best age difference between siblings? - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 8 Old 06-05-2012, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
begoniamama's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I know this is the age old question that has probably been asked thousands of times on this forum, but i want to hear from you! mamas with multiple kids that see a better age difference between two, mamas personal experiences with their own siblings, etc. I had a friend tell me that she read an article recently saying that a childhood development study showed 3 years being the ideal age difference specifically in terms of how it benefits the youngest regarding learning and such. thoughts?

homebirth.jpg intactlact.gif love of DH and mama to DS born 1/12

begoniamama is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 8 Old 06-25-2012, 05:11 PM
QueenOfTheMeadow's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: with the wildlife
Posts: 17,826
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)

This is such a great question, and I think it really depends on the children involved.  When I was pregnant with my second child, my first started going through a really rough stage.  I know now that he had special needs, food sensitivities, and sensory issues.  At the time though, all I could think was, 'What was I thinking!!"  It turned out OK, because ds2 was a relatively easy kid compared to ds1.  They were almost exactly 2 years apart.  With ds2 and 3, they were closer to 3 years apart, and I honestly don't know if it was because ds1 was a little older and more helpful, and ds2 was an easier going kid, but that age gap worked really well for us. 

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
QueenOfTheMeadow is offline  
#3 of 8 Old 06-26-2012, 07:12 AM
strawberryprincess's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 402
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I have 4 children, and I come from a family of 4 children, so I have thought about this subject a lot!  I don't know that I have a great answer, but these are my opinions about child spacing:


My own siblings are widely spaced (13 years between oldest and youngest).  I felt that I didn't really know my oldest brother growing up, he was graduated, in college and then married all before I was 11.  I felt like we all went through those different stages at such vastly different times that we had very little in common.  As adults, we all get a long really well, and get together very often.  Our children are similar ages, so we get together for the cousin-time =)  My mom says that it worked out very well for her: she only ever had one baby/toddler at a time, and there were older siblings to help out/hold babies by the time the youngest was born. 


My own children are only spaced 8 years apart (oldest to youngest), with the two youngest only 19mo apart.  It has been so difficult at times!  Especially with two that are so young, I feel like i can never spend as much individual time with any of them that I want.  It can be very intense.  It's been really hard on my, but the kids get along great, and have similar interests so it's easier to plan activities that will entertain at least two at a time.  I have two big kids and two babies, so it does limit what we can do.  The two babies just adore each other, and giggle at and with each other so's so wonderful to watch the two interact, until the 2yo tries to sit on the 9mo!!  I just know that as they age they will be total partners in crime, as the two older ones are now =)


I think there are definite pros and cons to both having them close in age, and waiting a while longer.  The ideal age spacing is so individual for each family, child's temperment, and what the parents can handle.  But I think it's an important topic and one that needs lots of thoughtful consideration before making the decision...when it is *your* decision; as we all know it doesn't always work out the way we originally though it would!

Mama to Butterfly, B(ee), Bug, and Laniecakes

strawberryprincess is offline  
#4 of 8 Old 06-26-2012, 09:10 AM
Quinalla's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,334
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
For my Mom, she had four spaced ~18 months or so apart. She said it was very tough when she was going through all the baby/toddler years, but once we were all out of that, she said it was actually pretty nice as we all played together and kept each other busy. It was me, brother1, sister, brother2 and growing up until we were high school/college, it was me and my two brothers who were pretty close, my sister often being off doing her own thing as she wasn't into video games and D&D and whatnot like the other three of us were. And sure we fought some, all siblings do, but we actually got along pretty well to the point where people wouldn't believe we were siblings because we actually liked to do things with each other. As adults now we all get along great, but I think that has more to do with personality than anything else. So as a kid, I loved that spacing as we were really close growing up, but as a parent now, I wouldn't want to have the spacing for myself. We are just starting to try now for our second and our first will be 3.5 years or older when the 2nd could be here. I didn't' want any closer than 3 years for me, it was too much. Some folks like to get all the newborn stages out of the way at once, they hate giving up the "freedom" again, but I needed some spacing to get myself back together again as my first was a terrible sleeper. We don't want more than two, so we weren't too worried about our ages since we aren't trying to fit anymore kids in.

So yeah, I think a lot depends on kids temperaments, how much the parents can handle, how many kids you want to have, your age, if you have had any fertility issue, so much goes into it!

Katie trekkie.gif - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13  hug.gif 



Quinalla is offline  
#5 of 8 Old 06-26-2012, 09:44 AM
loveandgarbage's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,619
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I definitely agree that it depends on child temperament-- and I think your first dictates that. DS2 wasn't planned, but I was happy that he and DS1 are 2 yrs apart (to be exact-- 23 months). DS1 was an "easy" baby and adjusted really well to having a newborn in the house. They are great playmates and I assume they will continue to be close into adulthood. I am pregnant with #3 and when he/she is born there will be age differences of 4.5 and 6.5 yrs. It makes me a little sad that this baby won't have a close-in-age sibling but there are benefits to this spacing, too. I hope my older sons will be good teachers/leaders, and from my end it will be easier to take care of a baby with somewhat older kids. My sister and I (who have been super close since being on earth) are only 16 months apart. Whereas it was really cool growing up, and continues to be, my mom said that she blocked out so much of our young childhood because it was soooo hard.

Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)

loveandgarbage is offline  
#6 of 8 Old 06-26-2012, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
begoniamama's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

wow i can see 16 months being super hard! my sis and i are 2 yrs 7 months apart and it was pretty perfect growing up that close in age and now we are best friends. her kids are 3.5 yrs apart and now that seems perfect to me. the oldest is grown enough to help out with the baby and can play independently, communicate clearly etc... i think if i could choose just based off age differences for mama and babes, i would do no less than 2 years. but personally , since i was so close to all my cousins who were about ten yrs older than me, i'm a fan of bigger age gaps. 


my 5.5 month old DS has been a dream baby, we feel so grateful. of course he is only 5 months old and that could all change by the time we want to have LO2. i like the advice of waiting to see the first child's temperament before adding number two. if toddlerhood is a breeze, let's throw another one in the mix. if it's a daily roller coaster ride, wait we will! 

homebirth.jpg intactlact.gif love of DH and mama to DS born 1/12

begoniamama is offline  
#7 of 8 Old 06-26-2012, 03:11 PM
Peggy O'Mara's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Posts: 438
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I read somewhere that 5 years apart was ideal, but who does that? Mostly life happens. My sister and I were 3 years apart, too much to play together as we got older. My first two are 18 months apart and wow, was that hard. But, they were like twins, played together and are close as adults. My kids were close together. First two 18 months. Second and third, 2 years apart. Third and fourth 4 years apart. Now, that was easier. I think we can make a case for any option. Do what works for your family.

Peggy O'Mara is offline  
#8 of 8 Old 06-28-2012, 12:19 PM
Ms Rabbit's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 111
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am the oldest out of 4 children. My parents had me, 6 years later had my sister, 18 months later had brother1 and 13 months later had brother2. Growing up it was naturally expected of me to be "moms little helper", and I often resented that role. I was too old to really share anything in common with my siblings, and they were so close in age they were the best of friends. They shared toys, interests, friends, experiences, etc. They had a blast growing up and still share an incredibly close bond. As adults we are all great friends now.


DS1 and DS2 are 18 months apart, and DS2 and baby #3 will be 23 months apart. I LOVE this spacing. They are buddies, they enjoy the same activities and interests and are really developing a great bond. I really appreciate this age difference especially when we plan trips and outings, both are engaged and interested (vs. trying to plan something for one age group and having the other age group bored or uninterested).

Happy wife of Mr. Rabbit; proud momma to DS1 (07.07.09), DS2 (02.11.11) and expecting baby #3 01.27.13.


Ms Rabbit is offline  

Family Planning

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 19,872

33 members and 19,839 guests
agentofchaos , AllTomorrowsParties , azure_tears , bananabee , BarefootBrooke , Boobiejuice , danzergurl00 , Deborah , easydoesit , etsdtm99 , Gaelbae , girlspn , greenemami , hillymum , JElaineB , lab , lisak1234 , manyhatsmom , Michele123 , moominmamma , NCIS4Ever2001 , pitchfork , pokeyac , RollerCoasterMama , samaxtics , shantimama , Sihaya , sniffmommy , TheChainedAngel , Vazquezpaulino , verticalscope , waywornwanderer
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.