Larger age gap between kids? — The Bump
School-Aged Children

Larger age gap between kids?

We are on the fence about having another baby, and for a variety of reasons if we do it won't be until our first (twins) are 5ish. (They are still younger but figured this board might have people with older and younger kids).

Just looking for experiences from people who have similar age gaps, I have lots of friends who have them 2 years apart and a handful 3 but don't know people with 5+ years.
was it hard to go back to the baby/toddler stage? What do you wish you had known before you did it?
Thanks!
jen f

Re: Larger age gap between kids?

  • My son is 12 years old and when my FI and I decide to have a child, which will probably be before the end of next year, there will be a 13+ year age gap between them.  I had my son at 20 (I was young and stupid) and he's been asking for a sibling for 7 years now.  He knows that he'll have a sibling soon enough and that he'll be helping with the baby and around the house when he comes home every day from school, etc.  I feel horrible for having such a large gap, but it's something that I personally can't control.  

    Once we do have a baby we will probably wait another 2 years to have another, just so we have 2 children together.  :o)
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  • I can speak to this from the point of view of the child and also a parent. My sister and I are 5.5 years apart.  My own kids are 4 years apart -- not quite what you're asking about,but certainly closer to what you'd be dealing with than the traditional 26 month spread.

    As a parent, on one hand, it was a bit of a drag to go back to the infant stage when we'd already put the infant and toddler demands behind us.  On the other hand, I REALLY loved the fact that with a 4 year spread, my DD was in school during DS's infant and toddler years.  Both of my kids got lots of one-on-one attention during those tricky terrible 2s and whiny 3s.   As a result, I think my kids have reaped the benefits in many ways.  It did take a while for my kids to become buddies.  DD was ambivalent about her brother until they were 4 and 8.  But they're really quite good friends now, even though she is a testy teen girl and he's a goofy tween boy.  They still bicker and fight plenty, but they are really each others' best friend.

    I also have a lot of appreciation for this arrangement as a sibling. Although 5 years is a pretty big gap, my sister and I did have a number of years when we were compatible playmates, or at least companions.  But the nice thing was that we each had our own -- identity.  There wasn't a ton of competition between us in terms of who we were.  It was a nice balance of closeness and distance.
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  • My oldest turned 4 a month after DS2 was born and I have LOVED the age difference.  My oldest was/is such a great helper and always understood the boundaries when it came to playing with his brother.  We didn't face a lot of jealousy issues because he was old enough to understand when I explained to him that I was feeding the baby and would play with him just as soon as I was done.  

    I also love that I get 1-on-1 time with DS2 while DS1 is in school.  If we decide to have a 3rd child, we will likely wait for the same age gap or maybe only a 3-year gap.  


    verveine407
  • I was just talking to someone today about this! Ran into a couple I know that has two ages 10 & 7 and then has an 18mo.  I asked if it was hard going back to the baby stage, and they said it was actually more fun this time around. Having two close together (and certainly twins, in your case!) is crazy town. They said with their little one, their olders are really good w/him & are a big help with him, and also that as an "experienced parent" you just know you're going to get through anything that's tough. I can really see the joy in that!  If I'd have started younger, we might have done that as well, but I was too old to begin w/having kids lol ;)
    verveine407
  • My first two were b/g twins and I figured if we were going to have anymore we would by the time the kids were 5. We decided we were done. My friend has a bio 6 yr old, an adopted 2 yr old, and a bio 6 mo old. It's been very had for her because the baby prefers her so she feels like she can't spent time with her oldest. I think it's always a big transition for any age though. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :)
    Wendy Twins 1/27/06. DS and DD
  • We also have four years between our kids, so not as much as you're asking about but farther apart than most of my friends with kids.  It's great.  DD is a wonderful big sister, which I think she probably would have been anyway, but she understood (more or less) what was happening when I was pregnant and looked forward to having a baby brother, even though she would have preferred a sister.  Most of the time she is very sweet and gentle with him, and will play with him sometimes on the playground, even when her friends are around.  I liked having her in preschool, and more independent at home, when DS was a baby.  Some parents are really great at handling the chaos of having two close together, and there's certainly something to be said for that, but I feel like having that age difference is more suited to my temperament.

    That said, it limits your family size if you're of a certain age (I'm 38) and you like having a large age difference between kids.  And it does restart the clock as far as how long you have until you're through with diapers and other phases of early childhood.  I find myself breathing more a sigh of relief once we hit those milestones with DS, so while I don't mind doing everything over again once so long after we got through those stages with DD, I'm less likely to want to start over yet again in another year or two.
    DD born 10/10/07 * DS born 11/25/11 * #3 due 3/9/2015
    neverblushedverveine407
  • No matter what the gap, you manage moment to moment just as you did with your first, but it's crazy no matter the amount of time between kids...

    There is an 8 year gap between myself and my youngest older brother.  In some ways it was nice because I sort of was no question "the baby" of the family, OTOH, it was rough on my brother who had previously been the baby of the family at the time..  I kid you not, we fought like cats & dogs!!!  It wasn't until he moved out after getting married to his now ex that it was like a light switch and now we get along great!!!

    DD & DS have quite a gap as well.  It's been a tougher adjustment than I'd have liked it to be for DD.  She got used to being an only child so now sharing Mom & Dad time really is difficult for her.  There are times when she's absolutely wonderful, but for each of those times there's probably five to ten that we go to bed and are just exhausted from her antics.  It's also tough because DS was colicy and you can imagine how wonderful that was trying to get a girl ready for school when her brother has kept the house up all night...  It also really felt at times like we were starting over.  Just when we finally were able to start going and doing things like amusement parks, museums, county fair, NOPE!  Can't really do that with a baby/toddler!!  Having a shorter gap in age is nice for this aspect.  Being a parent is tough, but IMO, if we could have gotten pregnant when we first started "trying" it'd been nice to not have as great of a gap, but either way, love both kiddos completely no matter the gap!!!

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    verveine407
  • I guess I'll be the odd one out and say that I regret not having them closer in age. We're just shy of 5 full years, and I feel like we had finally gotten to the point of independence and then *bam* we're right back to the newborn stage again. Not that I'd trade these moments for anything, but I wish we had just gotten through it all at once. While I hope they're close as adult siblings (husband and BIL are 7 years apart and they are, now), I know that they probably won't be playmates as kids, and that kind of makes me sad.
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  • Thanks everyone!
    And thanks @jerseygirl81 for your open answer. I'm less worried about them being close playmates, but the loss of independence scares me a bit :). I'm also probably fooling myself in thinking that with one they would be easier to just tote along with the twins whatever we are doing.
    I guess we will have to see how things are then but it's helpful to hear the perspective of others!!
  • Our children will be 5and 6 when our new baby is born.  Our daughter and son were born 13 months apart and I can only liken them to the most difficult set of twin ever!  There is no way I would of been happy about having another baby before now.  We are excited to have a new baby, the entire family.  Our children are old enough to understand the baby's needs, that I am tired, they can care for and entertain themselves for the most part and we feel ready now.  I truly believe one baby will be much easier than my two when they were infants and toddlers.  My sister and law also had a baby this past summer when her girls were 7 and 10 and everything is going very smoothly in her home.  The only thing I am concerned about is balancing the activity schedule of my older children; scouts, dance, and sports with the baby.
    verveine407
  • My oldest (and only other child) turned 11 4 days before his baby brother was born.  So huge age gap.  It is kind of like being a first time mom sometimes because so much time had passed, but you really do start to remember everything all over again quickly.  I has not been nearly as difficult as I had expected.  Also, with older kids, they are more able to help you out.  DS1 is very helpful with his brother or even just doing small chores that are outside of what he would usually do. 


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    verveine407
  • We wanted three kids before we had DD. While she was a very easy baby, years 2-3 were really REALLY hard. This caused us to feel like we wanted to be one and done. Then this year, we had a heart to heart and decided that we did want to have another (possibly two, but probably just one more) and have since started trying. If I got pregnant right now, the age gap would be just over 5 years. While it's not what I would have originally planned (wanted them two years apart max) and it's take some getting used to the idea, I am actually really excited about the gap. DD has always wanted a sibling, and is only enough to understand (for the most part) what having a little brother or sister would mean. By the time a new baby is born she will be in school during the day, leaving me time to bind with the baby (and nap when he/she naps!) that I wouldn't have been able to have if we had another when she was much younger. She is really into helping with babies, and Mommying her dollies, so I know she will want to help with baby as much as she can. If we have three, I definitely will NOT be waiting for another 5 year age gap, and if I could do it all again I probably would have had more when DD was 2 or 3, but I am definitely warmed up to the idea of a larger gap.

    When we first started TTC, we said if it took longer than a year, we might just be one and done, simply because am not sure I want to have a 6 or 7 year old and a newborn, but then we realized that if we end up with three, DD would be at least 6 or 7 when #3 is a newborn, so that put things into perspective for us. I'd rather be done having kids by 30, which is three and  a half years from now, so I need to get busy if I am going to have three. Haha!
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    verveine407
  • I guess I'll be the odd one out and say that I regret not having them closer in age. We're just shy of 5 full years, and I feel like we had finally gotten to the point of independence and then *bam* we're right back to the newborn stage again. Not that I'd trade these moments for anything, but I wish we had just gotten through it all at once. While I hope they're close as adult siblings (husband and BIL are 7 years apart and they are, now), I know that they probably won't be playmates as kids, and that kind of makes me sad.
    This is my thinking on the age gap too, until I got used to the idea of such a gap. I am sad that my kids won't really be playmates as kids (as DD will be 10 by the time next baby is 5) but childhood is such a small part of life, it is worth it to have the gap now to have them be closer as adults.
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  • mommyginabmommyginab
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    edited December 2013
    Well, not sure of I'm much help to you right now, but, I am pregnant with our fourth son, and our other boys are 8,10,&12. I am interested at how this will be as well, dealing with a newborn once again! Needless to say, this little one was unexpected, and I thought I was through with diapers! But as my pregnancy has progressed, I remember how much I enjoy it. My 8 year old is the most excited, and has asked every question imaginable about having a baby! My 10 year old is glad he won't be the dreaded 'middle child' anymore, while my oldest's reaction was and is, 'really, another kid?' Really, you are never truly prepared for a baby, it's just doing it, and living one day at a time. Good luck! I will say this, too, I can remember when all 3 of my boys were under 4 that although I loved them so much, I was very stressed out for a 25 year old mom. They are boys, so still to this day, they fight, and sometimes I think they crowd each other. But, I believe when they are grown, they will be close and help each other out, if needed. We teach them to be patient with each other, and that they should always be there for each other, because we are a family, and love each other unconditionally.
    somewhereincaliverveine407
  • thanks @mommyginab !
    you have to come back and let us know how it goes :)  I'm also curious how it changes what you do with the older kids.  Part of me thinks that with just one baby we could still go ahead and do some of things we couldnt when we had two (for example not traveling much), but i wonder how it is really
  • I'll let you know soon enough.  DD will be a few months shy of 8 years old when her brother is born this summer.  We thought we were one and done but decided to have one more!  
    ~Jessica~ 


    lp33l
  • I have been looking for information on large age gaps too. Growing up I always said I wanted 2 but after our first I wasn't sure and we decided to keep it at one. Last year we decided that by 2018 we would expand the family and now I am due in September just days before our son's 7th birthday... So far judging by my son's reaction I think the wait was a good ide but let's see what happens once baby is here...
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    verveine407
  • Our oldest is 11 years old and our son is 18 months old. At first we were very nervous after we told her we were pregnant. We didn't press anything and let her come to us with any questions she had. They adore each other with minimal ordinary sibling issues. Toddler is a jerk tween tries to discipline...the usual! Overall though it has been wonderful. We love how much he adores her.
    verveine407
  • I have a son who will be eight in August and im due in July. When the gap is huge the older sibling tends to help out a lot. Its a lot easier to walk around with one baby and change one diaper than two.
    verveine407
  • Our son will be six by the time this one is born.  We have been trying for about 2 years so the age gap wasn't quite planned this way but would have been larger then the typical difference regardless.  I don't know what its going to be like yet but I am feeling good about it.  Our son has had our full attention all this time and he has really benefited from it.  Our daughter will have a lot of the same because our son will be in 1st grade next year.  also we are looking forward to the infant/toddler stages whereas when our son was still in them we probably would have dreaded them. 
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  • My #1 and #2 were 5 1/2 and 4 1/2 when baby #3 was born. I had a lovely first year with the three of them. Baby number three just tagged along to everything number one and number two had going on. They had school to keep them busy and when at home they doted on her and were a big help. I greatly recommend that age gap. Now I have a seven-year-old, a six-year-old, a 20-month-old, and a five-month-old. It's back to utter chaos. Mainly because it's very difficult to bring a rambunctious toddler around two older children's activities when you're also toting a newborn. However, it is happy chaos. The older set still can't get enough of the younger two. We are making it work! Good luck!
  • There's a little over 6 years between my two. We were shooting for four but infertility sucks.

    I was worried about the age gap but DS adores baby brother. Plus, he has his own activities to keep him engaged and entertained. I know they won't be super close playmates but I still think they will be super close. DS us already discussing all the things he wants to teach baby brother.
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  • lp33llp33l
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    I am currently pregnant with no2 and my dd is 8 years old this month. I am a little nervous about the age gap but She seems pleased to be finally getting a little brother or sister!
  • lp33l said:
    I am currently pregnant with no2 and my dd is 8 years old this month. I am a little nervous about the age gap but She seems pleased to be finally getting a little brother or sister!
    This is my age gap as well.  It wasn't intentional, just happened that way.  I will say that DD was a super proud big sister and really loved having her little brother around.  Even now, all her friends just fuss over him.  It's fun. 


  • We are on the fence about trying for a third but our oldest is the biggest pusher of it, we'll see how it goes.
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  • edited July 2015

    My daughters are 3 years 4.5 months apart. Now that dd#2 is becoming older, they are definitely beginning to play and interact together. If we have #3 (fingers crossed), I would like them to be a little closer (2 3/4-3 years apart).


    I was 4 years 2 months older then sister #1...

    5 years 4 months older then sister two...

    and almost 8 years (3 weeks shy of) then my little bro. I love them all, but they were definitely closer as children since I was so much older.


    ***I should mention, that as adults, our bond is inseparable. Our parents are no longer with us, so regardless of the age difference, siblings are definitely the best gift you could give =-)*** 

    Married 08/25/2007 - DD#1 05/11/2010 - DD#2 09/25/2013 - EDD #3 06/03/2016

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  • DD1 and 2 are 22 months apart.  They are now 7 and 5 and are best friends.  We wanted to wait 3 years before having a third but it took a little longer. DD3 is 7 months.  The girls like to help with her and love her up, but I'm afraid she'll be lonely when they go to college or feel excluded as they grow up and the older ones get to do more things.

    i am 4 years older than my brother.  We don't have much in common and the age difference made it difficult as kids. I wonder how it would've been if he were a girl. 
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  • The age gap between my kids are 10 years! Ive got a 10yr old and a 3 1/2 mon old daughter. It was pretty hars at first having to start all over again! But id say with a great support system you will be fine.
  • I have three siblings, and we're all really close in age. The oldest is just five years apart from the youngest. Currently, my brother is 22, I'm 21, my middle sister is 19, and my youngest sister is 17. We're all summer birthdays, so the differences are pretty much exact in terms of years. (My brother and I are 13 months apart.)

    I feel like we were all able to grow up together. I loved being a big sister to a new baby when I was 4, and I was very aware of how little she was then. Now, though, the difference between 17 and 21 isn't much for us. When we're older, we'll essentially feel like we're the same age.

    We can relate well because we have the same cultural background. Now, we're all college-age (and actually, my sisters and I all attend the same college at the moment). I think we grew up at similar speeds, like one unit. It's not as if one of us was ten years older and moved out when the youngest was just 8, you know? We've pretty much always been present in each other's lives. There's no chance my brother remembers being an only child. I have few if any memories before my middle sister was born. I was old enough to be ecstatic when my parents told me I was going to have another younger sibling. It's been a nice balance.

    If I'm able to have an age gap like this when I have kids someday, I'd do it in a heartbeat, although I have *no* idea how my parents managed a posse of four small kids with such grace. My mom claims we were always really well-behaved when she took us out, so I'll go with that!

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