Dear American Girl,
My older sisters never want to play with me. When I ask, "Do you want to play a board game?" one will say, "No thanks, I want to be alone." They both have friends over a lot, too, and I always feel left out. I care about my sisters and want to spend time with them. Is there anything I can do to have fun with my sisters?
-Sad little sis
Here's your advice:
Suggest to your sisters that it might be fun to plan a special day once a month to do something together. Think of an activity that will work for everyone, such as going to a park or seeing a movie.
-Maeve, age 13, Tennessee
When your sisters' friends are over, give them some space. After they've left, ask your sisters if you could do something together.
-Ariana, age 11, California
Don't beg your sisters to play. That will only bother them more. If your sisters seem busy when you ask, try to catch them at times when they're not busy. If they're not thinking about their busy schedules, they can focus on hanging out with you instead.
-Zoe, age 9, Missouri
Your sisters might have a lot of new interests. Ask them about what they're into these days. I have an older sister, and she's the one who helped me realize how much I enjoy reading.
-Charlotte, age 12, California
Ask a parent if you can start up a weekly family game night. Say that everyone should try her best to be there. Spending time together as a family could help you feel closer with your sisters.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, North Carolina
Make a pact with your sisters to spend just 15 minutes a day together. It won't take up a lot of time in your schedules, and it could help you feel closer. Play a game or go for a quick walk around the block.
-Casey, age 10, Ohio
Try to see things from your sisters' point of view. If they say, "Go away!" or "Leave me alone!" then they're being rude and it's time to involve a parent. But if they're kindly saying, "I have a lot of homework to do," or "I have a friend coming over soon," try your best to understand.
-Emily, age 13, Delaware
I'm a big sister. But if I were a little sister, I would ask my sisters to play only once in a while and try to not bother them too much. I'd also ask them for suggestions for things to do together so that you can all do something you like. Good luck!
-Gianna, age 11, California
Instead of asking a specific question, such as, "Do you want to play a board game?" just say, "Do you want to hang out?" Your sisters might feel too "grown-up" for board games and would have more fun chatting with you.
-Gabrielle, age 12, Massachusetts
If one of your sisters says no if you ask her to play, say, "I understand that you need some alone time. But when you're finished, can we spend some time together?" Try to work out a compromise.
-Cami, age 11, Idaho
Have a heart-to-heart with your sisters. Tell them that you care about them and you miss doing things together. If they realize that you've been feeling sad, they might make more of an effort to do things with you.
-Sophie, age 12, Connecticut
I know how that can feel. When my sister doesn't want to play with me, I read a book or chat with a friend online. If your sisters want privacy, try to respect that—it doesn't mean that you can't have fun alone.
-Rachel, age 11, Iowa
I have a little sister. Sometimes, older sisters just need to be by themselves or with their friends. But that doesn't mean we don't love our little siblings. The next time your sisters say they want to be left alone, see if you can set up another time to hang out. Remember, they do love you.
-Eiley, age 13, Oregon
Tell your sisters how you feel. Maybe they don't know that you're feeling left out. If that doesn't work, find other ways to have fun. Invite friends over, get involved with clubs, or play a new sport. Your sisters are going through a phase right now—be patient, and things will probably be back to normal before you know it.
-Josephina, age 12, New Mexico