Is there a right way to space out siblings?

July 7, 2009

siblings.jpgI came across this article on Parenting, about the pros and cons of different age gaps between siblings.
They came up with three classes: less than 2 years apart, 2 to 3 years apart, and more than 4 years apart. I have to admit they seem to list them perfectly. The authors, in fact, mention the logistical nightmares of having 2-under-2 children around, but also stress the strong bonds they will develop. For the second group they highlight the fact that the older son may better understand what’s going on, but still may not react well to the new arrival. The wider spacing instead has the logistical and financial benefits of not having two children in daycare or college, but they most likely will be less involved with each other.
They also talk about the effects on marriage with each option.  It’s good food for thought in my opinion.
This made me think about my own experience… I belong to the second group as my children are 2½ years apart. I honestly think that it must have been easier in the early days, if I compare myself to the other girls who had number 2 before me. But I have to admit that my children still do not interact or play much together; I can see it happening but they still do not entertain each other as closer in age siblings do.
This may also depend on the fact the my older son is very intellectual while my younger daughter is very physical so most days their age gap may seem wider than it actually is.
I guess there may not really be a ‘right’ way of spacing children, or at least not one rule good for everybody.
What’s your experience?



Comments (9)

July 7, 2009

I guess I need to read that article!!

Sounds interesting.

my boys are 3.5 years apart.

July 7, 2009

I read that article last week too! Our first is only 4 weeks old (today!) and the cons of all three options got me a little nervous – but I think 4 years seems like a great option. I know the article cautions that the ‘hangout factor’ may be diminished but all my friends with siblings 4-6yrs away from them report being super close from the get-go.

July 7, 2009

My brother and I were close in age and close bond is not what I experienced – more like warfare! My own two are similarly close (under two years) and I really hope that I can help them foster a family spirit. Personally I find there is very little difficulty in having two children under two (and often have a third to help out friends). We will definitely be adding to the family with a short gap again if possible.

July 7, 2009

oy, we have been discussing this as well and i just can’t make up my mind to actually be pregnant again…

July 8, 2009

I think it’s a matter of character mostly. My kids are less than 2 years apart and LOVE each other; they’re always playing together…. But I don’t think you can state as a rule that children close in age will have strong bands.
I once heard the age gap of 3 years is perfect. I don’t know…

July 9, 2009

It’s a really interesting topic. As one of five kids (all spaced about two years apart, and all very close), I really do think that it helps to create stronger bonds if the age gap is smaller. Of course it doesn’t mean that siblings who are far apart in age won’t be close, but I just think it helps.
My boys are less than two years apart and they get along so well and constantly play together. They love sharing a room, do everything together, share similar interests, and yet they are very different in personality. I’m not sure they would be as close if they were further apart age wise.
But, i suppose you just never know! It’s probably also different if the genders aren’t the same!

July 9, 2009

Our boys are just under 3 years apart. So far (they are 1 and 4), it’s going well. Starting to play together (as much as a 1-year old can) and when baby was born, big brother was old enough to take care of himself/ be left alone playing for short periods of time while I changed a diaper, nursed, etc. However, my brother and I are 4 1/4 years apart and we are also quite close.

July 10, 2009

This of course assumes that you’re able to conceive when you want to…..
I’m one of 4, all 3 years-ish apart. Fought like cats & dogs with my younger brother and was too far apart (6 and 9 yrs) with the other siblings to be really close. My girls are 2 yrs 4 months apart and aside from the sharing/grabbing issue, they seem to like sharing a room (the youngest will sit in her crib waiting for the oldest’s bedtime and then go to bed without a fuss). But I agree, I think a lot of this is due to character.

Veronica Diaz
July 14, 2011

I am only 18 months older than my sister. We did play a lot when we were little but as we became teenagers we started having a not so good relationship anymore.. We were fighting about clothes and friends all the time. We also have totally different personalities. We get along better nowadays and my daughter has brought us together since my sister is crazy about her niece but we are still not the closest sisters.
I have a friend who is 5 years older than her sister and they just do everything together! they go shopping, travel, etc.. I have another friend who is 6 years younger than her sister. Their mother passed away and his dad remarried. They now live together (her sister and her) and they really seem to have a great relashionship . I don’t know wether they played much when they were younger but I just love the way they get along today.
In my opinion, it is a matter of personality.. My daughter is now 2 1/2 . I was devoted to her for her first two years. I decided to stay home, breastfeed until she turned 1 etc.. and I just loved it. If I have a second baby now, I would be able to do it that way again . That’s why we have decided to wait until she is a bit older and enters kindergarten.
I guess there is never a perfect time to have another child. Just whaterver suits your family (and you financial status!) better!

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