Coming from a Latina household where family is so important, I always get asked, “When are you planning for baby number 2?” My grandmother had 10 children — each one year apart — and according to her, my biological clock is ticking.
As the mom of a 10-month-old, the hubby and I have started talking about baby number 2, but I always thought I ideally wanted to wait 3 to 4 years before having a second child. My husband, on the other hand, is set on 2 years.
Is there really an ideal age gap between siblings? I asked five parents (who each have children between 2 to 4 years apart) to shed some light on their experience. Here’s what they had to say:
"Growing up close in age, they played together and are now all great friends." 1 of 5
"As a daddy to seven kids: 27 years old, 26 years old, 24 years old, 23 years old, 4 years old, 2.5 years old and 11 months old, I've experienced great success with lots of very different age gaps. I won't say one is necessarily better than another, as they're all different and work in their own way. My four older children are extremely close in age; growing up they played together and are now all great friends - they also now like to help out with my younger three, which is really cool.
My 4 year old and 2.5 year old play together well, as they are interested in a lot of the same toys and activities. They also like to "help" (how they can) with their 11 month old sister! I will tell you that my older 4 kids did their fair share of fighting and bickering with each other as children, and now my 4 year old and 2.5 year old are encountering some similar struggles. However, the good times definitely outweigh the bad, and I've enjoyed raising all my children and experiencing the many various age gap interactions therein."
- Daddy Nickell, Parenting Expert and DaddyScrubs.com Founder
"My sons are the greatest friends." 2 of 5
"I truly believe that whatever the age gap is between siblings, if you keep your eye on encouraging connecting, parents can always make it the best! However, as the mother of four teenage sons who are all approximately two years apart, I can't help but vouch for that. My sons are the greatest of friends, and even plan on renting a house together when their grown, where they will use their combined talents to create books, movies, plays, music and more. When my sons were small I'll admit to feeling quite overwhelmed and exhausted at times. They were close enough in age to feel justified fighting, expecting each other to understand and be ready for concepts, and--unfortunately--movies or music that my oldest was ready for got shared with his youngest brother!
Having four small sons could sometimes feel like being in a tornado of needs, fights, and bad TV shows. But the mistakes and arguments, working through things almost as a peer group, the belief that they could share everything including expectations, is largely why they are such a fabulous group of supportive friends now. Having said that, I still believe that any age gap can be worked to the siblings advantage. I am the oldest of eight kids, and my youngest brother (who is eleven years younger than me) is a great friend. We sip coffee together almost daily! My children and their ages: Jory 19 yrs Tyran 17 yrs Shay 15 yrs Declyn 13 yrs."
-Tsara Shelton, BrainBody.net
"Each child had ample time to be the ‘baby’" 3 of 5
"I have three children, all grown now. When I started my family I decided to be easier on me, I wanted to have the older child out of diapers, no bottle or pacifier and in their own bed. My oldest daughter did everything early, so when she was just almost two years old, we began trying for a second child, and then our third.
Jennifer now 35, Amber 32 and Michael just turned 28, are the perfect ages between each other. Each child had ample time to be the 'baby' before introducing another sibling. My children had their moments - believe me! But they have become best friends over the years and are very close."
-Tammye McDuff, Editor-in-Chief for Bellflower Bulletin
"I finally got it right at the 3 year age gap" 4 of 5
"I am the mother of 5. My last three children are 3 years apart and that seems to work best. My oldest is 20 and the next one is 13. They were too spaced apart although they get along well the 13 year old would like to do more with her older sister.
The next one is 11, which was 18 months after the 13 year old. That was too close because I had two babies in my arms and I feel the 13 years suffered a little. She is a little clingy now.
The last three are 11, 8 and 5. I finally got it right. They play nicely together, they are independent and don't seem to have any attachment issues."
-Nefertari Nelson, Inspirational Speaker and Author
"It’s nice because we really have not had sibling rivalry." 5 of 5
"I am a mom of three boys ages 18, 14, and 10. I love the age gap because when they were little I was able to have one on one time with each of them (per say) by the time the next one was born the older one was old enough to play on their own, even help a little.
And now that they are older it is nice because we really have not had sibling rivalry - the fact that I have boys and the fact that they are good to each other (for the most part) and they have never been physical or really mean to each other - now are there times that they argue? Yes.
I am not sure if it is an advantage or disadvantage that we will have one graduate and then wait three years and then wait 4 years for the last one - but we will atleast get some time to save in between."
Read more of Carmen’s writing on her fashion blog, Viva Fashion.