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When you are a mother or father of more than one child, one of your biggest aspirations is for your kids to love and support one another. And while at times, you may wonder if this will ever be possible (hello sibling rivalry) it’s not only possible but probable with these tips.

One of the main reasons why I didn’t stop at one was because I wanted my children to have a support system. It might sound silly, but as someone who grew up pretty close to my sibling, I wanted my son to have the same experience. In my mind, I imagined this would just happen. But soon after my second son was born, I began to realize that I needed to encourage their relationship to help it along.

If you are like me and have more than one child, you likely want nothing more than for your children to be there for each other and to develop a relationship. Here are some ways you can help foster that relationship.

1. Don’t compare them.

Don’t ever compare them or pit them against each other, even jokingly. Doing so will only divide them and while it may seem innocent enough, it’s imperative to encourage bonding early on.

2. Encourage them to be team players.

Get them to play on the same team during family game nights, or if they both are on the same page about a discussion, encourage that. It might sound counterproductive, but if they gang up on you as a team, let them to a certain extent, because doing so will encourage them to work together.

3. Pay attention to their mutual interests.

If you notice they have mutual interests, encourage them. For example, they may both love horror films or painting, whatever it is, if you notice they have something in common, use that to bring them closer.

4. If they have no shared interests, let them know that’s okay too.

And if they don’t have any shared interests, that is okay too. Help them to understand how they balance each other out and while one may be strong in one area and the other strong in another, let them see how that is a good thing.

5. Emphasize empathy.

Always help them to see and to empathize with their siblings. If their sibling is acting in a way that upsets them, explain to them what they might not be able to see. For example, one sibling may be ignoring the other, not to be mean but because they are upset or dealing with a struggle of their own. Help them to understand each other.

6. Host family meals.

Make sure to make time for family meals. Make this a priority, and during family meals, have a real discussion. Ask each of your kids how they are, and what they have been up to, and encourage them to communicate with one another.

7. Spend quality time together.

Make sure to spend some quality time with one another. Of course, there will be times when this isn’t possible all of the time- but any time you see an opportunity, take it.

8. Don’t take sides.

Never, ever take sides when your kids are arguing. When you do, you are only further dividing them. That isn’t to say that you cannot empathize with one or the other, but don’t take sides.