well as share in the pain and heartache. They help you remember that you’re not alone and you will come out OK on the other side.
Because you come from the same family, cousins can understand you on a level that most other people can’t. They can have a better understanding of your family dynamics. They can help talk you through times when you’re butting heads with another family member and can even be the push you need to “kiss and make-up.”
Cousins are the type of friends that can pick things right back up with you wherever you left off. It’s not often that all your cousins live nearby. There can be long stretches of time where you don’t see each other. But as soon as you’re back together, it’s as if no time has passed at all. Friendships like that are rare and truly special.
Kids Really Do Need Their Cousins
If you are fortunate to have cousins as some of your closest friends, I hope you know how amazing that is! I also hope you reach out to them and let them know just how much they mean to you. If you are a parent with children who have cousins they can spend time with, take the opportunity to bring them together as often as possible so that, no matter what, your kids can have friends that can be by their side for the rest of their lives.