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What is the Perfect Age Difference? Are We Missing Our Window?

By Nichole |

This was my sweet Matthew on the day he was born.

He entered this world nearly twenty-one months ago, with a sparkle in his eye, a gummy grin, and an intense need to snuggle.

I’m not sure where the months have gone, but when I look at him now, he’s part baby, but part big boy.

He’s part squishy baby, part rough and tumble toddler.

Such a big boy…


Katie was Matthew’s age when Craig and I got pregnant with him.

And the age difference between them has been perfect.

But now, we’re heading into unfamiliar waters.

I’m hoping that the months don’t continue to slip through our fingers until we reach a point where we can’t help but wonder if too much time has passed.

What’s the perfect age difference between children?

Can you share any insight with me?

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About Nichole



Nichole Beaudry lives in Sacramento, California with her husband Craig, their daughter Katie and baby boy Matthew. In her former life she was a college English professor, now she shares some of her small moments in her Practicing Gratitude column each week at SheKnows and works at AllParenting as the Assignments Editor. She was a contributor to Babble, and currently keeps a personal blog, In These Small Moments.

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0 thoughts on “What is the Perfect Age Difference? Are We Missing Our Window?

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m pregnant with my first so I cant really relate comparing my own children. I can tell you that my sister and I are VERY close. We are 13 months apart, which is crazy to know that my mother had a 4 month old and claims she PLANNED to have me. We were best friends from birth to about age 5. However, from about 5-13 werent exactly easy. Could have been our family situation. We have 2 half brothers who are much older and one is always in trouble-jail kind of trouble. we also had our cousin living with us for about 10 years and with 3 girls, the 3 of us never got along. it was always 1 vs 2. Anyway, as soon as I got my first period, my sister and I were the best of friends again. I moved out with my boyfriend- now husband, and we had an apartment. My sister did the same with her boyfriend. Our apartments were right next door. I could knock on the wall and she would hear me. We miss those days, a lot. She now has a townhouse, and if the one right next door was for sale at the time we were looking for a house, I would have bought it, regardless of its shape or condition :-) But now we live 15 minutes away from one another, I’m pregnant and she cant wait to be an aunt. My husband and I have decided, if this baby is a girl, we will get pregnant in about a year hoping for another girl so they can be best friends too.

  2. Amanda says:

    oh and just to clarify, I did not move out as soon as I got my period haha. I moved out when I was 21 haha

  3. mbmom7 says:

    My kids are mostly spaced closely – under 2 years. It has worked out pretty well = they have similar interests and activities when they are young. It’s a teen years that can cause a lot more friction between closely spaced siblings (3 girl teens 3 years apart – the drama! They are so kind and sweet to their friends and neighbors. But sisters can irritate each other with amazing speed and malice.) A friend with boys closely spaced mentioned the same thing – teen years – they need room to be apart. However, I think it mostly comes down to the personality of the kids, and the parents’ expectations. There is no “magic window” for spacing. You can make it work, regardless of the years between the kids, with patience, creativity, and time. T

  4. Kim Q says:

    I don’t think there is any “best” age difference, just individual preference. I grew up having a brother 16 months older than me, and two younger brothers by about 4 years and 5 years. My older brother and I fought all the time and only really became closer around college. My younger brothers and I have never really been SUPER close, but nor did we fight like my older brother and I.

    Currently, I have 2 girls. One is 5 years old and the other is 9 months. (4 1/2 years apart) For me, I would say THAT is the perfect age difference. My oldest is old enough to be helpful with her sister and loves her to bits. I have not had to deal with 2 babies in diapers, 2 babies that both need to be carried around everywhere, etc.

  5. Jessi says:

    I agree with Kim i dont neccessarily think there is a perfect age difference between kids. My son is 5 and my daughter is 1 1/2 just a little over 4yrs and it has worked great for us. My sister and i were 16months apart and are best friends so that worked too. My older sister is 6years older and although i wasn’t as close to her growing up i think it was more we didnt have alot in common i was a tom boy and liked sports she didn’t like that stuff but as we have gotten older we have gotten closer. I know people that have a 10yr old and baby and that is working for them. I honestly dont think there is a perfect age difference. So I would say dont worry about the age differences it’s more about the family and how as parents we bring them all together :)

  6. Andrea says:

    i’m not sure that there is a perfect age difference. my daughter is almost 4 1/2 and still an only child! we plan to have another, but this is how it has worked out. personally, i don’t think i would’ve been capable of having an infant when my daughter was 2-3 yrs old. it was a really tough age for me as a parent and i know my limits ;) so we waited. and i think it will be perfect for us, which is what matters the most :)

  7. Jaime says:

    I worry about this all the time. I got pregnant when Ainsley (4 years now) was 18 months old. I miscarried, and I just felt like my family was doomed because now I wouldn’t have children just 2 years apart. It took 4-5 months for me to get pregnant with Freddie (16 months now). So now they are a little more than 2.5 years apart. They are actually the exact distance apart as I am from my brother…who I am not very close with (but honestly I think that has more to do with personality than anything else).

    Now we are planning for #3…but not really, because I had always thought we’d start trying next month. But considering we are in the process of trying to unload 2 houses before we can move out of my in-law’s place, I’d say we aren’t going to be trying anytime soon.

    A couple of months ago this became so real that I had a breakdown over it. Now our third child would be so much younger, what would we do, it would be left out, etc. Then the very next day I read Sellabit Mum’s Small Moment Monday post on your website about the gap. And it spoke to me at just the right time.

    I still worry, but I always think about Tracy now and it makes me feel a bit better.

    Also, my sister is almost 5 years younger than me so, growing up we just never were on the same playing field.

    However, now my sister is my best friend. My brother and I still don’t talk much, but we aren’t at war either. We just have different paths for our lives.

    I know it’s a hard thing to get over, when you have an idea in your head that will no longer be a reality.

    Sorry for the long rambling comment. Hugs for you.

  8. Angela says:

    I am 6 months pregnant now with a boy and I have a daughter who is 4 1/2. This baby is due early December and my daughter will turn 5 in January. They will be 5 years apart and I fell bad that I didn’t have a baby sooner, so that my daughter would have someone closer in age. I always assumed I would have them 2-3 years apart, but honestly just wasn’t ready to be pregnant again and we really wanted to enjoy our daughter. I was thinking also that I would have a girl. She wants a sister to play girly stuff with. So I guess the age difference doesn’t mater since this baby will be a boy. I am determined to keep them close and bond. She is extremely excited and reading one of the comments above, I am reassured she will be a big helper and that things will be easier because she is more independent. Oh well, life always has a different plan. I am just grateful to have been able to be pregnant again and will focus on delivering a healthy baby.

  9. Allie says:

    I think having 4 or more years between is nice because the oldest is able to help and a little more self sufficient and potty trained. The downside is they mist likely won’t play together much because of the age gap. Kids close together are a lot to handle at once but they are into the sane things and at a similar level. Either way it will work out and just growing up with a sibling teaches a child so much regardless of the ages!

  10. angela says:

    My kids are crazy today, so this will be short :)

    I think whatever age difference you end up with will seem “right” to your family. I know it seems like K & M have the perfect age difference (I am pretty happy with A & D’s, which is 23 months). But remember that your next baby will have a different personality than K or M and will fit into your family like a missing puzzle piece, no matter when s/he decides to join you. Then you’ll think, “wow! xyz is perfect for us right now.”

  11. Laura says:

    I’ve seen this topic a lot. I’d have to go with the personality theory. There are so many anecdotes about spacing, everyone’s had every possible experience. Just go with what’s convenient and feels right to you as the parent. Your kids will get along (or not) depending on their personalities, no matter the age difference.

  12. Michele says:

    I’m 33 and due in Nov for my first. I always ‘planned’ to have 4 kids and start at around age 23-25. Funny how best laid plans go. We’re super excited to finally be expecting and crazily I’m already thinking of future kids too. My decision is now based on my own age though. I think I’d like to have my second by at least age 35-36. So about 2-3 years apart will have to work for us—if I actually have any say in the matter!

  13. KSK says:

    As others have said, I don’t think there’s one right answer. I’m 4 years older than my sister and 6 years older than my brother and I am very close to both. I was able to help a lot with my baby brother growing up.

    Since we”re just now trying for our first, I really will just feel grateful to have one. I’m 32 and although I’d like to have 2 kids, I think more and more that having 1 child may be just fine. If we do decide to try for a second(granted I can have 1), I don’t know that I’d want them closer than 3 years apart. I’m in awe of women who do.

  14. Tania says:

    My sister and I are 13 months apart. It was great when we were little but not after we entered the teen years. Now as adults we don’t get along and barely talk. I get along better with my younger brother who is 8 years younger than me. And he gets along the best with his cousin who is 3 years older than him. I’m pregnant with my first who is due in October. My sister in law is also pregnant and due in November. We are both having boys and I hope that they’ll be best friends as they grow up. That would be great because I want to wait at least 4 years before having my next child.

  15. Brooke says:

    I have a sister who is 12 months and 20 days younger than I, we got along great until the teenage years, but it was never unbearable, we grew up and matured and we are the best of friends now. I also have a younger sister and a brother of Which I am 14 an 17 years older and I am very close with. I live in another state due to my husband being in the USAF and my little sister stays with me all summer and is such a great helper with my little girl who is 20 months, I’m also expecting and so excited it’s a girl Bc I love having sisters! Times can be challenging but it doesn’t last forever! I think Bc my family had great values in raising us and never harped on bad behavior that we realize what’s important in life and that’s loving one another :) . Good luck!

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