Having a larger age gap between children

Having a large age gap between children - Ever-changing Life of a MumI often get asked about why we decided to have such a large age gap between our children.

All up, there’s four years and three months between Miss 10 and Miss 6 and five years and seven months between Miss 6 and Miss 1.

Truthfully, having a large age gap between children was the right fit me and my family. I don’t think I could have coped any other way.

My eldest daughter wasn’t a great sleeper. Scratch that. She was a shocking sleeper. So when we celebrated her first birthday and friends and family started to ask when we were planning to have another I laughed and usually said ‘never’ … at the time, I wasn’t entirely joking either.

By the age of 2, I could count on one hand the number of times she had slept through the night. I felt like I needed some time to find ‘me’ again … and get some sleep. I was buried inside there somewhere, I just had to search through the ever thickening fog of sleep deprivation, which at the time I often wondered would ever go away, to find me. We turned to a paediatrician to help work out some sleep issues and after a lot of hard work and commitment, we finally started having some success and it was only then that I felt ready to have another baby.

Having a large gap between your children means you need to be ready to handle both extremes of the age gap. I think the trickiest part is dealing with so many varying issues, often all at the same time – some days it’s a nappy explosion, lost toy and a schoolyard drama.

Getting Miss 1 into a routine has also been a lot harder as the morning and afternoon school run means her naps are often interrupted. This snowballed into many night time wakings so I took advantage of the recent school holidays to really work on baby’s routine. It has made all the difference in the world and so far it has stuck, even through the flurry of the new school term and extracurricular activities recommencing.

I would love to be able to say that Miss 1 being the third child is a ‘go with the flow’ kind of baby, but she’s not. She has no other option than to be taken along to school pick up, ferried to Miss 6’s martial arts class, head back home again then out to one of Miss 10’s dance lessons later in the evening, but that doesn’t mean she’s happy about it … and it can be super exhausting. I find the older my girls get, the later their classes start as they hit the older age groups, which can make things rather tricky when you’re dealing with a young baby who needs to go to bed.

It means A LOT of preparation to make sure everyone is kept fed , happy and entertained while another child completes their lesson. There’s also a lot of meal planning going to fit into this schedule.

On the up side, the best thing has been spending so much one-on-one time with Miss 1 while the older girls are at school. As your family grows in size, it’s often easy to forget what that was like as the craziness of family life takes over.

When the girls do arrive home from school, there’s always plenty of kisses, cuddles and attention for Miss 1. There’s nothing better than watching one of my girls read a book to their baby sister or play peek-a-boo or chasey around the dining room table as they all laugh and giggle. Not to mention them being a great help in fetching things from around the house for me, especially when Miss 1 was a newborn and I may have left her dummy, nappies or wipes in another room.

Don’t get me wrong though, the larger age gap has meant plenty of fighting too, particularly between my older girls. It may just be their temperaments or because I only have girls, but we’re going through a tween versus early primary schooler stage and often it’s not pretty.

There was still a long period of adjustment as the older girls settled into being one of three children, but luckily they both love playing with their baby sister and it often brings them back together again .. although the older girls are not a fan of Miss 1 wreaking havoc in their rooms, plus they need to be extra careful to make sure toys like Lego and Barbies are put away so small items don’t find their way into the mouth of Miss 1 who loves to shove everything in there.

Overall, I love the larger age gap between my children. Sure, there are times when it is tough, but I think every age gap will have its ups and downs plus good and bad points. Parenting can be a tough gig sometimes. Nothing is ever going to be perfect.

I truly don’t believe there is a right or wrong age gap to have between siblings. Sometimes you get to choose your age gap and sometimes life chooses for you. I think the important thing is to enjoy what you have right in front of you.

What age gap do you have between your children? Share the positives and negatives you have found along the way.

33 thoughts on “Having a larger age gap between children

  1. There are 5 years between my sister and I, so that’ts normal for me. I always thought it was weird when people had their siblings a year above or below them at school.

  2. I will have a 4 and a half year age gap between my son and daughter. No, it’s not the way we planned it, if everything had gone right back in 2014 it would have been much smaller, but we’re happy with it and will deal with what is thrown at us. I think whichever way people look at it, everyone will have differing experiences but I am really happy with how it’s worked out because I’ll get to spend the same time with my daughter as I did with my son while he’s at school, otherwise, I would have had to split my attention between both.

  3. Oh I remember the pressure to produce a sibling well! My kids are only 2 1/2 years apart, yet by the time the eldest was one I was sick of being asked when we were having another one. Apart from anything else, sometimes you CAN’T plan these things and the next baby happens when it happens, IF it happens, and not before! My sister could only have one; another friend had numerous miscarriages, which means there is 5 or more years between her three children. A two and a half years worked well for us. I don’t think I could have coped with them any closer together! I’m just glad now they are older they have stopped fighting and ar actually friends 🙂 .

    Visiting from #teamIBOT.

  4. I agree entirely that there is no perfect age gap! It depends so much on the kids personalities. I have three sons who are all almost exactly 2 years apart, born in July 2010, July 2012 and August 2014. It’s kind of crazy. IF there’s a number 4, there will be a bigger age gap!

  5. Mine are all close in age and that worked for me. Most of it is a blur but I am too impatient to wait. My youngest was great as he learnt to grab a little shut eye whenever he could and now he is a kid that doesnt need heaps of sleep. Works well with older kids.

    • There is something to be said about having them close together and getting through that stage a little quicker. It’s all a big puzzle, hey? Eventually the pieces will fall into place. At the moment, we’re working our way down to one nap which will definitely help with the sleep situation fitting into after school activities.

  6. We have an age gap of two years between our two. It suits me fine as we can get all of the nappy and toilet training out of the way early on 🙂 There is four years difference between my sister and I however and six years difference between my brother and I. I don’t think mum and dad planned it that way. It just happened with a few miscarriages in between. As far as I know it worked well for them and we all get along famously.

  7. I have a 4.5year gap between my boys. My original thinking is that I would have liked it to have been a smaller gap but … One of the pluses is that I can get the older one to help do things when I am encumbered with the younger one.

  8. Great post! We have a four year old son and aren’t planning on having anymore..we had so many people tell us when he was two that we better hurry up and have another one or now, that we’ve left it too late as the age gap would be too big. I think there’s lots of pros to having a big gap and like you said every family is different…each to their own I say!

  9. My sister and I are 5 years apart so for me, that’s actually quite ok. But honestly, I think it worked well. By the time she was born, I was at school which meant mum could still spend enough time with her without me getting all jealous. It was a bit of a problem later when she was allowed to do some things I was just so she wouldn’t feel left out but yeah, I don’t see the problem with big age gaps. In fact, through my work, I’ve sometimes seen families with 3 or 4 kids under 5 and I don’t know how in the hell they do it! Bigger age gaps make more sense for the sanity of the parents imho!

  10. When I was teaching, I noticed that 5 years is one of the most common age gaps, I wonder if it’s because at five one child is (almost) off to school and is independent-ish and can be an extra pair of hands! At the end of the day, the perfect age gap is the one that works for you!

  11. We have a big age gap – 2 now in high school and one just started primary – I am probably the parent all the other parents want to punch. All the primary school dramas seem so irrelevant because I’m dealing with high school drama…The middle child who was great at playing with the youngest is turning into a true teen, so the baby of the family is getting a little lonely. It’s sad in one way, but I guess probably happens anyway with 3 or more kids

  12. I certainly can appreciate why you made these choices. I had three boys 4 and under. Golly. It’s a crazy business and none of them have been sleepers. I still get up to two of them and the level of my insanity is probably not healthy. It’s so easy to get lost in it. I have often wondered if I would enjoy motherhood more if I’d waited longer between babies because of the level of overwhelm. Either way, I think there are still plenty of challenges presented.

  13. I agree there is no ‘right’ age gap to have between kids and you just do what’s best for your family. There was just 16 months between our two boys and the amount of comments I used to get when they were both young about how busy/crazy I must be was amazing! Yep, it was hard but it was all we knew so we just dealt with it. This time around there will be just over 3 years between #2 and #3 and I’m kind of looking forward to having the older two ‘help out’ a little bit and it’s really nice that they kind of understand what’s going on,

  14. After having our eldest 3 really close together 18 months apart for eldest two , then 1 year between next child it was great having a 4 year gap with our 4th child and the elder 3 were a great help. Then along came our 5th child 15 years later and she is adored . She knows how to entertain herself , goes everywhere with us and also knows how to play and share with other children as she attends daycare. There really is no correct set age gap or guarantee that even closer aged siblings will get along .

    • Wow, thanks for sharing! It’s really lovely watching older siblings care for their little brothers and sisters. I often get a tear in my eye when I see how much two older girls love their baby sister. It’s just beautiful. I also think all of this interaction has made Miss 1 is a very switched on little kid!

  15. Great post. It’s true sometimes the decision isn’t even in your hands as life doesn’t always work out as planned. When I fell pregnant with my second son I thought it was perfect timing as there’d be an age gap of almost 2.5 yrs which to me was ideal. However life throws us curve balls & I never got to bring my baby home from the hospital. My third son was born a little over a year later so there is a 3.5 yr age gap between my boys. It has it’s good & bad points just like any other age gap would, but it’s the way it is & we just need to roll with it. My little rainbow baby is a terrible sleeper too, 19 months old & I’ve never had a decent sleep of more than a few hours at a time. If I was getting more sleep & therefore not going completely batshit crazy, i’d consider having another one but right now- not a chance!

    • Thanks for reading and sharing your story. Life certainly has other ideas sometimes and we just have to go along with it because there’s no point fighting what you can’t control. I hope you and your little one start getting some sleep soon, but for now coffee, lots of coffee xx

  16. There’s 2 minutes gap between my boys and I wouldn’t have it any other way…because I don’t know any other way. People would often say, “I don’t know how you do it” Well, you have no choice.
    I see some mums at school pick with their other baby in their arms and think how tough it would be. I don’t think any of us mums have it easy, do we?

  17. I have 7 years between my sister and myself and we found it difficult to relate to each other growing up and now I struggle to think of her as anything but my baby sister. Forever a baby at 27. 😀 My two have nearly 3 years between them. I could have done it any sooner. I wasn’t ready. Friends around me were rushing to go again and I was all hell no! There would have been longer if I wasn’t nearly 35.

  18. My kids are all about 2 years apart. It was hard work when they were little, and even in primary school, but it’s just starting to get easier now they are all in high school and even starting to finish school. I think you’re right that there’s no “optimal” gap and every family will have their own rhythm when it comes to having kids and working out a life that works with all of them. I suspect it’s probably more about how many kids you have than age gaps too.

Leave a reply