Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Poll Results: Age Gap Between Children

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I frequently see questions about ideal age gaps between children. People want insight before making that decision on their own. Obviously few people can get the exact gap they choose, but you can control when you start trying. And people want an idea of what they are getting into before they start the trying.

Our latest poll was on this topic. You will notice that through various gaps, people find good things and bad things in the gap. There are many considerations in age gaps. There is no one right age gap. I love that people, no matter the age gap, find things they love about it. 

1. What is the age spacing between your children? (if you have more than two children, you can list the various age gaps).

I have answered here, but for more of my thoughts, see:

6 Months: (one was adopted)
Pros:
  • Shannon said: same schedule, same interests, great playmates
Cons:
  • Shannon said: first year was really hard, emotionally it's hard to have two babies crying and needing you and not being able to give them both your all. Going out in public with 2 the same age is hard sometimes: 2 tantrums, 2 whiney, 2 not listening etc 
12 Months
Pros: 
  • Joy said: Perks: they play with the same toys now (almost 3 years old and almost 2 years old), they take an afternoon nap at the same time, and they will never remember a time without each other :)
Cons:
  • Joy said: Cons: nursing and taking care of a newborn was a little tricky with a one year old. I really cracked down on our routine so that there were very few times my one year old was free to roam around (room time, blanket time, naps all helped keep him occupied). I've also found myself giving my littlest one more freedoms than I should be, and I have to remind myself that a year difference is still a difference. I need to remember that she is not where my oldest is developmentally and should not be allowed to do some of the same things. 
15 Months
Pros:
  • Jerusha said:  they have the same interests, enjoy the same outside activities and places to go, and can do most things together at home. Also naps and bedtimes, mealtimes are the same, and their daily routine is similar. No dropping off older brothers or sisters or disruptions. Teaching morals and right behaviour is similar and consequences are similar too.
Cons:
  • Jerusha said: I have a hard time when pregnant and becoming pregnant so soon after giving birth was tough. My oldest was 7 months when I was pregnant with my second. (However in hindsight I am glad I became pregnant when I did because running after a two year old and pregnant I think would be much worse.
20 Months
Pros: 
  • Emily said: Similar interests because they are not too far apart; they often play with the same toys; interested in the same events (ie zoo, childrens museum, etc); similar schedules (both still have naps); older one doesn't remember (or miss) a time without his brother; good for them both to have to share mommy & daddy and learn to play with someone their age
Cons:
  • Emily said:  two in diapers for a while (unless you train early); two toddlers at the same time which can be tiring!; lots of conflict cause they want the same things and neither has the maturity to walk away from it
22 Months 
Pros:
  • Valerie (that's me) said: I felt like this was a big enough gap for my oldest to have some independence but close enough they were still able to be in similar phases of life growing up. I also liked that we just continued on with baby life--we didn't leave it and then have to jump back into it when the next baby came. I also liked having two napping still. 
Cons:
  • Valerie said: Pregnancy is hard on a body, and having two close together is even harder. I also had a pregnancy in between these two. So I was pregnant forever. I was young enough that it wasn't a huge toll, but if I had been older, it would have been pretty rough. There are times that your toddler needs you and your baby needs you, but  you can only help one of them. This gap also forces the older sibling to grow up faster than would with a larger gap. The two napping was great, but at times it was hard. When you need to time two naps within a few minutes so they will sleep best, it can be stressful. 
23 Months
Pros:
  • Valerie (that's me) said: This is all similar to the 22 month gap. There wasn't a big enough change to make a difference in the pros and cons. 
Cons:
  • See list above
24 Months
Pros:
  • Naomi said: 1) close enough to play together
    2) close enough that 1st was still taking great naps when 2nd came along and both were on the same 1 nap schedule at the same time for close
     to a year 
    3) oldest was still in crib (we had a spare)
    4) far apart enough that I was able to nurse 1st until 22 months (7 months pregnant)
    5) far apart enough that first was gaining some independence and could communicate fairly well
    6) sufficient time to get back in shape between babies
Cons: 
  • Naomi said: 1) 2 yr old remembered nursing and was jealous
    2) barely 2 yo still need a lot of work on obedience- felt like I was yelling at her all day long, while I was nursing was the worst! I feel like I didn't really get to enjoy the joys of a 2 year old
    3) potty training was delayed to age 2.5 because I couldn't handle doing it with a newborn
26 Months
Pros:
  • Shannon said: fun to see the older two care for baby brother, don't feel like all I do is feed babies, not quite as crazy as having them so close together, older two entertain younger two.
  • said:
Cons:
  • Shannon said: The baby thinks he should be able to do all his siblings do, having less freedom now with his morning nap, sleep training with an older (loud) sibling.
  • said:
27 Months
Pros:
  • Naomi said: 1) close enough to play together
    2) close enough that 1st was still taking great naps when 2nd came along and both were on the same 1 nap schedule at the same time for close
     to a year
    3) oldest was still in crib (we had a spare)
    4) far apart enough that I was able to nurse 1st until 22 months (7 months pregnant)
    5) far apart enough that first was gaining some independance and could communicate fairly well
    6) sufficient time to get back in shape between babies
    7) able to nurse even longer
    8) potty trained before baby comes
Cons:

3 Years
Pros:
  • Ashley said: Some things I'm grateful for in this age gap are my oldest can talk pretty clearly, is potty trained, is able to clean up after himself/pick up toys, follows instructions well (most of the time), and is a solidly good sleeper. Bringing a new baby home will shake up some of his consistency for a while, but he has a very strong routine to fall back on. I hope this gives me opportunity to give both of my boys the time they need from me.
    said:
Cons: 
  • Ashley said: Being 3 years apart, there will most likely be an interest rift at moments. At the same point, both being boys, I don't think this will be a huge deal. I grew up with two cousins, who were brothers to each other, with an almost exact three year age gap. They always got along well. The older was a bit of a role model/trailblazer for the younger. They had similar interests, and they have grown to have a great relationship as young adults. I think their parents worked hard to foster family, and they spent a lot of time together or with their other cousins. 
  • said:
3 Years, 2 Months
Pros: 
  • Kristy said: My oldest was potty trained before my youngest was born; sometimes the age difference is a conflict in terms of playing together, but they play with each other A LOT and I think they will be close as they grow into adults. If they had been four years apart, I think they would not have played together as much.
Cons:
  • Kristy said: If they were two years apart instead of three, I think they would have been able to attend more events, camps, etc. together rather than being split into different age groups. They won't share a middle school experience at the same time and they will only share one year in high school together. However, being three years apart works fine now that they are over 6. Most age groupings for activities and events include both of them at this time. We are probably heading for another split when my oldest goes into the tween or teen groups. He is 10 years old now. He just started going to a Tween Book Club at the library, for example, and of course his brother can't attend that.
3 Years, 4 Months
Pros: 
  • Valerie said (that's me): The three year old is so independent at this point. I was able to focus on the baby in a way I never could when the next oldest was not quite two years old. This led to me just enjoying the baby more. I was also able to recover from the last pregnancy before doing it again. Brinley, being the baby, loves being the princess of the family and everyone dotes on her.
Cons:
  • Valerie said: Three years doesn't seem that long, but it is long enough that you are out of diapers and see the light at the end of the nap tunnel, then you are sucked back in. It can be hard to go back there. That could be a pro, though, if you need a break from baby life before jumping back in. Three years thus far has put a different spin on the relationship. McKenna treats Brinley more like a little sister than as a friend. By that I mean, she treats her as little and someone she has to take care of (she absolutely adores Brinley, so I don't mean she is annoyed with her or anything, just that she is more of a "caretaker" toward Brinley than a friend). My other kids are at 2 year gaps and they have always played as friends, not as caretaker types. There will also be some big gaps in school, which I don't love. 
2. What are the perks, or pros,  of each age gap? (if you listed more than one, please list the perks with the age gap listed. For example, "18 month gap: Perks are...")
  • Answers are listed with each age gap under question 1. See above. 

3. What are the drawbacks, or cons, of each age gap? (if you listed more than one, please list the perks with the age gap listed. For example, "24 month gap: Cons are...")
  • Answers are listed with each age gap under question 1. See above. 

4. Knowing what you know now, what do you imagine the perfect age gap might be (if you were able to have it just how you wanted)?
  • Ashley said: I was hoping for a 2.5 year age gap between my kids for no real reason. After getting over the potty training, crib-to-bed transition, figuring out words sessions, and determining acceptable behavior struggles, I am thinking that the three year gap will be exactly what I need. I'm not an infant/baby master. I love toddlers with a little independence. For me, the three year gap is shaping up to be my best scenario smile emoticon
  • Shannon said: hmmmm- I really like the 6 month gap but I actually think twins would have been even better as far as age gap. Having two kids on the same schedule helps so much!!
  • Naomi said: I think right around 2 years is great. Further means you can nurse longer. Closer means they will start playing together sooner. Having the older child still taking good naps is wonderful when you have a newborn so I wouldn't wait longer than 3 years. If they are less than 2 years apart, you should get close to a year or more of both kids taking 1 long nap at the same time, yay!! 
  • Kristy said: I like our spacing (3 years, 2 months). I wouldn't extend it. I might shorten it by 3-6 months.
  • Joy said: I love this age gap (12 months). The first year was difficult. The second year has been easier. I wasn't planning to have near-Irish twins, but I wouldn't change it. My oldest has learned about sharing and loving someone other than his mommy and daddy at a very young age, and he's very sweet with her. 
  • Emily said: This is how I wanted it. :) 20 Months
  • Jerusha said: I did not plan for this age gap but looking back it has been a real blesssing for our family having them close together. I would do the same again. (15 Months)
  • Valerie said: I image a perfect gap to be about 2.5 years. That doesn't mean I would do things differently, I LOVE my two year gaps. I think that gives mom more time to recover between pregnancies and allows for the older child to be a bit more independent and less needy and sensitive to nap timings while still being close enough to be in similar phases of life together. I do think ideal spacing can be impacted by number of children, also. I love the two year gap, and if we had 3, I would have done it the exact same way. With four, I think a more ideal set up would have been 2 years between the first two and then a 2.5-3 year gap, and the next two at a two year gap between them.

    I agree with the comment above that close in age children are harder when younger, but a lot of fun as they get older. 

5. Any comments you want to share?
  • Ashley said: I wouldn't want to go any more than a three year gap. My husband and sister are four years apart (with her being older), and they don't have a close relationship now. It doesn't sound like they had a lot in common, and their parents never "forced" family time. Then again, I really think you can conquer age gap differences if you are intentional about making family identity important. Teach respect, expect respect toward all members. So what if your kids aren't both into Thomas the Train at the same time? It's more important that the kids recognize their own importance and each other's importance to the family.
  • Shannon said: I love how God built my family- just have to convince my husband that our 10 month old needs a buddy and quick!!
  • Kristy said: More than spacing, I think the number of children we decided to have affects me. Two is a blessing. It's nice in a lot of ways and I never have felt completely overwhelmed in terms of raising the children. I always wanted to have more, so I think I'll always be curious what it would be like.
  • Emily said: I've heard this from other moms with kids "close" together also - it's tiring now, but I enjoy having them in the same stages together; and also I didn't want to spread out the baby years so long that we never get out of them. I look forward to someday having more freedoms with all of us together, and not being stuck in the nap/diaper phase for too long.

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