Age Gaps Between Children: 10 Reasons Why Big Gaps Rock

Age Gaps Between Children: 10 Reasons Why Big Gaps Rock

The truth is, there is no right age gap for your family – whatever age gap you end up with, you will find ways of making it work. When trying to decide on an age gap, you will probably find yourself weighing up the pros and cons of each possible scenario, and struggling to decide which one sounds right for you.

The thought of adding a new child to the family can sound scary, especially as you worry about how your first child will react. You may feel concerned that you no longer have the energy to run around after a toddler, or that you couldn’t cope with (even more) sleepless nights. A common concern for singleton parents, is whether they will be able to love a second child as much (you will). If this is you, BellyBelly’s article, Loving Two is a must read!

For those of you toying with the idea of the idea of a longer age gap between your children – anything from three years and up – here are 10 reasons why this is an awesome choice.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #1: The Older Child Will Understand

Your first child is a little older, and may be mature enough to better understand the concept of the new baby. An older child is less likely to feel left out after the arrival of a new sibling. An older child will be better placed to understand the needs of the new baby, and to react with compassion and empathy.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #2: The Younger Child Will Get Quality Time Too

Think back to those hazy days when your first child was born. Those long lunches with mum and baby friends, and the long afternoons spent cuddling and feeding on the sofa. A longer age gap will allow you to give the second child the same treatment, though you may have school runs to fit in. Whilst your older child is at school, you will have time for some one-to-one bonding with the newest member of your family.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #3: An Older Child Can Get Involved

An older child will be able to help out with the new baby, and this will be a great opportunity for them to build a strong bond with each other. From running upstairs to grab a clean nappy, to soothing the baby during long car journeys, your first child will have an active role to play in caring for your new child. Older children who read can make great little story tellers, which is a great thing for both siblings!

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #4: Your Older Child Will Be More Independent

With a longer age gap, your first child will be more independent. You won’t need to worry about changing two dirty bottoms throughout the day, because your first child will be able to use the toilet. He may also be able to get himself snacks, and play independently for limited amounts of time.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #5: They Won’t Fight Over The Same Toys

With a larger age gap, your children will have different interests and will play with different toys. This may save you the hassle of acting as mediator, desperately negotiating turns with the most popular toys.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #6: It Will Spread Out The Cost Of Childcare

Childcare isn’t cheap, and having two children close together can leave some families struggling to afford to pay their nursery bills each month. Two children attending university at the same time can also put a strain on the family purse. By having a larger age gap, you can spread out the costs associated with raising children, especially during those early (and expensive) years.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #7: You Won’t Have To Double Up

Your first child will already have outgrown his infant car seats, buggy and playmat. You won’t need to fork out on doubling up on these items, and will instead simply be able to dust off the cobwebs and use them again.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #8: You Will Have Caught Up On Sleep

Unlike the parents of two under two, you will have caught up on your sleep by the time your next baby arrives. Your first child will be sleeping better, and you should be able to get enough rest during pregnancy. Once the baby arrives, chances are it will only be the newborn keeping you up at night, so you won’t be running between bedrooms trying to soothe everyone.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #9: Sibling Rivalry Is Less Likely

Children born closer together in age are more likely to experience sibling rivalry. With a larger age gap, your children have different interests, and different focuses at anytime and are less likely to compete over things. An older child may see themselves as a mentor for the younger sibling, rather than as a competitor.

Why Age Gaps Between Children Are Awesome #10: Your Older Child Will Be More Attached

The longer a child remains an only child, the better attached he is to his parents. So the longer you wait before having a second baby, the longer your first child will have to develop a strong attachment to you.

Each family situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all perfect age gap. You must consider the individual needs of yourself, your partner and your existing children when deciding on when to have your next child. It’s also important to remember, that these things may not always be in our control. It could take longer than expected to conceive.

 
Last Updated: February 21, 2015

CONTRIBUTOR

BellyBelly.com.au


15 comments

  1. I have 3 babies, 3 1/2 years between #1 & #2, also 3 1/2 #2 & #3. Works great for me. Love the fact (as mentioned in the article) that I have time for 1 on 1 with my youngest, with kinder and school picks up, we manage. I also had a little giggle, my eldest 2 love grabbing me a nappy and helping sooth baby in the car.

    1. Hi I am having my 3Rd child same age gap as urs. I’m so scared to have number 3 wondering if I have done the right thing.. All people teller that having 3 is so hard how have u found the gap???

  2. A large age gap is not always good. I am the youngest and there is a 20 year gap between myself and my three other siblings. This meant that when I was born, my sisters were also having their babies. So what would be a time for grandma to spoil her grandbabies and give attention to her daughter and the infant, she was giving birth to an infant of her own. One sister had always been very independent and lived afar with her family. I always felt loved by her when she would visit. My other sister is another story. I always felt resented. As a child, I never could have articulated those feelings, I only knew that she would come over with my niece and nephew and I would feel bad. I would be nervous around her and never knew why. I never thought of as a sister, in the way most people think of their siblings. I knew her as that lady that we always have to make the house perfect for. Her resentment simmered for years until our father began to show his age and she started wanting to take the reigns in caring for him. My husband and I used to freely visit him every week at the house. All was well, then boom, she began hosting all of the holiday get togethers at her house and not inviting me. She even invited non family members! She one day decided to move in with dad after her husband lost his job, and informed me she was going to be dads caretaker and power of attorney. She began setting times in which we were allowed to visit him…etc. It all has become so ugly. My other siblings do not see it. They are all close in age and do not get why I am so upset. I feel alone now. My father is dying and I feel my only family is him and my co-workers, my husband and son, his long time girlfriend, some of my oldest clients. But blood family I am not in their eyes. I am lucky I have these other surrogate family in my life. As an adult, I get it now, even if I do not like it. I was the baby that should not have been. I am the one that took my sisters old bedroom in the family home, I am the one who had mom and dads attention when they still wanted their attention on their growing familys. I never asked to be born, yet here I am and it is a lonely place. I do not like it, but I get it. I would never have children in such a huge gap after being in my shoes

    1. I totally get it. I’m ten years older than my oldest sister and 18 years older than my youngest. I do not resent them, just the timing, but they took time with my parents away from me that I will never get back. Time I needed and missed. I was the accident child, born to teenagers, and I often feel like I am just getting in the way of my parents’ new nuclear families. It’s not nice being the outsider and now I have a son I am struggling to get that grandparent vibe off them.

  3. After having 2 children 18 months apart, I am finally at a point where I’ve recovered enough to consider a 3rd! We plan to start trying to conceive next year, so if all goes accordingly there will be 7 years between the first and third, and about 5 and a half years between the second and third. We are a bit worried about bonding because of how close in age the first two are, but we are part of a very large tight knit family where my kids are constantly playing with their cousins of all various ages so we are confident they will be fabulous! The idea of having that time with number 3 while the eldest are in the school sounds a lot better than the days when my eldest two were in nappies together!

  4. There are huge age gaps between me and my siblings! I am the middle child and my older brother is 22 now and my younger brother is 2 so there’s an 11 year gap between me and my younger brother as i am 13 nearly 14 and a 9 year gap between me and my older brother which makes a 20 year gap between my two brothers,lol. I mean i get people saying u wont be able to play together as much so u wont be as close but we are all close and i think the age gap is good because it meant that when each child was young they had time concentrated on them by my mom and dad also i have someone to look up to and ask for advice because he has done his a levels and uni and stuff.

  5. I am the youngest of 3 kids. Oldest was 17, next was 7 and then me. This was cruel and stuipd to have kids that far apart. My Mom was 36 my Dad 40. By the time I was a big kid amd teeny parents were to old to take me on vacations and they could not handle me having friends over. Both siblings have past and I have to care for both parents alone. Christmas sux always. Do not be cruel. Age difference with in reason.

  6. I think age gaps between children are great. They give kids time to enjoy their central position, to adjust to being independent when new baby comes and the older they are, the more assertive they get. I am the first of 3 girls, when my younger sister was born I was 9 and when my my youngest sister was born I was 17. Yes we didn’t grow together but it gave us time to get all the attention and resources needed and still does. I am 30, having my 1st baby. My 21 and 13 year old sisters are taking such good care of me, my mom and husband barely lift a finger

  7. This article is a joke! Right? I am the youngest of three children. My sisters are 10 and 14 years older. I grew up an only child pretty much. I would never recommend this much of a gap it only leads to family problems down the road. My sisters resent me for my parents having more money and things when I grew up. They say I was spoiled and had it easy. I feel that I have always had to be a grownup all my life. I have spent my life being a part of there lives seeing there kids grow up bc I had nieces and nephews when I was in high school. They on the other hand could care less about being apart of my families life bc according to them “where they are in life” they are to busy. I feel like my family has two families and I am the family that they would rather miss out on seeing.

    1. This is interesting. I’m considering having a third. I’m 33 and my eldest is 11, youngest 8 so would be similar age gap to your family by the time I had a baby.
      Was it really that bad?
      What sort of problems did you find?
      I wouldn’t want to cause problems for my existing children.

  8. Every experience is different. I have three siblings and there was an eight year gap between. Two youngest. Sure mom asked us to help watch my younger brother but we were very close growing up and still have a great relationship. Do what you think is right for your family. If you have a bad Fe about the age gap it may not be a good idea for you. My kids are 10 and 8 and they want another sibling. God bless and good luck to all planning to expand their families.

  9. Thank you for writing this piece! We’ve been trying to conceive a second child for nearly 2 years and I’ve started to obsess about the widening age gap, the longer it takes. Our child is 4 and a half and starts school in September. If we’re lucky enough to have another, I can now focus on the positives of a wider gap between them. Thanks again! 😉

  10. Hi, I have three babies (girls)( 3 years, 22 months, 9 months) , it wasn’t my choice to have them so close like that but I did any way , I treat them as one, same time of sleeping, eating , playing and showering , but the thing I couldn’t control is jealousy between them and crying , now they are all related , they sleep together and feel each other, when some one wakes up they all do the same
    It’s hard to do cores with them but at least I get time for myself when they sleep

  11. Im the youngest of 5 children. The gap with my siblings is 11, 9 and 6 and the big gap did not help. I felt like i was growing up alone. When i was growing up my siblings were teenagers and did not wanted to play with me at all or spend time with me, but i do have to say that they were very protective. Now, many years later we get along great, but growing up was not fun for me. I had brothers and sisters but it was like if i was an only child. My siblings always complain that i got more toys when i was a child or that my parents were less severe with me.
    Now that i am a mom, we want our children to have 2 or 3 year gaps not more.
    I think that every family is different and everyone should do what they thinkis best for their family.

  12. There is a ten year gap between me and my baby brother and we are close as could be. My middle brother and I are two and a half years apart and we weren’t great friends until we were grown ups. I just found out we are expecting baby number two for me three for hubby. There will be an eleven year gap between my child and the baby and a sixteen year gap between his youngest and the baby. We are all excited.

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