Fun things to do with your niece

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11 Easy Ways To Build An Unbreakable Bond With Your Niece/Nephew

By Ekta Sharma Bhatnagar


Are you a first-time aunt/uncle and you just can’t contain your happiness? Want to spend most of your time with your little niece/nephew, but always fall short of ideas on how to form that close bond with them?

Well, worry not! We have something for you!

Read on to know how you can make the most of this relationship and strengthen the bond with your niece/nephew.

11 ways to bond with your niece/nephew:

1) Have Fun, Make Memories

It’s amazing to be with a baby or toddler and see him/her smile or laugh at your silly antics. Right?

Give him/her a reason to smile. Try to be his/her favourite person.

Make the most of your time with your niece/nephew.

Cherish the experiences: capture the moments, take pictures or videos, and take pride in treasuring this relationship.

How about a selfie to tell the world you are the coolest aunt/uncle to the cutest girl/boy?

2) Be A Good Example

Your little champion probably thinks you’re the coolest company to be with. He/she looks up to you, so do your best to be a good example and role model.

For instance, be punctual, well-dressed, maintain hygiene, respect elders, and never use profanities. Be a good influence.

3) Shape Their Interests

As an aunt/uncle, you have great power in moulding your niece/nephew’s personality and interests. Encourage and support him/her.

Take them out for a hobby or nature trail. Don’t be someone who comes home with a high-end smartphone for kids to explore because the child should love you, not your possessions.

“Adults, say uncles and aunts, must use their power in moulding kids with utmost responsibility because for kids it’s the age that forms the foundation of their being,” says Somya Batta, who’s part of an NGO that works with kids.

4) Give Thoughtful Gifts

If you want to shower your love on your niece/nephew, then gifting is a great gesture.

Be somebody who gets thoughtful gifts for kids—books, sports equipment, science games, funky accessories, or school stationery.

Check with their parents if there’s something that the kids want that makes for a meaningful gift. Psychologists agree that expensive gifts or fast food aren’t a way to win their love.

As an aunt/uncle, you are part of the family. So think of things you would want to do with your own child when you’re with your niece/nephew.

Looking to gift something special to your niece/nephew? Take a look>>

5) Be One Of Them

Kids love to play and have someone who can do things as per their wish. While parents may be too busy, aunts/uncles can be fun people to be around.

“I love spending time with my niece and nephew. I play games with them, have tea with their dolls, draw cats and animals, and do cool stuff. In return I get pure love and uncountable kisses,” says Udaibir Singh, a media professional from Mumbai.

“They like me because I can be a kid and a grown-up at the same time who takes them out for ice cream!” he added.

6) Follow Parents’ Rules

Fulfill their wishes, do mad things but don’t break the discipline rules your siblings have set for their kids.

If parents want you not to offer them junk food, or maintain their bedtime respect their wishes. Of course, you can take them out for films and playtime, but keep in mind their home rules.

7) Offer To Babysit

As aunt/uncle, you can spend good amount of time with your nephew/niece and also give their parents a break.

Be ready to take care of kids when your siblings have some urgent work or an office party to attend. After all, you’re family and kids will be happy to be with you, without an overlooking parent.

Plan your time well and do something special in this exclusive time.

8) Always Keep Your Promises

If you cannot promise, don’t promise. It isn’t cool to make a promise to a child and later forget about it. Remember, kids will not forget.

They are sensitive and have an impressionable mind. So don’t hurt their feelings, or shake their trust. If you have promised to buy them comic books, or take them for a superhero film, do it.

Even parents will not want their kids to be around a forgetful and careless aunts/uncles.

9) Remember Important Dates

Besides birthdays, try to be with your nephew/niece on his/her important days like sports day, annual day, karate championship, etc. and perhaps, her doll’s birthday!

Witness his/her performance, planning, and joy. Always praise them for their efforts. Give kudos to your little niece/nephew for small achievements. Give him/her a reason to smile.

“My niece is the happiest when I take time out to attend her school events,” says Nisha Sharma, a proud aunt to a 4-year-old.

10) Be In Touch

Keep the relationship going on even as the kid grows up. Visit or call often. Don’t wait for a reason or special occasion to be with your nephew/niece. He is the reason, show your love for him/her. Be an awesome Uncle or Aunt!

11) Provide Emotional Support

Many kids just need encouragement. You can encourage them to try out new things or to be more positive. They should know that they can depend on you if something happens, even if they don’t actually need your support.

So now you know how to bond with your niece/nephew, right?

Do you have any ideas or tips for being a cool aunt/uncle? Then share them with us in the ‘Comments’ section!

Image Credit: Philippe Put; Eli Duke

How To Engage Children – The Essential Guide

  • 5 Ideas for Fun Things To Do With Your Nieces and Nephews

    If your nieces or nephews are like many kids, they’re probably pretty crazy about you. After all, there’s nothing quite like the time that they get to spend with their aunts and their uncles.

    However, given the competition that some aunts and uncles face in terms of grandparents who also want their special time with their favorite kids, play dates with friends, school, sports, and the ever-present lure of video games and TV shows, it can be hard to carve time for things to do with your niece and nephew for those extra-special experiences where you create those standout memories – the ones that last for a lifetime.

    So the next time you’re planning some fun things to do with your nieces and nephews, try one of these five ideas to help you put together something truly memorable:

    Give them the chance to try something they’ve never done with Mom and Dad.

    The quickest way to win cool points with your favorite short people – and create memories that last a lifetime – is to give them an experience that they have never had with their parents. These not-the-usual things to do may be adventures to have at home, like a campout in the living room, a scavenger hunt in the yard or an indoor treasure hunt.

    Or, they can be events and activities that require you to get in the car and go somewhere, like a theme restaurant they’ve never tried before, a drive out in the country, a picnic in a park they’ve never visited, or a “memory lane” trip to see the important landmarks from your own growing up years.

    Check out some live entertainment.

    If your niece or nephew tends to spend a lot of time watching their favorite shows on the DVR or playing digital games, it’s high time that they discovered the joys of live entertainment. Options to consider include dinner shows, community theatre or productions at your local high school or college, concerts in the park, and music performances at local churches.

    Have a surprise party.

    You can build excitement about your afternoon or evening with your nieces and nephews by letting them know a few days in advance that they are going to have an outing with you – but that they’re not going to know what the outing involves until they arrive at your destination. Add to the fun and suspense with a systematic campaign in the days leading up to the event by dropping some strategic hints.

    For example, if you’re going to take them to a slumber party at the zoo, you might make arrangements for a different clue to be placed at their breakfast table each morning: Animal crackers one day, gift bags with new pajamas in them the next, etc.

    Make them feel grown up.

    Add a little style and uniqueness to your outing by planning something with a grown up theme – for example, a “dinner party” at your house. You can ask the kids to RSVP, suggest a “host gift” if the event involves them coming to your home, and help them pick out fancy outfits. Even if the fare Is hotdogs and hamburgers, you can keep the theme going by using your best dish ware and glasses, and by having an “after dinner drink” of root beer floats or fancy lemonade.

    Try a Theme Night.

    A special theme for your outing can make the activity extra memorable and help increase the excitement leading up to the event. You can make it seasonal, like “Summer Kickoff” or “Christmas in July”, or you can do something historical, like “80s Night” or “Medieval Night”. Ask the kids to do some research ahead of time, or put together special outfits or costumes, to help get them into the spirit of things before the big day arrives. You can keep the theme going by having themed party favors, conversational topics, dinner items, and so forth.

    Fun Fall and Halloween Traditions With Your Nieces and Nephews

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    Dana Gutkowski

    I am the mother of none, but the very proud Aunt to four beautiful children. I did absolutely no work to create them, but I will do everything in my power to help raise them.

    Latest posts by Dana Gutkowski (see all)

    • Valentine’s Gift Ideas For Your Niece and Nephew – January 14, 2020
    • New Year’s Resolutions For Aunts – December 30, 2019
    • 11 Christmas Traditions To Start With Your Nieces and Nephews – December 6, 2019

    I love the fall. The leaves start changing, the air gets a little cooler and brisk, and let’s not forget about Halloween! As a child, I loved dressing up and going out trick or treating. Not so much because I loved getting candy, it was more so for the costumes! I LOVED picking out a new character every year and my Mom is very crafty. She would make all my costumes for me and that always meant a lot to me.

    Now as an adult it’s not much different. In fact, it’s even better because I get to celebrate with my nieces and nephews! Here are some fun things that you can do this year with your family during the fall and around Halloween! And if you’re a long-distance Auntie, no worries, I have an idea for you too!

    Halloween Costumes

    If you are a crafty Auntie you can help make their Halloween costumes or help with their makeup if needed. Sometimes kids want what’s popular, a princess, spiderman, pokemon, shopkins, etc. But if your nieces and nephews are anything like mine, they pick things that can’t be picked up off the shelf.

    Last year my nephew Jayden wanted to be a T.V. … I love his imagination and instead of saying we can’t get that, we had a lot of fun brainstorming on how to make him a T.V. Jayden had the reins on this one, so when he asked me made it happen. He wanted to be a flatscreen T.V. like the one he watches and he wanted Sponge Bob to be on the screen. So that’s what he got. And he was quite happy about it, which is the only thing that matters!

    My sister made the flat screen T.V. and I drew Sponge Bon to fit!

    If you’re not into arts and crafts, you can just go out and shop with them to see what they pick out. Or be there when it’s ordered online, however, your family does it. The important part is that you’re actively playing a part in their lives and creating memories.

    It’s a lot of fun to dress up in a theme if you can, but if you can’t, it’s still great to get in the festive mood. Head out trick or treating with them in a Halloween t-shirt or some fun Halloween leggings like the ones I’ve designed on Zazzle. Check them out!

    Halloween Bat Cute Funny Spooky TShirt
    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    Halloween Black Cat Cute Funny Spooky TShirt
    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    Black Cat Orange HALLOWEEN Funky Stylish Hipster Leggings
    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    Black HALLOWEEN Purple Bat Funky Stylish Hipster Leggings
    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    Fall Festivals

    Many churches, Fire Departments, and nursies hold fall festivals as a way to raise money or to get one last boost of business before the offseason. Attending a fall festival is a great weekend activity! The weather is usually cooler so you won’t be melting in the sun. Your local town or city probably has a lot of activities for kids. Many of them have pumpkins picking, face painting, make your own scarecrow, and more!

    One of my favorite places to go is White Post Farms on Long Island. My nieces and nephews love feeding the animals and they often have special events during the holidays. If you live on Long Island I highly recommend checking them out. Not only can you feed animals, but they also have pony rides, hayrides, live kids shows with magicians and dog trainers and more! It’s an easy and fun way to spend the day together!


    If you’re more of an indoor Auntie, there are a lot of fun indoor activities like crafting! I went looking around Pinterest to find some popular ones that are easy for all ages. Here’s what I’ve found:

    Fall Autumn Tree Painting with Cotton Balls

    Autumn Leaf Wreaths with Paper Plates

    Homemade Bird Feeders

    Leaf Lions with Printable Template

    Pumpkin Carving

    I found pumpkin carving to be a lot harder than it looks in pictures because the pumpkins are so thick and the tools you get to carve aren’t as sturdy as I’d like them to be – BUT it’s still fun.

    I have a lot of respect for those people that make amazing pumpkin carvings. It’s a lot of work and you might even break a sweat. However, being that I’ve done it before, I know that the ones that have larger cutouts are easier than ones that are translucent.

    Here are some examples:

    Easy Pumpkin Carving Templates for Kids


    Invite the kids over to make some Halloween treats! You can either pass them out to trick or treaters or eat them yourself! Here are some easy delicious desserts to make with the kids:

    Halloween eyeball Rice Krispy treats

    Halloween Pretzel Bites

    Hocus Pocus Spell Book Brownies


    Invite the kids over for some fun Halloween movie marathon! Some fun Halloween kid movies are Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hotel Transylvania and more! Do it for FREE with a 30 trial of Amazon Prime! The link is below to join!

    Join Prime Video Channels Free Trial

    For Long Distance Aunts

    It’s tough when you live so far away to celebrate the little events like Halloween. I know, I was a long-distance Aunt for 9 years before my family moved back to New York and 10 minutes from me!

    However, while they were living in Maryland, I still did things to celebrate when I couldn’t be there. You can too!

    So here are some things that you can do.

    Send a care package with fun Halloween treats and get their trick or treating started early.

    Buy a tin such as these to keep it nice and neat and fill it with their favorite candy or snacks!

    Happy Halloween Candy Tin
    by reflections06

    Cutie Halloween Ghosts Jelly Belly Candy Tin
    by reflections06

    Send a greeting card or postcard this Halloween to your niece or nephew.

    Never underestimate the power of the mail! Kids LOVE getting mail! Anything that has their name on it makes them SO HAPPY!

    I used to send letters as Santa. Yes, Santa. I get to capture their imagination, plant the seeds of possibilities, and inspire them with kind words and healthy habit reminders. They went NUTS for these cards and never suspected they were from me!

    Like me the hundreds of others sending letters from Santa from North Pole Notes, we are creating lasting memories for children to enjoy for years to come. You can see them and the other greeting cards by following the links below to my Zazzle store.

    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    Halloween Postcard Cute Black Cat Happy Halloween
    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    Halloween Postcard Cute Bat Happy Halloween
    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    Halloween Holiday October Pumpkin Santa Card
    by The_Enchanted_Aunt

    If you have some fun traditions that you do with your family that are different than the ones I mentioned, let me know in the comments below!

    Books about parenting flood the market — and for good reason — but parents aren’t the only individuals responsible for the well-being of their offspring. As the old adage says, it takes a village to raise a child. Grandparents, teachers, peers, siblings, and friends of parents are likely to play a significant role in a youngster’s development. One particularly unique relationship is that of the aunt.

    Growing up, my parents’ sisters and their brothers’ wives were pseudo-moms for me. Like my parents, they were present at life’s most significant moments: birthdays, school plays, religious rites of passage, and graduations. Unlike my parents, my aunts didn’t see me every single day, and ultimately, they weren’t responsible for my character formation, so they could spoil me and be an extra source of fun in my life. They were adult role models for me, offering living examples of how to handle challenges, engage with others, and find purpose in life.

    On top of positively impacting nieces and nephews, good aunt-ing also has the potential to strengthen relationships between adult siblings, bring joy to grandparents, and encourage the development of strong cousin relationships. In other words, the benefits of good aunt-ing stretch beyond the children in an extended family. Aunt-ing is important for the health of family relationships at large, and it deserves attention.


    Now that I am an aunt myself, I look at it as a wonderful opportunity to play a role in the lives of my nieces and nephews. Here are seven strategies for being a good aunt!

    1. Be involved in the little moments, as well as the big ones.

    Be in the everyday. Pick her up from school one afternoon a week so that you can hear about her day. Go back-to-school shopping with her and her mom. Be a spectator at her kiddie-soccer tournaments. If you can’t be present physically, be present electronically. Use FaceTime and Skype for weekly catch-up dates. With older nieces and nephews, send texts or Snapchats when you see something that reminds you of them. Social media makes everyday connection very easy. Or get old fashioned and write a letter or postcard. For little effort, snail mail brings great excitement!

    2. Have a special ritual with them.

    Whether attending a baseball game together every Summer, eating banana splits at the same ice cream shop to celebrate his birthday each year, or playing a pre-bedtime round of Go Fish every night of a family visit, a shared ritual can be so important. It will give him something to look forward to, joy in the moment of the activity, and fond memories to look back upon. Repetitious activity establishes a sense of continuity and security, no matter how ordinary the activity may seem to you.

    3. Spontaneously spoil them . . . within reason.

    Give her treats that you know she isn’t receiving from her parents. Obviously some discretion is needed with this strategy, as respecting your siblings’ and in-laws’ rules is a must for establishing harmony in the home. But treating your niece to a manicure or a fancy milkshake that you know your brother could never bring himself to buy? Do it!

    4. Take an interest in the details of their lives.

    Ask your nieces and nephews questions about their friends, toys, favorite foods, and hobbies. Your niece wants to tell you the name, family history, and zodiac sign of each of her 46 My Little Ponies? Your nephew wants to explain to you why Charizard will beat Bulbasaur in a round of Pokémon? Make yourself comfortable and pay close attention. Maya Angelou once wrote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Listening deeply and being interested in their interests will make your nephews and nieces feel important, valuable, and loved.

    5. Expose them to events that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience.

    Everyone has a limited number of hobbies, interests, and talents, including your niece and nephew’s parents. Maybe your sister and brother-in-law love attending sporting events but practically fall over with boredom at the mere mention of world history. Take your niece and nephew to the traveling dinosaur exhibit in your city’s natural history museum. If your brother and his wife hate the movie theater, make it a point to bring your nephew to see blockbuster kid flicks. And don’t forget to buy popcorn (see tip number three).

    6. Demonstrate love and respect for your nieces’ and nephews’ parents.

    It is easy to forget how much children want to feel proud of their parents, and it is equally easy to make negative comments about your siblings and in-laws in their kids’ presence. Make every effort to not only curb criticism but to also be generous with praise. Pull out your high school yearbook to show your nephew that his dad was voted “best all around” by his senior class. Tell your niece the story about the time her mom rescued a frightened cat from a neighbor’s oak tree. Little eyes and ears are always open, so compliment your sister-in-law’s pot roast, laugh at your brother’s jokes, and tell your siblings that you love them.

    7. Let your nieces and nephews know that you would do anything for them.

    No one wants to imagine car accidents, sickness, or acts of violence happening to their loved ones, but these tragedies do occur, and whether children talk about it or not, many of them fear losing a parent. While there is nothing you can do to eradicate this fear or shield your nephews and nieces from grief (real or potential), you can give them the sense of security that comes from knowing that they are deeply loved and cared for broadly. Why wait until tragedy strikes (if it ever does) to let them know that you are there for them through thick and thin? Simple words like “You mean the world to me” or “I will always be here for you” and your presence are all it takes.

    Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd

    When my sister got pregnant with her first child, I knew that my life was going to change forever: I now had someone to mold into a better, smarter version of myself! Her parents could worry about curfews and grades, I’d teach her how to really own all the world threw at her. My fellow P.A.N.K.s (translation: “professional aunt, no kids”) will understand: Being the cool aunt is a way of life. And so, if you say “yes” to any of the things below, you’re definitely in the Cool Aunts Club.

    1. You buy them really ridiculous things you know they don’t need.

    The exact robe Prince George has is finally back in stock AND on sale? Yes, please. Just ignore your sister or brother saying their kid doesn’t need more stuff. That kid always needs more stuff from you.

    Getty Images

    2. But if they act up, you remind them who’s getting all your money someday.

    Better behave kids or this old maid’s fortune is going to charity!

    3. You look back on a Saturday afternoon and realize you’re down $100.

    And all you have are Shopkins receipts, some zoo passes and a stomach ache to show for it.

    4. You find yourself talking to 10-year-olds like they’re adults.

    Break-ups, friend problems, work issues — yep, your niece has heard it all.

    5. You skip *real* workouts on the regular.

    Because you’re super sore from carrying a toddler around while shopping or running around like a mad woman at the park. And, hey, all that racks up the steps too.

    6. You cancel plans with your adult best friend to hang out with your toddler best friend.

    Sure, my three-year-old niece hardly listens to me and only wants to talk about Peppa Pig’s brother George, but she’s so cute and doesn’t mind when I go to bed at 10 p.m.

    7. You can’t help but roll your eyes when your sibling coddles her kid.

    Because you know when he really needs a hug and when he just needs to

    8. You gossip about their parents on the regular.

    But you also know when to remind them how lucky they are to have parents who care.

    9. You’ve sat them down and made them watch all of your favorite ’80s movies.

    Molly Ringwald is a queen and your niece better not forget it. In return, she teaches you how to “streak” on Snapchat.

    10. You know the exact song they need to hear no matter the situation.

    There are very few problems “Karma Chameleon” by Boy George can’t solve. Bonus points if you queue up the video on YouTube too.

    11. You’ve been tipsy around them … more than once.

    But all that means is you’re giving them more kisses and reminding them how great they are.

    12. You’re constantly researching all the new places you want to take them.

    There’s a new museum that’s supposed to turn kids into geniuses? Two tickets, please.

    13. And tagging their parents in everything you see on Facebook that they need to worry about.

    OMG, don’t let Madeline play with fidget spinners anymore! They’re dangerous! (And super annoying.)

    14. You try to keep a straight face when the kid curses …

    … and act as if you haven’t accidentally said s–t in front of them a few times now and bribed them to never tell on you.

    15. You’re the master of telling embarrassing family stories.

    Whether it’s about that time Grandma got drunk at a party or when your sister peed her pants on a family road trip, you’ve got these kids hooked.

    16. You’ve gained a few pounds since they’ve been born.

    Alas, just because you’re hanging out with a teenager, you can’t really eat like one anymore.

    17. You spend babysitting weekends trying HARD to pull off all of those crazy Pinterest projects.

    But let’s be honest, you both want a DIY stress ball.

    18. You’ll probably be the first one to slip them their first drink.

    What’s a little sip of champagne at 17? You’re at a family wedding and neither of you is driving.

    19. You’re obviously always encouraging them to HAVE FUN.

    Take the semester abroad, try that trapeze class, join the local roller derby team. You’re only young once!

    20. You love them more than anything.

    And the feeling is mutual.

    7 Ways To Be The Best Aunt Ever

    I’m currently an aunt to three beautiful, high spirited nieces of the ages 5, 2 and 2-months, and one handsome, spunky 4-year-old nephew. Being an aunt or uncle is without a doubt one of the top most important opportunities in your life. And who doesn’t get fulfillment in seeing those them wearing a cute onesie that proudly says, “My Auntie Loves Me!”

    Those children have and will steal your heart, and what better way to be an aunt than by striving to show them that love! Whether you’re currently an aunt to young ones, or even one day will be, here are my top seven secrets to being the best auntie imaginable, to those special little children that deserve it:

    1. Show them they’re loved by you.

    With children being so pure and warm hearted, they immediately gravitate to those who show them love and affection. Make sure to always tell them you love them and that they know they are beautiful and handsome. Overwhelm them with hugs and kisses, even when they’re stubborn and refuse to pay any acknowledgement because an episode of “Curious George” is on. Though children are young and may not understand, they respond positively with bright eyed faces because children sure do love attention!

    2. Be their human jungle gym.

    What do kids love more than to climb all over anything and everything? Especially when that something is their auntie. And don’t you dare tell them it hurts, because our pain only fuels their excitement. Getting on the floor and playing fun games with them is truly the quickest way to their little hearts. They love knowing auntie is a big kid and is willing to get wild and crazy with them!

    3. Don’t be afraid to discipline them. Lovingly, of course!

    Many times as the aunt or uncle we get this idea that we have to be the fun and easy-going relative and we leave the “non-fun stuff” to mommy and daddy. But it’s so important to understand that showing love is also teaching them, when they do something they shouldn’t, that you love them enough to teach them right from wrong. Through love and conversation, we as aunts should be responsible for helping direct them along the right path. They’ll get over it quickly and respect you more for it!

    4. Spend real quality time with them!

    Make sure they know they have your undivided attention. It’s not always easy! Quite frankly, it can be downright exhausting! But we will continue to smile and tell them they are the greatest player ever at the “Subway Surfers” app on the iPad. Even after the 200th time around, it’s well worth it to see the smiles that illuminate from their sweet little faces!

    5. Let them sleep over!

    My oldest niece is at the age where sleepovers are like mini-holidays! It’s so important to spend that extra quality time with the kiddos, watching movies, playing games and baking cookies. It builds strong bonds.

    6. Let them call you ridiculous names!

    For a good solid year, I was known as either Auntie Christmas, or Auntie PooPoo! Yes, Auntie PooPoo. All the funny nicknames came straight from my nephew and were recycled by each niece. And let’s just say, I wasn’t too thrilled on some of the name choices. But soon they’ll mature and those nicknames will fade, so let them make innocent fun of you and call you names that make them laugh through the roof! That’s their way of bonding! I mean, we’re the fun Aunties, right?!

    7.Pray for and pray with them!

    Praying with and for your nieces and nephews is by far the best thing you can do for them. Praying brings you closer and although they don’t fully understand the concept of praying, they understand that you love them, and through prayer, you’re able to represent that love. Pray for them as they grow, that they will be deeply rooted in Christ and grow to be happy, healthy and know they’re always loved. Those special moments, you’ll both remember forever!

    How To Be A Good(Ish) Aunt

    The world brims with articles telling you how to be a good mum. Regardless of where you are in your life, your period cycle, your relationship status or whatever, there will be little hints and tips on how a woman (or girl!) can maintain a certain level of health and emotionally ready themselves for motherhood. But the funny thing is, not all of us are mums. Chances are, though, a fair whack of us are aunts, or are about to be aunts, to older (or maybe younger) siblings’ children. So, from someone who is simply an aunt to four incredibly sweet little creatures, here’s a no-nonsense guide on how to be a good-ish aunt.

    1. Don’t feel the pressure

    If you’re not yet an aunt then, well, first of all, why are you even reading this? Second of all, thanks for being here and just to let you know that the moment you find out you’re going to become an aunt (especially if it’s your own sister who’s up the duff), people will expect you to also show some motherly instincts. It’ll be in everything from ‘so when are YOU having a baby?’ to expectant eyebrow raises from your mum when someone tells you ‘oh, you’re pretty good with kids.’ The best way to deal with it, is either to point out your sibling’s general readiness for children, how they’re much more equipped to have one than you are, or to literally point to something unloveable your niece or nephew has done e.g. filled a nappy or drawn all over the wall in crayon.

    2. Babies only need three things

    If a baby’s crying, it’s likely they’re either hungry, need a burp or are about to/have just finished doing a poo. If you can make sure they’re fed, winded or changed, you’ll deserve a little fawning over for your aunt skills. To double up on your aunt points, be aware of secondary problems the baby may have by using your empathy. If a child’s crying in a room so warm you’ve had to take all but a t-shirt and shorts off? They’re probably hot in that mittens, puffa jacket and woolly hat combo. If the baby is wailing but you can barely hear it over the noise of pneumatic drills, then, well, why the fuck are you hanging out with a child by a building site? To do a social experiment on how to avoid wolf-whistles? Take the baby to the park.

    3. No swearing

    As cute as it is to hear a child say ‘fuck’, if you do hear a child saying it,the best thing to do is just ignore that they’ve said it otherwise they’ll cotton onto the fact the word is bad and just repeate it. And regardless of what you feel about children swearing, it’s not the cheekiness of the word that will upset people around them, it’s the fact they will repeat it over and over and over until it loses meaning. They say kids are like sponges, but genuinely, if I repeated a word 20 times in three minutes, I’d probably remember it. I’d also be pretty annoying.

    4. Pre-plan their presents

    So you want to get your nephew and niece a present at the same time? You’re going to have to plan those presents way in advance. It’s not only the hell of navigating your way past brats in tiny toyshops, or browsing through so many pages of John Lewis’s toys section that all your pre-roll adverts on YouTube end up flogging you Clear Blue pregnancy tests. It’s that boys’ toys are so much better than girls’ ones. It’s 2015, and the predilection is for companies to not only make girls’ presents abundantly pink and garish and princess-driven, or focusing purely on ornamental things like dress-up and beauty.

    5. Spoil them

    The best element of aunthood is you can saunter in and out of your niblings’ (that’s the name of both nephews and nieces) lives armed with gifts and sweets and anything else to spoil them rotten, and then saunter straight out of the situation. You don’t have to un-train them from only eating when their spoonful of dinner comes with aeroplane noises, you don’t have to deal with the child crying the morning after their birthday when they realise that presents won’t come every single day for eternity and that one day life will get real and they’re having to check a gas meter or fix a leaky bin. And if you’re only visiting your niblings occasionally, you also don’t have to be the boring/bad guy who makes them do mundane tasks they’re sick of. That is, until you’re babysitting and you try to brush their teeth.

    6. Don’t let them take the piss

    As much as it is easy to spoil them, remember that the more you spoil your nieces and nephews, the higher their expectations will grow. So you’ll end up having to deal with disappointed faces when you bring them a present they’ve either already been given, or a gift that, for all its high status in your childhood, carries no kudos with today’s kids. Like Pogs, or Beanie Babies. Oh, and if you are only seeing them every now and then, watch out for the fact they will play up and perform around you. Stop this by NOT laughing when they play a dinnertime game of shouting out ‘bum’ as loudly as they can at random intervals.

    7. Make space on your phone for photos

    It’s kind of sickening to see the babies or children of people you don’t know or care about clogging up your news feed on various social media. But when you see babies whose faces are a combination of someone who looks a bit like you (your sibling) along with whoever they’re procreated with, you’re basically seeing a tiny version of a tiny part of yourself crawling about with their chubby legs and gurgly cheeks. What would stop you from wanting to take a photo of that? Narcissism is a huge proponent of most Instagram photos, and your niece or nephew isn’t only a cute little kid, they’re a part-mirror of yourself!

    8. Be careful where you put them

    Sometimes people’s parents don’t want their kids’ images broadcasted the world over. Or maybe they’re cool with it, but don’t want their kids’ names out there. It’s really up to them and just a little note – it’s a bit ethically weird to post pictures of other people’s kids on social media without their parents permission. Have the conversation with your sibling and their partner, find out what they’d like for their kid.

    9. The mistakes you make might just be the same ones their parents make. Relax!

    I once gave my nephew a tiny little bit of haemorrhoid cream (it’s good for breastfeeding mums) because I thought it was teething gel. Freaking out that it could make him ill, I fed myself some of the haemorrhoid cream and then freaked out further that, if we had to go to A&E, I’d be ridiculed for being so stupid as to poison us both. Turns out haemorrhoid cream isn’t that dangerous at all (we’re both alive to this day, but of course I’d never recommend you eat it or feed it to a child) and that parents do this stupid stuff all the time. It’s just they learn from their mistakes a little bit sooner.

    Like this? You might also be interested in:

    Things You Only Know If You’re An Older Sister

    Telling Women To Start Trying For Babies Before 30 Isn’t Remotely Empowering

    Things You Only Know If Your Younger Sister Has Babies Before You

    Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

    This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

    The Importance Of Being A Cool Aunt Is So Much More Than A Title

    The minute your sister or brother has a kid, you’re immediately upgraded to aunt status. How you approach this new title determines whether you’re a cool aunt, or a regular aunt. (Believe me — there’s a clear difference.) You may already be aware, and competing for that top spot against your other siblings. Though, for some of you, you might be wondering, what is the importance of being a cool aunt?

    Well, not only does it give you bragging rights among your family as the greatest aunt in the history of aunts, but the love you feel for your niece and nephew is absolutely priceless. Think back to your childhood, and I’m sure you have tons of memories of that one aunt who truly went above and beyond for you. Be that person for your niece and nephew. Not only are you bestowed the awesome title, but these seven key things make the cool aunt a rockstar among your favorite kids in the whole world.

    The status is great, but the real treat of it all is that you love your nieces and nephews more than anything, so why wouldn’t you want to be known as the greatest of all time? It definitely feels good to be cool.

    1. You’re There For All The Fun Times


    A cool aunt delivers the fun, and she’s also the best cheerleader. Of course, you’ll likely be tasked with babysitting and taking care of your niece and nephew as well, but for the most part, you’re there to spoil the heck out of your favorite little kids. Enjoy going on park outings, museum visits, cheering from the sidelines at their soccer games, and eating the best ice cream sundaes. These are the memories that will last a lifetime.

    2. You’re Practicing What It’s Like To Be A Parent

    Gabrielle Lutze/Stocksy

    Being an aunt gives you the opportunity to practice for when, and if, you choose to have some kids of your own someday. You get to experience spending the majority of your time with kids you love, and all of the beauty that comes with being a parent.

    3. You’re Making A Ton Of #CoolAunt Memories For The ‘Gram


    Since the cool aunt gets to go on all of the best play dates, you are constantly taking silly selfies and hilarious videos for the ‘Gram together. You’ll cherish these memories for years to come. Some of these might even be awesome throwback pics for your nieces and nephews to use when they grow up.

    4. You’re Someone’s Role Model


    To this day, my aunt is still one of my biggest role models. Even as an adult, I’m constantly looking up to her. You want to be put on the same pedestal for your niece and nephew, and always be there to give them the best advice. It’s a hard job, but it’s worth it for the positive influence you’ll have in their lives.

    5. Let’s Be Real: It’s A Sweet Little Ego Boost


    Let’s be real here: It feels pretty cool to be loved and adored by everyone who matters most to you. When you’re the cool aunt, you’re like the most popular family member to all of your nieces and nephews. It’s a surefire way to boost your ego, and you’re totally not hating it.

    6. You Get To Act Like A Kid Again, With Your Favorite Kids

    Studio Firma/Stocksy

    Being the cool aunt requires you to tap back into your childhood and just be silly. You get to do things like read bedtime stories, play dress-up, host tea parties, and spend summer afternoons swinging at the park with your nieces and nephews. Doing these activities will make you feel like a kid again, and will also keep you in the know of what’s trending now.

    7. Nothing Beats The Hugs You Get When You’re Loved So Much


    The best thing in the world is getting a hug from your nieces and nephews. You really can’t put a price tag on that. Let me clue you in on some insider information: When you’re the cool aunt, your hugs are just a little bit tighter.

    What To Do When Your Niece or Nephew Won’t Talk To You

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    • Bio
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    I am the mother of none, but the very proud Aunt to four beautiful children. I did absolutely no work to create them, but I will do everything in my power to help raise them.

    • Valentine’s Gift Ideas For Your Niece and Nephew – January 14, 2020
    • New Year’s Resolutions For Aunts – December 30, 2019
    • 11 Christmas Traditions To Start With Your Nieces and Nephews – December 6, 2019

    Do you have a niece or nephew that’s giving you the silent treatment? Were you really close to them at one point, but now it feels like you’re strangers?

    So what it is about kids? One minute they love us and the next they don’t want anything to do with us. It happens to everyone and from children of all ages.

    Most of the time is has nothing to do with your relationship. Children are very emotional and sometimes emotions are confusing for everyone.

    It’s important that you don’t take their fickle behavior personally. Rather, try to put their lives into perspective. It’s not about you, it’s about them. So what might make them stop talking to you out of no where?

    Before you start tearing out your hair and blaming yourself, take a step back for a second and consider a few things first.

    1.) How old are they?

    If you’re dealing with a toddler, their moods fluctuate not only dramatically, but also within a short period of time. If they’re going through a growth spirt, if they’re sick, if they haven’t pooped – all of these things might set them off and you may get the silent treatment for a period of time.

    If your niece or nephew are older, they might not have as a dramatic reaction to every little thing, but nonetheless, their emotions and hormones might be getting the best of them. It’s part of their growing pains.

    2.) Was there a major change in their life?

    Have their parents recently separated or divorced? Did they just move homes or schools? Has ther been a loss in the family?

    Any major life change will set anyone off kilter. It takes time for new realities to settle in. They may be experiencing grief or feel lost and confused by their new circumstances.

    3. When was the last time you saw them?

    If you’re a long distance Aunt or family member and you’re trying to maintain a relationship with your niece or nephew, sometimes just being physically apart and then back together again will make children a little stand-offish.

    They might be so excited to see you on Skype or FaceTime, but once you’re in person again, they look at you as if you’re a zombie waiting to eat their brains.

    I’ve experienced all of these circumstances both as a long distance Aunt and with my niece who’s parents separated. I’ve gotten the cold shoulder, the looks of mistrust even though I didn’t do anything to set them off. And I know I’m not alone either. There are many others out there have experienced the same thing.

    Fortunately, I’m not longer experiencing this dilemma. With time and consistent efforts (and by efforts I mean doing next to nothing), we’ve made our way back to our loving relationship.

    So what do you do when you find yourself in this position?

    It’ll all depend on why you’re receiving the silent treatment or emotional and physical distance from the child to know how to handle it. First, evaluate your personal situation. Once you have a better understand, you might find it beneficial to you to try the following:

    1.) Don’t take it personally.

    Whatever the struggle is that the child may be experiencing is just that – their struggle. If they’re giving you the silent treatment or have withdrawn from your relationship, it’s about their emotional struggle and internal battle.

    If there haven’t been any fights or flat out disagreements between you two, it most likely has nothing to do with you. So don’t make it about you.

    2.) Reach out to them, but don’t smother them.

    It’s important for children to know that you’re there for them to talk to you, but it’s also important for them to make the decision to do the talking.

    Sometimes all it takes is for them to have some space to sort out their emotions.

    3.) Don’t force yourself on them.

    Sometimes it’s hard to fight the parental instinct to want to protect, fix, and mend anything that’s causing pain and discomfort to a child. You want to get down to the nitty gritty and find out what’s causing their problems. But then we inevitably become overbearing and annoying. And that’ll drive them further away.

    Instead, give them space. That means physically, emotionally, and intellectually – they need time to sort out their problems. It doesn’t mean that you have to disappear from plain sight or cut off communication completely. Continue to check in with them, no matter what their age.

    4.) Don’t Try To Fix The Problem

    More than likely, you won’t have the solution to their problem. If they are coming to you for advice, that’s one thing, but if they’re not speaking to you for the time being, they’re entitled to their silence and space.

    Children of all ages have to learn how to problem solve. From tiny toddlers to transforming teenagers, problem solving is key to growing up.

    4.) Ignore it

    You might be experiencing the silent treatment because it’s an attention seeking behavior. Instead of taking the bait, ignore the silent treatment all together and go about your business as if nothing was wrong.

    Your siblings are mean to your kids. Your kids adore them anyway. Should you rock the boat?

    Parent advice (from our panel of staff contributors):

    By all means, rock it. Slowly or violently. Eventually the kids are going to have their feelings hurt by Uncle Ernie and Aunt Gert. If Ernie and Gert are unconsciously mean, take them aside and gently explain your concerns. If they’re just mean-spirited jerks who take pleasure in this type of cruelty to children, tell them to knock it off or they won’t see you or the kids again.

    — Bill Hageman

    I think I would let my kids torture my siblings with affection. If the sibs are still mean, the kids will figure it out and change their minds, and the sibs will be showing their true colors. Who has time for such people in our lives?

    — Dodie Hofstetter

    A private, “When you said X to Jamie, that hurt me. Please don’t do that,” should establish parameters. If you say, “That hurt Jamie,” that’s a point that can be disputed, with “Jamie seems fine to me” or “He seems to like us just fine.” But “that hurt me” establishes, “When you hurt my kids, you have me to deal with.” If needed, you can add, “If this happens again, I won’t wait for a quiet moment alone to deal with it.”

    — Phil Vettel

    Expert advice:

    You’ve probably figured this out already, but your siblings are likely projecting their feelings about you onto your children.

    Maybe you were the favored child. Maybe you were the obnoxious troublemaker child. Maybe you were simply the child who had the poor judgment to go and be born, forever disrupting your siblings’ perfectly balanced universe.

    “Anything that doesn’t make sense on the surface usually has historic roots,” says psychotherapist Jeanne Safer, author of “Cain’s Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy and Regret” (Basic Books). “The uncle and aunt are very easily thrown into the past and begin to view the niece or nephew as their sibling. They no longer behave like adults, but as peers of their own niece or nephew.”

    Charming! Now what do you do about it?

    The fact that your kids adore them indicates your siblings are not always mean, and possibly even have some positive, fun qualities. In which case, Safer says, you’ve got some material with which to work.

    “Tell your siblings, ‘Look, my daughter loves you, and you’re great with her some of the time. But some of the time you’re really a jerk, and I’m not going to let you spend time with her if you keep it up. It’s not good for her,’ ” Safer suggests. “You’ve got to protect your kids from the confusing messages they’re receiving.”

    Very little good is likely to come from trying to drag your own relationship with your sibling into the conversation, Safer says.

    “I wouldn’t even try to go into the past,” she says. “You’ve likely never experienced true brotherhood or sisterhood with these siblings, and you may need to grieve that and then find it psychologically with your peers.

    “Biology,” she adds, “is only one kind of tie.”

    Have a solution? Your daughter spends 45 minutes each way on the bus to middle school. Is there a way for her to minimize the boredom? Email us at [email protected]