Before I had kids and before we had our youngest daughter I was so curious about how many years apart we should have our kids. I think everyone draws back to their own experience growing up with siblings. I have 2 younger sisters. One that is 3 years younger than me and one that is 10 years younger. While we are all good friends now, when we were growing up the one that is 3 years younger than me and I fought non stop. Looking back I don’t know how my parents survived it. I vowed not to ever have my kids 3 years apart but ended up having kid spaced 4 years apart.
I read articles about which is the best age difference for siblings. I thought about how I wanted our family to look. I really thought I could perfectly plan it all out. My perfect plan was 4 kids all 2 years apart….Then real life hit and we had the big surprise that my first pregnancy was twins!
That completely threw my plans out of the water. I still knew that I wanted more than 2 but when the time game to think about having another if there was going to be 2 year age gap I completely freaked out. I had twins that were just starting to walk at 14 months and I knew I just couldn’t handle another one right then. So…change of plans. 🙂
Now I have 3 kids, the oldest two of them are a set of twins. My daughter was born when they were turning 4. Therefore, I really have an age difference of 4 years between my oldest 2 and my youngest.
Here is a list of what I think are the pros and cons of having an age gap of 4 years between siblings. I know I used to love to read about this topic and I still love reading about what order of birth means for personalities but that is a post for another day.
- Older one is in preschool so you can spend one on one time with baby. I used to love the few hours in the morning that my boys were in school so I could bond with just the baby.
- Older ones understand when you can’t help them right away. This is awesome that they have a slight understanding that when I am trying to get the baby to sleep they know to hang on a few minutes and I’ll be able to help them.
- I feel it makes the older one learn empathy and patience. My boys are great with younger kids and I think this is because they sorta remember having a little baby in the house.
- No competition. They do not have to compete with each other. They are on totally different levels of growth. There isn’t even the option to play soccer together in the backyard.
- No arguing about sharing toys – They are not interested in the same things at all. This is especially the case because I have boys and girls.
- Sad they won’t be in high school together to help each other out – When I was a kids I always wished I had an older brother at school. I am bummed they won’t be in high school at the same time to help each other out.
- They aren’t really good playmates – I discussed this above in a pro that there is no competition but the downside is also that they do not like to play together. My youngest wants to play pretend games that my boys think are babyish. My oldest just want to play sports type games, like catch, soccer, football and my youngest just doesn’t have the skills to even try to play.
- I feel separated on the weekends like our family is split into 2. – This is a big one. My boys are old enough to go with my husband to play golf, fish, or to the fields to play soccer but my daughter doesn’t want to go. Most of our downtime on weekends are spent with my husband out with the older ones and me home with the youngest. This was especially bad the first 3 years when she still napped. Now that she isn’t napping I am trying to have us all go do some activities but she is more of a homebody. I am looking forward to the day she wants to go shopping or get a manicure. 🙂 Then I’ll be fine with the boys going fishing and her and I having a girls day.
In the end, I am starting to think there isn’t a perfect age separation among siblings. You can’t predict everything and it all works out in the end.
Do you have an idea of what is a perfect age difference? I love hearing how it is in other families.
Melissa Thomas says
My boys are 8 years apart. They are complete opposites! Mykal loves to be outside and on the go and Kyler is in to computers and loves being at home with his internet. Your right about the older one having more patience because of baby. They both aggravate each other all the time. I wouldn’t have it any other way! #boymom
Yes, Dean and Caden aggravate Britton too. 🙂
Terri Steffes says
In my eyes there are no cons! Children are such a blessing, no matter how close or apart they are. My sister and I are 13 months apart, and I am 8 years older than my brother. Certainly wasn’t planned to be that way, but we wouldn’t have it any different! Your family is gorgeous!
Thanks! I completely agree that they are a blessing no matter when but I was always interested in how many years I should have my children spaced apart because my sister was 3 years younger than me and we fought so much as kids (we are good friends now). I thought that a different age range would change things but turns out I think it is just each childs temperament versus age spacing, plus you sometimes just can’t control when you get pregnant. Thanks for the comment!
Lol my sister and I fought too! Like you we are good friends now!
My sister and I are 4 years apart and have always gotten along very well. My brothers are twins and I commend you for having twins! haha. They are a handful, thats for sure! We have just one child now but I am definitely wanting to wait until that 4 year mark before having another one!
I don’t think four years is bad at all. my brother and i are two years apart but three grades apart (his bday is late 95, mine is early 93) and we were so close growing up and still close now! I think four is a good amount and even if they’re not close when they are younger they will be closer when they grow up. I love having a brother and that’s a bond that no body can ever break. Great post xx felinebykatsaris.com
Shann Eva says
Yeah, I don’t really think there is a perfect difference either. Me and my brother were 3 years in age, but 4 years apart in school, since we had September birthdays (I went early, he went late.) We didn’t fight too much, but we also didn’t really hang out once we got to be school aged. In my own, I have a 2 and a half year difference. My oldest is now 6, and I have twins that will be 4 in May. There’s a little jealousy, and some toy sharing issues, but it’s also that way between the twins too. They are all boys.
They will probably all be so close when they are older. How fun that they are all boys and all close in age. 🙂
There is 4 years between me and my older sibling, and 4 years between me and my youngest sibling. We all get along brilliantly!
I am hoping this will be the case when they get a little bit older. 🙂
Lesley Carter says
With a four year old and us not getting any younger, we often talk about having another one now or never. All of the cons and starting over with a newborn weighs on me but then I look at the pictures of the three of yours together and all cons seem to go out the window.
DANI CC says
Your photos and your family is so beautiful. I love the part where you talk about twins not being in the plan and throwing the plan out the window. My siblings and I are each 2 years apart with 4 years between the oldest and youngest. So one of us was always in school with the other.
Amy at Mom's Magical Miles says
I’m in the same boat. While my oldest two are not twins, they are only 18 months and one year apart in school. My youngest was a surprise and he is 5 years younger than my middle son. For a while I really did feel like family vacations were just me taking the youngest to do something and my husband taking the older two to do something else. Now that they are 14, 12 and almost 8 it’s all working itself out. And I’ve got free babysitters!!!
That is so good to hear that it starts to all come together and everyone do the same activities. I was surprised at how much it split us up but it seems to slowly be getting better as my youngest gets older. I am glad to hear from you that it works out. Thanks!
Rachel G says
I don’t think there’s any ‘perfect’ age difference because babies are pretty much impossible to truly ‘plan’. 😛 I hope to have children really close together, even less than 2 years apart ideally. I and my siblings are all about 2 years apart, some slighter longer than others, the nearest in age are 15 months apart–but then my baby sister is 5 years younger than everyone else, and 16 years younger than me, the oldest. I love my baby sister like crazy, but I moved out to go to college when I was 17 and she was 1 year old so it’s always been a little sad that I wasn’t around a lot of the time while she was little. She’s nine now, and my husband and I moved close to my parents last year, so now we get to see her alot. On the perks of being really close in age–three of my siblings are currently 22, 21, and 19 and they all live together and go to college together (two different colleges in the same city), and that’s been really nice that they can help each other through those difficult starting out in life years, particularly since they are all very far from mom and dad!
Blythe A says
There are 3 of us in my family. My sister and I are 16 months apart, and then our brother should up when I was four. According to my mom, I was the only one that was planned. LOL. All three of us are still close, though my sister and I are definitely closer. I think it helped that the last sibling was a boy. I felt very protective of him, plus he was into to different things.
My sister and I are three years apart and we got along great! Until I turned 13, then I wanted nothing to do with her. 🙂 My husband and I have this conversation all the time. Our first is 7 months old and we just can’t decide what a good age gap will be! We’re hoping two years, but who knows what’ll happen!
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories says
Your kids are so adorable. My oldest is a teen and we started trying for baby #2 when he was 2.5 but I didn’t actually have his younger brother till he was 5 and already in Kindergarten. Then surprise, baby #3 arrived. There are 8 years between my oldest and youngest and 3 years between middle and youngest. I understand how tough it can be, it’s tough finding family activities and trips that will entertain both a high schooler and a Kindergartener. And the oldest is bummed he’ll never be in the same school with his brother. I’m bummed we’ll be paying for college for what seems like forever by the time the youngest finishes.
Luckily for us, the 3 brothers are very close and they love playing together for the most part. The two youngest are best friends but bicker some. And the oldest is just a fun kid who gets along with everyone, adults and kids alike. Our problem with him is he’s too smothering of his little brothers, always wanting to hug on or wrestle with them and the little guys resist. They are all boys though so they typically like the same types of activities so on weekends we really try to do things together. It’s hard though with their varying schedules. There are definitely pros and cons to having them spaced apart. I always wanted my kids 2 years apart but I think that would’ve made it harder in the diaper/potty training stage!
Ahh…they sound so awesome. I love that your oldest gets along well with the younger two. I also have a sister that is 10 years younger than me and we became so much closer once she got into her 20s. As they all get older they will all get on the same level. I can tell it is starting to get a little better as my youngest gets out of the toddler years. I love hearing how other families work. 🙂
Michele ~ West Via Midwest says
I have a sister that is 15 years older than I was and a brother 23 months younger. I had the best of both worlds. I fought with the younger one constantly and drove the older one crazy wanting to be with her all the time. Id never even thought about the pros and cons of planning this until I read your article. Ultimately I think that as long as you come from an environment that is supposrive and loving you will be fine! (I did!!)
Ana Marino says
My brother and I are 9 years apart! and I must say I loved it but at the same time I wish I had a sibling that could go clubbing with me hahaha We don’t fight as much just little arguments, but we are from 2 different generations.
jill conyers says
My kids are 2 years apart all thanks to the military’s planning and the timing of my husband’s deployments.
My kids are 2 year apart and I vowed to myself that my kids wouldn’t be 5 years apart because that’s how spaced out me and my brother are. We fought like no ones business and still fight to this day! Great post!
I honestly think there are pros and cons to all kid age spacing me and my sister are nine years apart and we are soooo close.
my sister and i are 4 years apart. it was tough when we were younger and she was just a little too young to keep up with me but it’s great now.
Bernadette Callahan says
My older 2 are less than a year apart. Then my daughter is a year and a half after them. They were always close growing up, they are now 15, 14, and soon to be 13. Then I have 2 younger ones, they are 6 and 8. They are also very closer to each other and the older 3.
I liked having them all fairly close together.
Maggie S. says
I studied Family Relations and Child Development in my undergrad, and, at that time, research supported the 4 year age difference as optimum. That was a long time ago, and research says a lot of things, now, that are really not supported by real life, but I think the pros and cons you list are pretty wise.
All that said, no matter what the age difference, there is no way to keep the ups and downs of life from happening.
You have a lovely family and it looks like those boys already take very good care of your princess.
That is so interesting that you actually studied this. Yes, life has a funny way of messing up the best laid plans. 🙂
I don’t even know what I was browsing what I came across your Blog post but I was so excited to read your take on the age difference! Even more surprising to me; as a twin myself, was discovering you have twins!
Our two girls are exactly 4 years, 10 days apart! I was very distressed over the 2+ year struggle we had getting [staying] pregnant because I was so uncertain if my girls would have anything in common!
Ultimately, I realized it was probably for the better because (as a twin) I recalled fighting CONSTANTLY with my Sister!!! I assumed the 4 year gap would be TERRIFFIC (and perhaps they would fight almost never, if at all…..)
Boy oh boy was I WRONG!?!?! LOL!
I litterally can’t tell the difference in sibling rivalry from 17 minutes apart or the 4 years! I saw no difference and concluded that I am bound to have offspring like myself (bossy, stubborn & unrelenting) so I may as well just go with the flow…. ?
Although off topic. Strangely enough my twin Sister became pregnant with her first child the same week I finally got pregnant with my second! So my youngest – not only has a boy cousin who is only 5 days older than her, my Sister had 3 boy in less than 5 years so we always have plent little boy cousins around to entertain my youngest when my oldest is watching her shoes or doing more grown up things like (Music.ly, Minecraft, Making Videos/Singing, Gymnastics, Artwork, etc……)
Very funny you were shocked to find out you were having twins! For some strange reason…… having grown up as a twin, every ounce of my being just ASSUMED I would naturally have twins! I was shocked when they only showed me one baby on the monitor! It just seemed “unnatural” in my head to NOT have twins…… LOL!
Thank You for Sharing!!!
I have ALWAYS WONDERED if other people obsess (calculate) when & how they will grow their family! Kudos to you for at least trying!!!! ????
Thanks so much. Yes, the 4 year age gap is super interesting. I also wonder if my boys will have twins…that would be amazing. I try so hard to curb the sibling rivalry but it is a constant work in progress. I just spent some time last night with one of my boys because I can tell he needs some one-on-one time because he has had some behavior issues lately but it is just so difficult to find the time. My kids love their cousins too! 🙂
This is interesting to me. As my two that are 4 years apart do fight over the same toys and my 6 year old gets jealous of the attention the 2 year old gets no matter how much I explain that he isn’t old enough to do everything she can do.