How to use JavaScript siblings() method?

JavaScript is a powerful language that allows web developers to create dynamic and interactive websites. One of the essential tasks when working with the Document Object Model (DOM) is navigating through elements. The DOM represents the structure of an HTML document, and being able to traverse and manipulate it efficiently is crucial. In this blog post, we will explore the siblings() method in JavaScript, a handy function that simplifies the process of accessing sibling elements within the DOM.

Understanding the DOM and Siblings

Before diving into the siblings() method, let’s first understand what the DOM is and what sibling elements are.

What is the DOM?

The Document Object Model (DOM) is a programming interface for web documents. It represents the page so that programs can change the document structure, style, and content. The DOM represents the HTML elements as nodes in a tree-like structure, allowing developers to access and manipulate these nodes with JavaScript. Each element in an HTML document is a node in the DOM tree, and they can have parent, child, and sibling relationships.

What are Sibling Elements?

In the DOM tree, sibling elements are elements that share the same parent. In other words, they are elements that are at the same hierarchical level. For example, consider the following HTML snippet:

<div id="parent">
  <p>Paragraph 1</p>
  <p>Paragraph 2</p>
  <p>Paragraph 3</p>

In this case, the <p> elements are siblings because they all share the same parent element, which is the <div> with the id “parent.”

Introducing the siblings() Method

The siblings() method is a jQuery method that selects all sibling elements of the matched elements. However, since many web developers prefer vanilla JavaScript over jQuery for performance and other reasons, let’s explore how to achieve the same functionality without using jQuery.

Native JavaScript Equivalent

The siblings() method can be easily replicated using native JavaScript by combining a few DOM methods. To get the siblings of an element, you can follow these steps:

  1. Get the parent element of the target element.
  2. Use the children property to get a collection of all child elements of the parent.
  3. Convert the collection into an array for easier manipulation.
  4. Filter out the target element from the array of siblings.

Let’s see the JavaScript code to accomplish this:

function getSiblings(element) {
  const parent = element.parentNode;
  const children = Array.from(parent.children);
  const siblings = children.filter(child => child !== element);
  return siblings;

In the above code, the getSiblings() function takes an element as a parameter and returns an array containing all its siblings.

Examples of Using siblings() Method

Now that we have a solid understanding of the siblings() method’s functionality, let’s explore some practical examples to see how it can be used in real-world scenarios.

Example 1: Highlighting Sibling Elements

Imagine you have a list of items, and you want to highlight a specific item when the user hovers over it. Additionally, you want to highlight its siblings simultaneously. With the help of the siblings() method, you can easily achieve this effect.

Consider the following HTML code:

  <li>Item 1</li>
  <li>Item 2</li>
  <li>Item 3</li>

To highlight the siblings when the user hovers over an item, you can use the following JavaScript code:

const listItems = document.querySelectorAll('li');

listItems.forEach(item => {
  item.addEventListener('mouseover', () => {
    const siblings = getSiblings(item);
    siblings.forEach(sibling => sibling.classList.add('highlight'));

  item.addEventListener('mouseout', () => {
    const siblings = getSiblings(item);
    siblings.forEach(sibling => sibling.classList.remove('highlight'));

In the above example, we first select all the <li> elements using document.querySelectorAll('li'). Then, we attach event listeners to each item to handle the mouseover and mouseout events. When the mouse hovers over an item, we get its siblings using the getSiblings() function we defined earlier and add the ‘highlight’ class to each sibling. When the mouse leaves the item, we remove the ‘highlight’ class from its siblings.

Example 2: Toggling Sibling Elements

In this example, we will create an accordion-style component where clicking on one element will expand it while collapsing its siblings. It’s a common pattern used in FAQs or collapsible sections on websites.

Let’s assume the following HTML structure:

<div class="accordion">
  <div class="accordion-item">
    <div class="question">Question 1</div>
    <div class="answer">Answer 1</div>
  <div class="accordion-item">
    <div class="question">Question 2</div>
    <div class="answer">Answer 2</div>
  <div class="accordion-item">
    <div class="question">Question 3</div>
    <div class="answer">Answer 3</div>

To achieve the accordion functionality, you can use the following JavaScript code:

const accordionItems = document.querySelectorAll('.accordion-item');

accordionItems.forEach(item => {
  const question = item.querySelector('.question');

  question.addEventListener('click', () => {
    const isOpen = item.classList.contains('open');
    accordionItems.forEach(sibling => sibling.classList.remove('open'));
    if (!isOpen) {

In this example, we first select all the accordion items using document.querySelectorAll('.accordion-item'). Then, for each item, we select the question element inside it. We attach a click event listener to each question. When the user clicks on a question, we check if the item is already open by looking for the ‘open’ class. If it is open, we close it by removing the ‘open’ class from all accordion items. If it is closed, we close any open items and then open the clicked item by adding the ‘open’ class.

Browser Compatibility and Limitations

The siblings() method, which we implemented using native JavaScript, is compatible with all modern browsers and even some older ones. The DOM manipulation techniques used in the implementation are widely supported, making this approach robust and reliable.

However, it is essential to be aware of some limitations and potential challenges when working with the DOM. Frequent and intensive DOM manipulation can lead to performance issues, especially on older browsers or devices with limited resources. It is recommended to use the siblings() method judiciously and optimize other parts of your code for better overall performance.


In this blog post, we learned about the siblings() method in JavaScript and how it can be used to access and manipulate sibling elements within the DOM. We explored a native JavaScript implementation of the method and saw practical examples of how it can be used to create interactive and dynamic web components.

The siblings() method is a valuable tool for any web developer working with the DOM, as it simplifies the process of navigating through sibling elements and enables the creation of more engaging user experiences. By


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