Wednesday, 8 August 2012

What's The Perfect Age Gap?

A moment of sibling harmony!

When you are a mother of one and you know that you want another a child the question is at the forefront of your mind is often "what's the perfect age gap between children?". Of course this is a million pound question that doesn't really have a perfect answer. I'm sure if there was one someone somewhere would be making alot of money from selling it!

The age gap between my children is 2 years and 1 week exactly and I can't say that its always been easy. In fact I think the past 6 months has been particularly hard. My daughter is 4 and although she is growing up fast I have found that she still needs a lot of attention and help with things. My son is 2 and now refuses to sit quietly in his buggy when we are out (as he would have done at 18 months). He demands to walk like his big sister and is also very vocal about what he wants so even a trip to the supermarket or local park has become quite a challenge for me as I constantly worry about one of them running off!

The early days were difficult too. When I look at my youngest now I appreciate just how little my daughter was when her brother was born and yet at the time I saw her as my "big girl" when really she was just a baby herself and I probably expected too much from her. It was hard coping with the demands of a two year olds tantrums whilst trying to breastfeed a newborn. My little girl didn't start pre-school until my son was 3 months old so the first three months were spent in a sleepless, milky haze and I do worry that I didn't have as much time to bond with my son. The dual nappy changes were also hard although I ended up getting quite a production line going and becoming quite an expert (must add that to the CV).

However a 2 year old gap does have some definite plus points too. I love the fact that my children are so close to each other and I'm sure that this is because they have spent so much time together. I know that my son is really going to miss his sister when she starts school in September as they love playing together most of the time. They both like the same toys, the same TV programmes and going to the same places. I've also found that as a 2 year age gap is fairly common many of my daughters friends have siblings of the same age so my son has had a ready made group of friends. I also hope that as they get older they will be able to support each other when facing teenage concerns and exam stress as they will be going through this at the same time.

Of course we are not often in control of the age gap and are often at the whim of the fertility gods or our choices come down to financial issues!

What are the age gaps between your children and what are the pros and cons?


  1. Hello. I don't think there is ever a perfect age gap, it's always going to be hard work. In retrospect we may look back on times and think 'oh that was a tricky patch' but for most of us we just get on with it and only realise it was so difficult when you move onto the next phase which is either easier, more difficult or just different.
    There is a 16-month age gap between my two. Like you said, I though my son was a 'big boy' but when I look back at pictures now when his sister arrived he is so tiny. However, they do play with each other all the time - when they're not fighting. They are one school year apart so they see each other on the playground and in assembly. They tell each other what they've done at school and my son can still remember when he did the same and he then tells her what she will be doing next year.
    Personally for us, I am pleased that they are so close and for us it completes our family. It feels like we are all moving forwards at the same time. I'm not sure I could give up the independence that I've got back if I had a bigger age gap and had a baby right now. Saying that, as I said earlier, I would cope and get on with it and enjoy it.
    Great post.
    Michelle x

    1. Glad you liked the post. I think you make a good point that when we look back at different stages we see the bad points but when we are there we just have to get on with it. I do think it would be hard to go back to the nappies and nightfeeds stage if you had an older child and that was one of the reasons we had ours close together as I felt that whilst I was in that stage I might as well get on with it!

  2. 2 yrs and 2 months between 1 & 2, then 4 years later came 3 & 4 (twins) then 14 months later number 5 and number 6 came 2 yrs and 9 months later! Honestly? It doesn't matter what the age gap is after number 2; you're busy, there are sibling quarrels and rivalry and fierce love. There are various events that you need to work around to get every child where they need to be at the right time. School can be a nightmare as they get older - at one stage I had mine at 3 different schools because of their ages - but it's still the best job in the world!

    1. I'm in awe! I think its amazing that you have managed with 6 whilst I struggle with 2. I agree its the best job in the world though - even if I am a bit jaded as its the summer hols ha ha

  3. I have 11 years between my children. My son was nearly 11 and a half when my daughter was born and in fact she was born on the day he started high school. Personal circumstances created the gap and whilst I would have preferred them to be closer together, I wasn't ready to have another child when my son was younger. We recieved a lot of comments about 'starting again' when she was born, and it did feel like being a first time mum again. However, my son is now 13 and my daughter is just about to turn 2 and they love each other. I know that they won't share the same interests at the same time, but I feel that they have their own bond.
    I think it depends both on the parents and the children. I'm not too sure it would work if I added a newborn into the mix with my daughter who is a huge handful and needs constant attention!

  4. There's exactly 2 years and 3 months between my two. Before my eldest was born I wanted a 12 month gap so they'd be really close (my two eldest brothers have a year between them); once she was born I thought an only child would be perfect :lol: The age gap we have is perfect for us, second daughter wasn't planned as such but very much wanted and I'm glad she decided to arrive when she did. They're now 3 and 5 and can be a handful but interact so well with each other. I think the 'perfect' gap is probably whatever you have :-)