If you're lucky enough to have a sister, sister-in-law, or even best friend that's assumed the role of rockstar auntie, you know that there are just some things the best aunts do that make your kiddos light up like it's Christmas morning. In my sister's case, all she needs to do is walk in the room for there to be wild screams of excitement. And it's true, the people who put the time and energy into being awesome aunts can achieve bonafide celebrity status.
My sister was the very first person to come to the hospital after my first daughter was born, and ever since that day, the two of them have had a very special bond. And by the time my second daughter was born, my sister was a total 'aunting' pro, bringing special gifts and fun games every time she visited our apartment. Even though we don't live in the same state anymore, she still does tons of things to show her love. From special birthday packages to surprise holiday visits, she makes a point of letting my daughters know they're constantly thought of and oh-so-loved, and that's truly the mark of great aunt.
Here are 12 things that fabulous aunties do, on the regular, to make your kids beam from ear to ear.
1. Give Kisses Through The Phone
If your sister or sister-in-law is regularly scheduling time to FaceTime with your kid(s), they get a big A+ in the aunt department.
No matter where they live, it's huge that they make time to connect with your kiddo, and of course, that probably entails giving them plenty of screen kisses. Kudos to the aunties out there who make a point of staying up-to-date on what's happening in their nieces and nephews lives.
2. Make Every Holiday Special
As a parent, you're probably used to going all out for the major holidays, but some lesser ones might fall through the cracks a little.
That's where great aunties step in. Maybe it's a special Valentine's Day goodie bag or a funny April Fools' Day prank— a good aunt knows that every holiday is a chance to score major points with their favorite little ones.
3. Play Tirelessly
Great aunts get down on the floor and play endlessly with your kiddo (maybe because they know they're going home to some peace and quiet later!).
They'll pull out all the stops — pillow forts, hide-and-seek, all of the Play-doh, you name it. Sure, they might leave a bit of a mess in their wake, but they're total heroes for those power play sessions.
4. Give The Best Birthday Presents
An amazing aunt never forgets a birthday and probably has the title of "Best Gift Giver" on total lock.
My sister not only finds the most unique, magical presents, but she also expertly wraps them in the sparkliest paper and most extravagant bows. She is the master of 'surprise and delight' and my kids love her for it (as do I).
5. Keep Everyone Cool
As a parent, your coolness factor tends to plummet. It's sad but true. But rad aunts make sure that everyone in your house stays "in the know," whether it's taking your kiddo to hear the coolest new band or to stand in line for the latest food sensation.
Everyone benefits from having a cool aunt around.
6. Say 'Hi'
Whether it's a quick pop-in at your house, or using Marco Polo, the video texting app, a fab aunt is always stopping to just say, "Hi!"
My sister regularly sends my daughters short Marcos, asking what they're up to and showing them what she's doing where she lives. And let me tell you, those videos are always met with jumps of joy.
A wonderful auntie never lets too much time pass without reaching out to her favorite pint-size people.
7. Babysit On the Reg
A good auntie is ready to sub in to babysit on short notice, not only because they've got your back, but because they simply love getting extra time to hang with the kiddos.
Aunties always know how to save the day.
8. Bring The Goofiness
Whether it's breaking out in a spontaneous dance party or playing dress-up with the wackiest costumes and props, a fun aunt knows that silly is the name of the game.
9. Never Buys Noisy Toys
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who buy your kids loud, obnoxious toys, and those who know better.
Good aunts know how to keep your sanity intact.
10. Give Only Great Hand-Me-Downs
Some aunts with older children will try to offload all of their baby clothes on you. It's a kind gesture but nobody needs onesies with mysterious stains on them.
The best aunties know that curation is key when it comes to hand-me-downs. If they give you only the pristine duds, and maybe even some with the tags still on, that is an amazing aunt.
11. Provide Reassurance
When it comes to asking uncomfortable questions, your kiddo might prefer to ask someone they trust that's just not you — and that's where great aunts shine. They can give rock solid advice, and in terms of those awkward puberty years, they can reassure your kid that whatever is going on, it's totally normal.
12. Be A Role Model
All kids need strong women in their lives, and a great aunt knows that she's not only a fun family member but also a vital role model.
Whether she's a powerhouse lawyer, going for her Ph.D., or the best SAHM in the world, an empowered aunt can show little girls and boys that women run the world.