This post is all about the best age gap between kids.
Turns Out That This Is The Best Age Gap Between Kids
Do you want to have another baby but aren’t sure when to start trying for number two? Let’s talk pros and cons of various age gaps between siblings and discover the best age gap between kids for your family.
What’s the best age gap between kids?
Let’s be honest, the best age gap between kids might be different for every family, and no matter what your personal journey will look like there are always pros and cons. There will always be some challenges for the parents, and there will always be some necessary adjustments for the older child. However, there will also always be potential for unconditional love and a lifelong friendship.
Obviously, there are so many factors to be considered when deciding when to have another child. Even once we do make that decision, we can’t always just plan it and have it our way, when we want it. There’s nature and there are many other life circumstances playing a role.
You might get pregnant with your second baby way sooner than expected but you might also have to try longer to conceive than anticipated.
It’s said that it’s rather unlikely to get pregnant during the first months after giving birth if you’re breastfeeding, yet it might happen.
On the other hand, there is also such thing as secondary infertility, which basically means being unable to conceive or carry a baby to term after previously giving birth.
No matter the scenario in your case, let’s not freak out ahead of time. Trust your life’s, trust God’s timing. You can handle anything! Every story is unique and beautiful. I felt it’s important to mention all that just as a reminder to have patience and compassion with yourself, your partner, and others around you. Oftentimes, new parents get asked by friends and family soon after they had their first baby when they gonna give them a sibling, not really thinking about what the couple might be going through or struggling with.
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Back to the best age gap between kids.
You might already have an ideal number in your head. Whether it’s because of your own experience and the age gap between you and your sibling or due to a career choice, your age, or a completely different reason. All reasons should be considered, yet some might be more important to you than others. But let’s say there are no other obstacles in your way and you do have the choice of when to start trying for a second baby. To assist you in that, here are some pros and cons of different age gaps between kids and a basic guideline.
The Best Age Gap Between Siblings
Less than 2 years
Your kids will be super close from their earliest days and might share the most special moments of their lives such as graduation.
They might also go through similar stages at the same time such as traveling years, weddings, having kids, and so on. Hence, they will be able to understand and support each other better.
You are in the middle of the baby stage anyway, so yes, it will be extra exhausting but it also won’t interrupt your daily routine. Your second child and their needs will fit right into your beautiful yet chaotic days and nights.
Your kids will definitely grow up having the same friend groups, and share interests, toys, clothes, etc., giving you a little more control as well as comfort knowing that they always have each other.
They might compete a lot for various things from toys to the parents’ attention.
They might also compare themselves to each other leaving one of them feeling less than the other.
Having two pregnancies back to back will definitely be harder on your body and potentially mind that didn’t have enough time to fully heal and relax.
Especially if the second pregnancy wasn’t planned to happen so soon, it will pose new challenges, possibly changing your family dynamics, living conditions, work situation, and even affect your marriage. Your husband won’t be sharing you with just one child, but right away with two. But of course, that’s nothing that love, patience and effort can’t handle.
From a medical point of view, getting pregnant again sooner than 12 months after giving birth is said to come with more risks for mama and baby such as low birth weight and an increased risk of developing postpartum depression.
2-3 Years Gap
Research suggests and WHO recommends waiting 18-24 months between giving birth and getting pregnant with another child. Hence such an age gap is often considered the best age gap between kids.
Your body had enough time to heal and breathe and (depending on your toddler) you probably slept through quite a few nights in the past months, yet you haven’t completely forgotten about the newborn stage and moved on with your career to a point where going back to being pregnant, breastfeeding etc. seems extremely scary and well, simply inconvenient.
Following the previous point, you might focus on growing your family in those few years and build your life around having kids, before shifting priorities to a career or following another passion. It doesn’t mean you can’t have both at the same time, but you can’t be 100% everywhere, there will need to be more sacrifices made. Hence, having kids closer together might give you more focus and peace of mind about where you are at in your life and where your current priorities lie.
A two year (+) old is more aware and will be capable of understanding (at least to some degree) what is going on as well as socializing with, accepting and in small ways even helping to care for their baby sibling. Hence, you can read books with him/her about becoming a big sister/brother. You can include them in the whole journey and they will definitely be curious, excited, and soon enough want to kiss your belly and ask about baby. I can only imagine that’s a great bonding experience with your child.
A 2-3 yeard old will still have to adjust to the new circumstances and family dynamics, however, they haven’t been around long enough to form habits, many rituals, have their favorite things etc. to have to give that up. They’re also still in the early stages of forming their memory, so there won’t be a big gap between “this was my life before baby and this is my life now”, it’s soon enough gonna feel more like the other child was always a part of their life.
You know your toddler can play on their own for a period of time or spend some time with other family members, yet you also know they’re still little and need you, as well as a lot of your time and affection. This makes being there for them and fulfilling their needs come naturally to parents. Whereas, when a child is 5+ years older they might not get all the attention and care they need as parents might depend too much on their independence, without meaning any harm to them of course.
Your kids will:
- be literally growing up together
- be going to the same school
- have similar interests
- have the same or at least a familiar group of friends
- have a higher chance of being and staying close from childhood to adulthood
- like the same movies, shows, and bands, which means you can take them to the same activities and events and they should both find ways to enjoy it
There will possibly be fewer fights while choosing a movie for movie night
You can reuse a bunch of stuff from strollers, and clothes to toys as you probably didn’t get rid of much yet. Plus, most things should still be in a good enough state.
Your toddler will probably be going through the “terrible twos”, meaning meltdowns, temper tantrums, and being a little rebel, which without sufficient support might be extra draining and both mentally and physically exhausting, especially while taking care of a newborn
Your older child is still too young to fully understand your situation, that you need rest, and time to heal. They’re bursting with energy, climbing on you, and wanting to you play tag and roll down a hill with them.
You barely got back to feeling like yourself again. Maybe you started to feel stronger and fitter in your body or simply mentally pretty well-balanced and more relaxed so feeling like you have to give that up to go through the whole thing again will not be the easiest thing to face. From the hormonal rollercoaster, body changes, to any pregnancy or birth anxieties and traumas resurfacing.
Your career and social life, if you were able to develop any in the past two (+) years have to take the back seat again.
Your kids might have similar interests but that also means there might be a higher chance of rivalry and competition in different areas, and fights for different things, from who gets which yogurt flavor, hat, to toys.
4-5 years age gap
At this point your older child will be more independent, needing a little less attention and supervision. Moreover, you’ll be able to explain the situation better to them and you can talk them through anything that is happening. There’s also a greater chance that they will follow your instructions when it comes to the dos and dont’s of engaging with baby.
They may also be attending a pre-K or kindergarten, giving you more one on one time with your newborn or extra time to rest.
It all depends on the child as well as how well the parents will prepare them for the baby’s arrival and how the transition period will look like. This can be a fantastic time for the older child, where they will feel confident, needed, helpful, caring, and independent.
You have probably made peace with or even completely forgotten about the pain, anxiety, traumas, regrets, and disappointments of your first pregnancy, birth, or postpartum journey. Hence, you might enter this new chapter with newfound excitement, hope, strength, and peace.
On top of that, seeing your child grow up, you might start to actually miss the baby stage and even yarn after the feeling of carrying a baby in your belly, breastfeeding, and even changing diapers.
Your kids’ relationship will change and evolve as they grow older and there’s a great chance that they will discover their bond once again and become even closer once they are older.
My sister is five years younger than me, and as far as it was nice to have her as a sister when I was a child, it was always “the little sister”, but now we definitely reconnected and I do consider her one of if not my best friend. Definitely someone, I know I can count on 24/7 even though we live in different countries. And that is such a precious thing to hope for your kids to have.
On the contrary, this might also be a very hard period for the older child, where they feel the opposite, not needed, invisible at times, or even neglected.
A longer break between pregnancies means you had the time to establish a new routine, strengthen your social life, and maybe immerse yourself in your career or some exciting projects and now you’ll have to put it all on pause again. What is more, by now, you’ll definitely have accepted your body, your hormones are probably pretty well balanced and it might be a bit scarier to go through the wild journey of having another child.
This is obviously a large age gap that might not have necessarily been planned, but we know life has its own plans for us sometimes.
Your kids’ relationship will not be typical and will definitely change a lot over the years.
Your older child will be pretty independent, self-sufficient, responsible, confident, and probably even quite helpful with the baby.
They might be very excited about the new addition to your family and gladly take on the role of the all-knowing older sibling. I think it can be quite special for the parent to see their firstborn baby now being emotionally and physically capable to show so much love, care, and support for their younger sibling.
Lots of quality time with your newborn as the older child will most likely be in school, attend after-school activities, spend more time with friends, and so on.
Your older child might feel more confident stepping into adulthood later on as they already saw their sibling conquering the real world, move out, maybe get married, and even have kids of their own.
The younger child will not only have you (parents) to seek advice from and confide in but they will also have their older sibling. They might even be more comfortable sharing some things with them rather than with you.
Your kids might not be too close in their early years.
The older child might feel like they’re not getting enough attention. They might also feel the burden of responsibility. They might also get frustrated if they have to include their younger sibling in playdates and so on.
The younger child might try to earn the older one’s attention, respect, and affection without success. They might also compare themselves a lot to them, especially if the older child is well-accomplished and highly regarded by adults.
You will probably have to purchase lots of baby stuff again unless you stored everything for the past 6+ years.
You will have two kids to take care of, with totally different needs and interests. Moreover, they’ll most likely not enjoy the same event, movies, and so on, so you need to find ways to entertain both of them while still spending quality family time.
Look, no matter your story and how life will play out for your family, there will always be blessings and there will always be challenges.
I wish you a beautiful motherhood journey!
This post was all about the best age gap between kids.