Afternoon All! Here’s our fourth entry into the great wide blog-osphere – This one looks at the oft debated question, ‘is there an ideal age gaps between siblings?'
Well the truth is, there’s no perfect gap, is there… if you’re blessed with more than one child, you will always find a way of making whatever age gap work (and do you know what, children of all ages have 1 major thing in common… they all like to play!). However below are some musings from us on some of the benefits associated with larger and smaller age gaps, we hope you enjoy the read!
The benefits of close age gaps:
- A broadly held view on siblings with a close age gap is that it’s really helpful longer-term, as your children will be interested in similar things at similar times – toys, clubs, activities, entertainment, etc. (making it easier for parents logistically!).
- A close age gap may well equate to a very busy few years, but at least you get the ‘baby stage’ out of the way in one go, instead of having to revert back to nappies, bottles and sleepless nights at a point in life where those things are probably a distant, fuddled memory.
- All the baby info and ‘know-how’ will still be fresh in your mind… Like how to sterilise, knowledge of feeding patterns, and using all that baby gadgetry you haven't quite forgotten about, etc. You will also likely still remember where all of the baby classes / activities in your local area are and what days in the week they take place.
- The arrival of a new baby where the elder is a toddler may help your toddler to become more independent more quickly, as they begin to identify as a big boy or big girl (and not a baby… someone else has now taken that role)!
- We’ve heard it said that a closer age gaps might mean your children become really bonded and form a very close relationship in the long term, as they will spend their formative years going through similar experiences at similar times.
- It may reduce the risk of jealousy where there is a new arrival, because your eldest is still young enough not to fully grasp the concept of what the new addition to the family represents and so is a lot more accepting.
- It might also be cheaper as they will both be interested in the same toys, games, etc. And for the fashion-conscious baby/toddler, all those hand-me-downs are still going to be relevant!
- It can also be more logistically straightforward from a childcare perspective, as they’re likely to be doing the same thing at the same time, e.g. both in nursery, meaning only 1 drop off / pick up.
- A closer gap may also be a help from a career perspective. If you are returning to work and have now passed the ‘baby stage’, you may feel like you can focus on your career forward more quickly.
The benefits of larger age gaps:
- There is a school of thought that says… a larger age gap is better because your elder child is more independent and so more able to do things for themselves, making it easier for you to focus on your baby’s needs (for example there could potentially be less danger of being regularly elbow deep in double nappy trouble!).
- The older your first child, then the assumption is that they are more settled in their day-to-day, they sleep better, they can easily let you know what they want and are generally more contented (i.e. a little bit easier than a new born!). So in turn, you as parents may also be well rested (having caught up on all that lost sleep first time round) and generally better prepared for a new arrival.
- An older child may be better able to grasp the concept of a new sibling and therefore be more accepting more quickly, reducing the risk of sibling rivalry.
- If your eldest is already at school when the new arrival comes, it also means you may have the chance to spend more quality bonding time with your new baby (as you did with your first).
- With an elder child, it can be easier for them to get involved and help-out with the new arrival… running upstairs for a nappy or helping to tidy up. This can help them to feel special, create acceptance and so could help build a very special bond between siblings.
- Larger age gaps may mean they are interested in different toys at different times, which might mean less arguments!
- Lastly, from a cost perspective, it can end up being cheaper as you don’t have to ‘double up’ on all those expensive items such as baby car seats, cots, etc. You can just hand them down from eldest to youngest. Also nursery / childminders can be expensive, so having an older one at school could help with this. And where both children are still with a nursery / childminder at the same time, you often see preferential day rates being offered!
Have you recently had a new addition to the family? If so, the tiddler tracker might be very useful! It’s a handy, user-friendly baby journal for tracking feeds, sleeps and changes. It allows you to record 24 hour totals so that you can track daily progress and (hopefully!) see a routine emerge over time. Even if you aren’t following / establishing a routine, the tiddler tracker can be a handy way of helping you to remember the last feed / sleep time, or just track your little one’s development for posterity, as well as being a useful record to share with heath care providers during check-ups / appointments.
We hope you liked our blog! Do you have any ideas for another blog topic you would like to see? Let us know by emailing your suggestion to… firstname.lastname@example.org