Author Topic: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap  (Read 3073 times)

CidreCreek

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Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« on: March 26, 2018, 06:23:13 PM »
What is your ideal age gap? We have a 2.5 year old and are hesitant to try for another because our 2.5 yo is so demanding of our attention. It could be her personality - a real handful! I am 32 and my husband is 37 so I feel like we have to get going on it soon if we want another. Anyone have a 3.5-4.5 year age gap? How does that look? I really don't know how my friends with a 2 year age gap handle it!

AmberTheCat

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2018, 08:55:56 PM »
we have a <2 yr gap and then 2 gaps  >3.5 yrs. It's all good. Funny thing, with 9 yrs between #1 & #4, they are the worst combination of kids who get along. All the other combos get along well.

our pediatrician neighbor has 3 kids all EXACTLY 3 yrs apart; i've heard that's a good spread.  It's all good.


sokoloff

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 09:32:43 PM »
You likely have closer to 8 years or a little more, so that's not that big a factor.
Ours are 22 months apart and it works well for us, but people make any size gap work.

If you want a second, go for it; don't over-think it.

Freedomin5

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2018, 07:29:18 AM »
Yes, donít overthink it. It depends on the older kidís personality too. If your current kid is demanding, then wait until she calms down a bit to have another. Thereís a seven year gap between me and my sister, and itís worked out fine.

KBecks

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2018, 07:43:48 AM »
In reality, you will get what you get.   Mine are 21 mos apart and 27 months apart.  It's busy!  Going from one to two was very hard.  It's hard, but people get through it all the time.

Mgmny

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2018, 07:48:34 AM »
This isn't applicable for the OP but for other lurkers just looking at thread title: They say to wait at least 18 months to get pregnant again to reduce low birth weight and delivering prematurely. It can also increase risk for anemia in the mother. I think the percentages are pretty low for low birth rate and delivering early, but it is an increased risk if you conceive within 18 months.

sjc0816

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2018, 08:58:09 AM »
There is no perfect gap. It depends on so many things...genders, interests, personalities/temperaments. My two boys are three years apart and they definitely have a love-hate relationship. They have similar interests (sports) but they are UBER competitive so they are always fighting.

In my family growing up, my older brother and I were 14 months apart and got along great....my younger brother was an "oops" 7 years later and my two brothers absolutely fought constantly. Now they are the best of friends.

dcozad999

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2018, 09:20:00 AM »
Zero. Bite the bullet and have twins.

FireHiker

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2018, 09:45:33 AM »
We intended to have three years between number 2 and 3 (had 9 years between 1 and 2; divorce and re-marriage in there). We ended up with 23 months between them instead unintentionally: had a miscarriage before #2 and it took awhile to get pregnant with him, so we weren't super careful because we didn't figure it would happen quickly. But it CAN happen from one time, early in the month, even if you have a 14 month old nursing around the clock...

I will say that the first two years after #3 was born were really freaking hard. #2 was a runner so #3 lived in the moby wrap and didn't even go in a stroller for the first time until she was about 8 or 9 months old because when the toddler would run off I didn't want to abandon a baby in a stroller, however briefly, to chase after him. We did cloth diapers and I exclusively nursed; thank goodness work was very slow so I got to essentially stay home, only working occasionally (often bringing the baby into the office while a friend watched the toddler), without a gap on my resume. Looking back it was a chaotic blur. Now they are 6 and 8 and we are out of the "survival mode" time I like having them close together. We can treat them ALMOST the same as far as rules go, and they have a lot of the same interests and are very close. When we travel it's easy to do things they will both enjoy.

mm1970

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2018, 10:06:42 AM »
My boys are 6.5 years apart.  It works I guess?

Cassie

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2018, 10:07:11 AM »
My first 2 were 4 years apart and that was super easy. My third was born when my second was 33 months and it was much harder.  He was super jealous and reverted to some babyish behavior.

Greyweld

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2018, 10:19:14 AM »
As a totally unqualified non-parent, I have experience with fairly large age gap with my brothers -- 4 and 7 years younger than me.

There were a few years where I HATED having siblings (about age 4 when brother 1 was born to about pre-teen age when I started becoming more independent from my parents) because the age gap was large enough where they were an annoyance rather than a playmate, and demanded so much more of my parents' attention which I was used to having ALL of. But I love my brothers like crazy now. It's great having them be far enough where I can give them advice in their current stage of life while being slightly detached. And I think having them far apart from me was better than never having them. I think I would have become super spoiled had I stayed an only child.

For the record, brother 1 and brother 2 with a 3-ish year gap got along a bit better. I think where they clashed was more personality than age.

So they might not be great playmates for each other for several years, but that doesn't mean having a much younger sibling is 'bad'.

SunshineAZ

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2018, 10:31:29 AM »
I read a book on birth order once and I remember that it recommended 3 years as the ideal separation.  As for me, I only have 1 brother who is 7 years younger and we are not close at all and never really got along. YMMV. 

Poundwise

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2018, 11:04:36 AM »
My 3 kids are spaced 4-5 years apart.

Pros: 
  • Very little competition. You can give your 4 or 5 year old undivided attention... talk to them, watch their tricks, laugh at their jokes, etc. while you hold the baby and they won't mind.
  • absolutely no separation anxiety in the younger kids, as long as there's an older sib around. Easier to get them to move to a bed shared in room with older sibs.
  • older kids are great with the younger kids and help out buckling them in car seats, helping on coats, etc. In fact, my teen now babysits for short periods. Really looking forward to more of this.

Cons:
  • Childproofing a little harder. But none of my babies choked on the thousands of tiny toys their older sibs left around
  • Naps: younger kids have absolutely no set naps or bedtimes, because I am always dashing around picking up or dropping off older sibs at school and activities. Also hard to get younger kids to go to bed if their older sibs are still up.
  • Activities: kids are never in the same activities or same schools, so extra pickups/dropoffs.  They very seldom enjoy the same movies or shows. It's a hassle having to take a toddler to band concerts, parent teacher conferences for older children, etc.
  • Too much stuff. We have 10 years of clothing saved for hand me downs, as well as toys appropriate for 10 years of development
  • Tremendous fights now between 13 year old and 9 year old, as they start to grow apart and everything the younger sib does embarrasses the older one.
  • I will be old and gray by the time they all leave the house

Conclusion: 3 years would have been great
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 11:06:12 AM by Poundwise »

BAM

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2018, 11:23:02 AM »
We have spaces of 12 months, 14 months, a couple around 1 1/2 to 2 years, a couple around 2 1/2 years, 3 1/2 years, 4 years. Each spacing has its difficulties and it's great things.
For the smaller spacings, the first year or so was hard since both kids needed me for everything and I was very tired with waking infants. But as they got older, they easily became best friends and played together well (mostly - some personality differences have caused some issues, of course).
For the larger spacings, it was easier at first since the older was independent before the younger was born but as they grew there was more difference in interests and developmental stages so they didn't become friends as easily. And, in one case, the younger spent most of his life trying to catch up to the older and being frustrated and angry when he wasn't able (the child's personality is the "grass is always greener in the older ages" thing). But now that the older of the two is a young adult and the second is almost there and our biggest kids at 6'3", they get along great and enjoy much of the same things.
So I would agree that it always works out. Don't overthink - just enjoy. It goes much to fast!

Lichen

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2018, 11:25:23 AM »
Ours are 4.5 years apart, we planned for 4-ish. This was very much a financial choice -- only one in college at a time. DW has a 3.5 age gap and I have a 5 year age gap (with our respective siblings), so medium-long gaps are what we also see as normal from personal experience. Too far apart for much rivalry/comparisons, but still close enough to have a strong sibling connection (which we fostered with shared rooms until the elder was 13).


formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2018, 12:40:43 PM »
My bio kids are exactly 3.5 years apart.  I had intended to have them closer together, but oldest was HARD as baby and toddler.  She demanded tons and tons and tons of attention. 

For us, this was the perfect gap.  She was out of diapers when her little brother came home (literally the day before - I attribute this to Mommy Magic), so I only had one to diaper.  She could help a little, and she could sort of almost occupy herself when I was busy with baby. 

They are 12 and 8 now.  Overall, through the year they have gotten along very well, which means they bicker a lot but present a united front to everyone else.  She is basically his security blanket.

She does have a bad habit of treating him like he's her kid - she tells him what to do, gets very upset that he never does it, makes up all kinds of rules she thinks he needs to follow, etc.  I did that to my sister who is only 2 years younger, though, so I think it's more of a personality problem than an age gap problem.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2018, 01:46:06 PM »
Our kids are almost 3.5 years apart and for us it's a great age gap.  They are close enough that they play together but far enough that the older one was at least a little bit independent when the younger one was born.  I can't imagine having kids closer together - just too tough for the parents.

SK Joyous

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2018, 02:29:58 PM »
Ours were almost 7 years apart, and we loved it! Our older got to be the focus for many years, and by the time the youngest came she was independent, in school, had her own activities and interests, so no noses-out-of-joint or jealousy, and that gave us time to also give a great deal of focus to the younger one for those younger years. We always told them they were each half-only-children LOL

Bonus, our first one was grown up and moved out before the younger one even started driving, and definitely no post-secondary education at the same time!

We were younger when we started having kids though, so I could see where time pressures may matter more for OP - but I guess I'm saying don't stress about having more time between them, just do what's best for your family - I think any age gap can work, as evidenced by all the great posts on here!

tthree

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2018, 11:24:11 PM »
Whatever is "ideal" for your situation is ideal.  IMO too many people get hung up on the 2 year gap. 

My kids are VERY purposefully four years apart.  I felt like I really had an opportunity to get my feet under myself and define myself as more than "just a mom" before kid two.  Contrary to what my mom constantly preached, #1 did not have his nose out of joint after being an only "for so long".  Instead he was able to understand, "baby needs my attention can you please wait a moment" in a way most 2 year olds wouldn't be able to understand.

At the age of 9 and 5 they still play really well together.  YMMV.

From my observation of my family (and others), age gap does NOT determine how close siblings remain in adulthood.  There are many other contributing factors.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2018, 01:34:23 PM »
My sister and I are very close as adults but we are more than 10 years apart in age.  I agree with tthree.  However, a very large age gap is not ideal if you want the kids to play together and entertain each other.  My sister and I were basically like two only children.

Greyweld

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2018, 12:16:10 PM »
My sister and I are very close as adults but we are more than 10 years apart in age.  I agree with tthree.  However, a very large age gap is not ideal if you want the kids to play together and entertain each other.  My sister and I were basically like two only children.

I agree with this. I'm great friends with my brothers as adults. As children, I was at best times their babysitter.

Poundwise

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2018, 07:38:29 AM »
As I think about it, most of the issues of a big age difference happen if you have more than two kids. If I had only 2, the 5 year difference would be a nonissue.

So if you want to try to plan (keeping in mind that fate and nature may have other plans for you) take a look at the overall span of parenting. 

MrsDinero

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2018, 08:48:24 AM »
The best age gap is the one that makes the most sense for you and your family.

There is a 20 year age gap between my first and second.  Then a 11.5 month gap between second and third. There is no perfect gap. 

blinx7

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2018, 11:38:40 AM »
Generally speaking I think smaller is better so they can play together.  Our first and second are 2.5 years apart and they play together all the time.

That being said we couldn't handle the thought of a third when our second was 18 months.  Now he turned two a few months ago and we are thinking about it. 

So the third will be 3-4 years younger.  I don't want any bigger than that because once we get out of the night wake up / diapers phase I don't think we will want to go back!! 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 11:42:51 AM by blinx7 »

Cranky

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2018, 03:13:40 PM »
My kids were/are 4.5 years and 3.5 years apart, and I think it worked out great. The older kid was really done with being a baby and was happy to be a big sister, and I'd had some time to get past having someone attached to me all the time.

How it works out for the kids depends somewhat on their individual personalities, though. My oldest and youngest are 8 years apart and are really closer than either of them is to the middle child, because they just always were more alike. I think they all got along well as children, though.

elliha

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2018, 04:08:46 AM »
Our kids are 4 years apart, born the same month even. They are now soon to be 6 and 2 and they love each other. Sure, the older one things the younger one is annoying at times and the little one doesn't like when the older one hugs "his" mommy. They laugh, they cry, they play, they run and they are brother and sister. So far it is a good gap I think. The older one was a very intense child and that was part of it, our health and finances another. I say this since a lot of people (we found out later) assumed that our gap was due to some kind of infertility, nope, we only had sex once that month and that was our first month without protection and I was pregnant. We had expected it to take 3-6 months at the very least since it took about 3 months the first time and I was 33 at the time.

I have 18, 16, 13 and 10 years between me and my siblings and I have the best relationship with the youngest and oldest one of them. When I was a child they didn't feel as much as siblings as extra parents but now that we are all grown up they are just like any other siblings I think. My biggest fear is that since our parents died young both of them I am a bit scared now that they move into their 50s that they will too die young. I love them too much for that to happen. I think this fear would be smaller if we were the same age.

caracarn

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2018, 07:39:07 AM »
There is no ideal gap.  My three are about 2-3 years apart.  I remarried and gained three more that inserted right in between so all age gaps are now 1-1.5 years and I noticed no difference when that happened.  You're worried about one new child?  Imagine interspersing three out of the blue.  I think that should be a good example that it is much more about your attitude that drives how it will be than the actual gap.

wearfannypacks

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2018, 08:49:25 AM »
As the mom, it was more about what I was emotionally and physically ready for, rather than what's ideal for my kids. Parenting is about my kids, but it's also about what I can handle too. I have chronic health issues, 1st trimester and newbornland are extremely exhausting for my body. I need at least a year of solid sleep before I can contemplate having another child. Pregnant with my 3rd, the spacing is about 3 years between each. That's how much time I feel my body needs.

I'm the oldest of 5. 8 year gap between my youngest sister and I. My memories of my mother from 6-9 are not that pleasant. She was overworked, stressed out, and lost her cool frequently. It was a very hard and stressful time for her. That being said, I'm very close with all 4 of my siblings, we all like each other.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2018, 12:06:05 PM »
I think the personality of the kids means more than the age gap. I have 3,  boy - 2 yr -girl - 13 months - boy.

I was determined to raise each to be who they were meant to be (as opposed to my other's way of parenting) They are all close, and I think it's because they were  allowed to be individuals
(though those last 2, girl was small, boy was big, I got enough questions from strangers "Are the twins?" they should have just been 13 MINUTES apart)

soccerluvof4

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Re: Family Planning - Ideal Age Gap
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2018, 03:36:01 PM »
We had a boy and a girl next 18 months apart but one grade apart. Then we waited 4 years and had two boys again 18 months apart but 2 grades apart. Both were fine.