Before we had our first baby, my husband and I always wanted to have two children close together. He has a sister a year younger than he is and I have 4 younger siblings who are all around 2 years apart. As adults, we love having siblings close in age, and wanted that for our own children. I think the reality of parenting hit him harder than he expected. I noticed that in conversation, the phrase “when we have another baby…” became “IF we have another baby.” We clearly weren’t ready to have another one soon after our first was born, but I wasn’t convinced that we wanted our son to be an only child. This got me wondering – What is the best age gap between siblings?
For us, the decision will come down to family timing more than sticking to our plan. Just like all other plans in life, things change! At the same time, I don’t want my son to miss out on having a sibling close in age. I also don’t want to get stuck in the baby phase for too long. It can be hard to find a happy medium.
Since I don’t have experience in this department, I went to the moms of Facebook and asked them what the best age gap between siblings is. Every family is different, and there is no one size fits all answer. There are definitely pros and cons that can help you decide what the best age gap for your family is.
What is the best age gap between siblings?
Under 2 years
For some moms, getting pregnant quickly after having their first baby is a dream come true. For others, the idea of having two infants at once is a nightmare. This age gap may be for you if you want your kids to go through all of the phases of life together, if you want to move past the pregnancy and infant phase all at once, or if you’re just really excited to have another baby!
Moms loved: siblings play together well, they are interested in the same activities, parents are still in “baby mode,” reusing the baby gear all at once.
Moms didn’t love: having multiples in diapers, dealing with too many car seats at once, having to carry two babies, sibling rivalry, fighting over toys and affection, parents are stuck in “baby mode.”
2 to 3 years
This seemed to be a common age range among moms that I talked to. It’s a nice compromise that allows your kids to be close in age without having to deal with two infants at once. Your toddler will be independent enough play a little bit alone while you take care of the new baby.
Moms loved: having an older sibling who understood they are getting a baby, siblings that are still close enough to play together, having baby gear still easily accessible.
Moms didn’t love: still possibly having two in diapers, sibling rivalries, fighting.
4 to 5 years
Parents who are worried about dealing with a toddler and a baby at the same time like to wait until their first born is old enough to be self-dependent and even helpful with the new baby. This can make taking care of both children much easier.
Moms loved: the older sibling will understand and possibly help with a new baby, the older sibling needs less attention/affection.
Moms didn’t love: coordinating times with kids in different schools, the younger sibling playing “tag-along” to the older.
5 or more years
Obviously, the longer you wait, the more self-dependence you will get out of your first-born. Your oldest may be able to help you out quite a bit with the baby and household chores. This also puts your kids farther apart, and they may not have the same interests at the same time.
Moms loved: both children feeling like only children, lots of one-on-one time, the older can help with the younger, less sibling rivalry and fighting.
Moms didn’t love: Having children in the house for so long, children won’t have many common interests in childhood.
I’d love to get more moms chiming in on this one. What is the best age gap between siblings in your opinion?
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