I'm not an expert at sibling affection (as if), but I do have brothers and a female cousin who seems particularly attached to me. So, since I can at least relate to older sisters and sister-figures, I thought I'd share my own personal experience on what makes you cool to people with fewer years behind them. Please note that these tips are neither in order of importance nor infallible.
Also, I'm not going to list "be patient" or "be nice." If you're reading this post, then you obviously want to be a cool older sister, so you should already know those things are both important and impossible to master.
- Keep up your personal appearance. Younger brothers don't really care what you look like, while younger sisters may or may not care. Still, they notice - consciously or not - when you can put together colors or patterns that look nice or when you've got an awesome hairdo. Later, this translates to "She can help me pick which tie goes with these pants" or "Maybe she'll do my hair today."
- Have candy. Any kind - even if it's just mints - in your purse, your room, your car, it doesn't matter. Just have it and be willing to share it.
- Share an interest. My brothers and I all enjoy reading, some of us more than others, but we share books or recommendations with each other. They'll come into my room at random intervals begging for something to read, and sometimes they even surprise me at their willingness to read "girly books."
- Have a nice room. It doesn't have to be impressive. Just a clean floor, a bed that's made (so they can flop onto it and mess up), a nice chair, bright colors, good lighting - any/all of these things make a difference. Trust me. My brothers spend more time in my room than their own.
- Have Internet access and experience. This is huge. You don't have to have your own laptop and blog like I do, but siblings definitely like an older sister who can help Google articles for their research paper or find something they can do on a rainy Saturday. If you're new to the wealth of information that is the Internet, Pinterest is always a good place to start. *knowing wink*
- Try new things. A lot. This includes recipes (my brothers now love my cake batter milkshakes), crafts (like these popsicle stick bows and arrows), games (which may involve teaching them or them teaching you how to play something) - anything at all that you haven't done before!
- Keep up with deals, coupons, and especially freebies. Yes, I'm talking those coupon mom blogs and the email newsletters with this week's WalMart cashback deals. They'll be boring and make you feel like a complete dork, but that'll pass and you'll start to love the little gems you find - like the Facebook deal that landed me an entire bag of Lindt truffles for free! A good place to start (and my personal favorite) is the Money-Saving Mom enewsletter.
- Share a talent. I'm good at planning parties, so when Nick's birthday rolled around this year, he and I had already spent weeks talking about and preparing for it. We had a blast with streamers everywhere, a scavenger hunt and human board game, pinata cookies, and lots of other stuff I found online. Maybe you could teach your little sister to catch every soccer ball coming her way, or knit a fun hat for your little brother.
- Converse with them frequently. Notice I said neither "listen to them" nor "talk to them" - because conversing is both! All cool older sisters make their siblings feel included in their lives, so tell them about your trip to the mall last week and listen - with interest, pay attention! ask questions! - to them drone on about the lastest Mario Wii game. Naturally this doesn't mean either of you will spill every detail of your life with the other. Just be more open!
- Get (or make) good presents. You know how important presents are to kids. So pay attention to what they want and be willing to spend more money then you'd like or more time than you'd planned on that video game, homemade giftcard, or manicure set.
- Play with them. I don't care if you're scared she'll snag your doll's old sweater on the velcro or if you don't even know how to walk, much less jump, on the stupid moving Mario blocks. Play with them, be willing to look ridiculous, and you will earn super-mega cool points.
- Help with their homework. Do I have to explain this one?
- Help with their chores. This is as important as presents and as self-explanatory as homework. Don't wait to be asked, either, because odds are they'll never think to until you offer.