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Mommy Info

Best Age Gap Between Kids, A Few Things You Should Know

When it comes to having kids, closer in age isn’t always easy.

If you had to choose how big an age gap you wanted to have between your kids what would it be? A year, two years, maybe even five years, they all have their ups and downs so I don’t really think there is a perfect one. What is the best age gap between kids, is there one? Because if there is, I would like to know.

Every mom has a different answer and a reason why their answer is the right one. Well, from my experience, closer in age is harder. Not only physically and mentally, but financially as well.

After I had my first kid, I knew I wanted to have more, I just didn’t realize how hard it would be to raise them and how financially straining it was. I also didn’t know how far apart I should space them to make it work for my family.

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What do moms say?

When I asked moms what they prefer, I did get mixed answers. Some moms opt to have their kid’s closer in age like a one year gap, they said it would be easier to have them in diapers together and potty-train them together and when it’s done, it’s done. But wouldn’t it be hard to care for two kids so close in age? They both need constant attention and that could be pretty hard.

Other moms decided to wait three years for when they’re older kid starts school to save on the cost of daycare fees because we all know how expensive that is. But what happens when the older kid gets jealous because the new baby is getting all of the attention?

And other moms said they would wait up to five years because it’s easier physically and mentally to have a gap that one child can help in the care of the other and do more for themselves. I can see how that would make sense but it could also be hard to give constant attention to the growing school child while taking care of the new baby.

My chosen gap.

If I had thought about it more, I think I would have chosen the three-year gap. I find this to be the most efficient. The kids are old enough to be close and become friends as well as siblings, one will be potty-trained, and once they start school their years in schools will overlap so they will be in the same school at some point and older one can look out for the younger one.

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My first two children.

When my first daughter was just eight months old I found out I was pregnant with my second child. My son was born when my daughter was seventeen months old. This was okay, so I thought. But it really wasn’t. It was hard. The beginning wasn’t so bad. I would put them down for naps together, and feed them together, I even gave them baths together. But as they got older, it got harder.

When I was ready to return to work I had to find daycare for both kids. Financially this was a huge strain on my family. It almost felt as if I was working just to pay for the daycare fees. Having two kids aged so close was draining as well. Imagine running and playing with one kid, and now times that by two. I was physically tired.

What I loved.

What I loved about having two toddlers so close in age was as my son got older, they got closer. They became like best friends and always had each other to play with. It was fun to just watch them play together and reminded of me when I was growing up with my brother who is a year older than me.

Having two kids seventeen months apart can be hard in some aspects, but its joyous in others. Birthday parties and family gatherings, going to school together, always having each other to depend on, that was how they grew up and that is how it will stay. But what happens when you have kids with a significant age gap?

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What I learned.

Recently I had the joy of bringing another child into my family. Like I mentioned earlier, I knew I wanted to have more kids. But this time wasn’t very easy. Our family had many losses which led us to having a baby later than we originally planned.

Now that my youngest one is born, there is a significant age gap between my kids. I have two that are 18 and 17 and now one that is about to be 2 years old. In some aspects, its hard. I have to care for a young toddler while still making time for my older kids.

The responsibility.

I never want them to feel like they are being replaced. I spread myself thin to give time to all of my kids. But how hard is this on the kids? With both of my older kids going off to college soon my youngest one will be alone in the house. I’ve been looking into plenty of things I could get him into so he doesn’t feel lonely.

You may think it won’t make a difference because of the age gap but let me assure you, my youngest son has grown so attached to my eldest daughter. He always looks for her and when she’s around he calls out and goes to her room to play with her. He loved being with her. That’s what scares me for when she is gone.

The upside.

The upside of having kids that are far apart in age is the lovely built in baby sitter. It makes a world of difference when I can run out and do errands and not have to worry about taking my son everywhere with me.

It’s also a huge help when we go out on family outings and I have my older kids take charge in spending time with your younger sibling. They push him around in his stroller, run around with him, and share snacks. It’s a joy having kids at any age gap because when they get older it really doesn’t make a difference and they will love watch other just the same.

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The downside.

When my first two kids reached the late teenage years, I was able to have more freedom because they needed me, but not as often. They were more self-sufficient, and I taught them to do a lot of things themselves like cooking dinner and laundry. I entered a point in my life where I could do more things for myself, like outings, shopping, and hanging with friends.

Once I decided to have another baby I was starting all over. After already raising kids for sixteen years I now added another eighteen years of raising another child on to my plate. This can be hard for moms starting all over.

For so long we put our own needs aside for the needs of our kids but once they are older we get that back. Well, I have another sixteen years before I can fully have my freedom back. I’m not complaining, i’m just saying.

Be prepared.

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Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by: Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish $5.59 on Amazon

When siblings are young they are so cute and funny and loving. You have to prepare yourself for the unknown. Just because you have two kids that are a few years apart doesn’t always mean they are going to get along. In fact, no matter what age they are there is a chance that there will be some sibling rivalry.

Sibling rivalry comes after the second child is born and the attention shifts from the once only child to the cute little baby. This isn’t only from the parents though. You will notice a shift in attention from friends and loved ones.

Be prepared to tell people to treat both of your kids the same and give them the same attention. When my son was born his story was a little different. Because my daughter was the first grandchild and first baby girl to enter the family in a long time on her father’s side, she received a lot of attention. This included taking her for outings, buying her gifts, and giving her extra attention that wasn’t given to my son.

Her father and I had to put a stop to it. We told her grandparents that both children needed to be treated equally and if not then one wasn’t to get the extra attention because it’s not fair to the other child and could cause a separation between them from a young age.

Don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts. After all, these are your children and you only want what’s best for them.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have more than one child? What’s their age gap and how do you feel about it. I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic and I’m sure other moms would too. Leave your comments below. Thanks for reading my latest post.

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16 Comments

  1. erlend says:

    I remember the time from my own childhood.
    It was approx. 2 years between me and my brother when we grew up. And there was actually some sibling rivalry at times. But the opposite way! I was the youngest, and he often ended up getting what he wanted because he was “the oldest”.
    I remember once we were out with my father, and a street vendor sold some books with pictures of dinosaurs. We would both have that (we were not old). The seller only had one book again. So Dad said my brother gets it since he is the oldest (I cried). That’s how it always was, he got first because he was the oldest. lol.

    It was wise for you to tell the grandparents to treat the children equally! It is sad when one feels that one is being treated better.

    But the fact that it was only 2 years between us made it possible for me to easily socialize with his friends and he could socialize with my friends.

    Nowadays when we are adults, I think the little age gap is fine. We are of the same age and can socialize, and at about the same place in life.

    It goes well with your youngest son when she moves out 🙂 dont worry 🙂

    1. Hi Erlend, Thanks for sharing your story. I also had older brothers a sisters. A lot because I adopted into a family of about six other kids and I was one of the youngest so we often received the hand me downs. Now times are different. I feel the rolls have switched and everything is about the baby in the family. Just the same, everyone needs to be treated equally. I think it’s sets a positive reflection for the kids and they don’t feel less than the others. Thanks for reading my post.

  2. Whew! Raising children sounds like a lot of work! Ever since I was a child I knew I never wanted kids. I don’t have the temperament or the finances to have children, but I applaud you and all mothers who make it work.

    1. Thanks Dawn. It really is a blessing and a lot of work and has to be something you really want in your life because your own life often takes a back seat to that of your children. Thanks for reading.

  3. I love that book Siblings without Rivalry. Very helpful! My kids are 6 and 3. They are about 2 and a half years apart and I like it so far. It has its ups and downs but I’m excited for them to be in school together. Something I wish I would have had especially in high school. And big brother can look out for little sister! They are just starting to get into the fun “how can I pick” at the other stage. Pray for me!!! PS: Girls are so much sassier or maybe its second child/girls. Maybe one day I’ll go again but the age gap will totally be greater!

    1. Hi Ashton, I agree, Girls definitely are sassier. Boys can be more reserved when they have sisters but with brothers it’s a different ball game. My last gap is about 16 years. Fair warning, you will be starting all over. Thanks so much for sharing. BTW, that book is great, I love it also, thats why I put it there. Good luck!

  4. I found this post at the perfect time! My husband and I were just talking about how far we want to space our kids. When we originally started our family we had planned on spacing them 2 years apart.

    The reason for this was due to the fact that me and my sister are 3 years apart, and like you mentioned, I was not okay with all the attention shifting to her. I was an only child for 3 years and was used to the attention so the sibling rivalry was real.

    Now, after reading this post, I am rethinking the two-year gap. At this point, I feel like I have my hands full enough with my 8 month old, that having another kid just seems so overwhelming haha.

    Thanks for sharing! This was great insight and gave me so much to think about!

    1. Hi Madysen, I think at any age it will seem overwhelming. Kids are so needy. Lol. But I agree. The more you think about it the more reasons you have to not want to have another one. My sister and I were talking about this because her daughter is 3 and she is a lot of work so my sis couldn’t think of having another one right now. I can sympathize. I wanted one more and I think if financially I am able to by the time my son is 3 I will consider, if not then I am done for good. I’ll be 39 when my son turns 3, after 40, I am out of the game.

  5. My sons are exactly 2 years and 2 weeks apart. When they were growing up, it was really sweet how even though there wasn’t that much age difference, my older son still “babied” and looked out for the younger one. I really don’t recall it being that much harder, it was just how it was. Bringing me to my own upbringing. I was an only child until I was 9, and then my sister arrived on the scene. She demanded all the attention, and when my brother made his appearance 2 yrs later, I barely noticed. I was on the brink of puberty, and by the time they were up walking and talking, I was in high school doing my own thing. To this day, we have tried getting to know each other as adults, but I have nothing remotely close to what my brother and sister share.

    1. Hi Cristal, thats so sweet. I can feel you childhood as well, I’m 8 years above my sisters, and when I was in high school they were barely half way through elementary, it was different then but now we are closer than ever and you wouldn’t even know there is such a age gap between us. I also have a brother 1 year older than I and he and I have a special bond as well but he doesn’t have that with our younger sisters so it varies with families. Thanks so much for sharing you experience. It gives inquiring parents something to help them decide.

  6. Erik says:

    We have a boy and a girl that are three years apart which for us seemed the ideal gap. We found that when our boy was around 2.5 years old we could start to reason more with him, we could explain to him what was going (why is mama’s belly growing for example) and he seemed to understand, to a degree at least. We involved him which he really enjoyed and he looked forward to the birth of his sister. Then when we came home from the hospital after the birth, his little baby sister brought him a present. He loved it, he was so excited about it. It was a great trick 😉 A baby and a 3 year old need quite different things so the first year was hard. They are now nearly 5 and 2 years old and things are getting easier. The big brother helps out his little sister and it is great to see them play together more and more 🙂

    1. Hi Erik, I think 2.5 is a good age gap. It creates enough space for the kids to be close but for it to work for the parents as well. It’s true that when they are younger they have different needs but as they grow it all comes together nicely. Thanks for sharing you story with us.

  7. Colleen Wetherill says:

    Hey! I love this article. Personally I could not imagine have kids back to back. I think it would be a nightmare!

    My sister and I are 2.5 years apart and we are the best of friends.

    1. Hi Colleen, I had my first two back to back and it’s a nightmare now because they double team me, lol, but when they were younger it wasn’t so bad. They were little sweeties and everyone loved having them around. My sister and I are 8 years apart and we are also best of friends. As you get older the gap really doesn’t matter much. Thanks for reading.

  8. Lauren says:

    We didn’t conceive until I stopped nursing each of my children, so the first three are each 2 years and 9 months apart. Our next baby is going to be 3 years and 5 months younger than the last, but we had a miscarriage during the first trimester in between this one and my last, so the gap is a bit more, but if that pregnancy had gone term, the baby would have also been 2 years and 9 months. It just seems to be my natural pregnancy cycle. I love what you said about each age gap being the right one depending on which parent you talk to. I think we learn to make the most of the situation we are in. I love the gap between my kids. They are close enough to play together and enjoy each others company, but it was nice to have them a bit older and more independent when the next newborn came along. Now that my oldest is almost 9, she is such a huge help with the younger two. I can shower, clean, and take care of other things while she entertains them and I trust her to keep them in safe situations when I don’t have a visual (but I’m still always within hearing distance).
    I do remember my midwife telling me with the first child that our bodies need at least two years between pregnancies to fully recover. I think that’s good advice for anyone who is considering their family planning. We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our little blessings. 🙂

    1. Hi Lauren, Thanks so much for sharing your experience. This is great information for anyone who is confused about when they want to have another baby. It’s true that having older siblings is a help. My daughter is 18 and she is a huge help with my son, so the 16 year gap works great for our family. I can do bigger things like go food shopping and out with my sisters and I know she can handle taking care of him. My only no no is bath time. I don’t let anyone bath my son except me, it’s just too risky in my eyes. Thanks again for sharing and for reading my latest post.

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