Ideal Age Gap Between Children has caused a lot of controversies over the years. New parents tend to become confused when everyone around them starts asking them when they plan to have a new baby. Woah! Woah! This baby is barely 18 Months…
This brings us to the big question- “what’s the ideal age gap to have between children?”
To be honest, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question above. It is totally up to you to work out what age gap suits your family best.
So in this blog post, I will point out the advantages and disadvantages of the age gap from 18 month and above. Get ready to read and learn. Leggo!
AGE GAP OF 18 MONTHS OR LESS (The Small Age Gap)
This is ideal if you want your children to grow up together. You can opt for this if you have enough energy to cope.
Considering the fact that you had your first child very recently, you will still be pretty up-to-date with all the latest antenatal advice and local maternity services.
No doubt, It will be a busy couple of years for you, but ehn girl, go for this if you prefer to have all the messy, noisy, tiring nappy years concentrated into one reasonably short period.
As your older child becomes a toddler, there is a tendency for him to show new self-reliance, while insisting on feeding himself and dressing himself, and consequently become more independent.
On the other hand, the older child may become happy to play with the younger one. Having to share toys and games. This will definitely foster their early bond.
Firstly, it is going to be hard work for you to have another baby before your first or youngest child is 18 months old. Caring for a baby or young toddler while you are pregnant is tiring, same as caring for a newborn and a toddler together.
As a matter of fact, the early years may pass in a blurry manner. It is likely to be a consuming experience of sleepless nights, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, nappies, weaning, clinic appointments and laundry.
Consequently, you may not have as much time to enjoy your babies as you would want to. Most importantly, your partner’s help will be highly needed to avoid becoming exhausted with two children to care for.
Healthwise, having only a small age gap between giving birth and conceiving again can affect you and your baby. You are prone to have a premature birth or low birth weight child if you conceive within only six months of giving birth.
A gap of at least 18 months will give you time to recover your energy and replenish the nutrients you lost during your previous pregnancy.
This also comes with increased financial obligations. You might have to buy double baby items, additional car seats. And when they grow older, you will have to pay a hefty chunk of education expenses within a short space of time if both children go to university.
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AGE GAP OF 2 – 4 YEARS
If you want to have time to enjoy each child’s baby years, a two- to four-year gap may suit you. This age gap is the most common, so many of your mum friends will also be planning another child around now.
By the time your second baby arrives you should have caught up on sleep. Your first child will have become increasingly independent too. You’ll have made the most of those baby years. And you may have been able to keep up your career too.
Your first or youngest child may be out of nappies and be happily feeding and dressing himself. He may also be making his needs clear with a growing vocabulary. If so, you may have the energy to return to the world of sleepless nights, bottle-feeding or breastfeeding and umpteen changes of nappies and outfits a day.
While your older child is at playgroup or nursery, you’ll be able to enjoy individual time with your new baby.
Your older child may find it difficult sharing you with a new baby. You’ll probably have to cope with some sibling jealousy or rivalry at first. Expect your older child to demand more attention than usual or even regress into babyish behaviour for a while. You can help your older child adjust to life with a new brother or sister by remaining patient and trying to stick to your normal routine.
Having this age gap means that it’ll be a few years before your children want to play together. The games of a five-year-old are very different from the games of a two-year-old. You may find that your younger child is keen to join in, copying her sibling. But your older child may be less keen, especially when his little sister doesn’t have the skills to join in and play fully. They may both get frustrated.
However, once they’re both a little older, these differences will even out. A seven-year-old and a 10-year-old could have lots of fun together, playing imaginatively and sharing games.
As the world of your older child expands, your newborn has to fit in with his hectic social life. Your baby will probably need to come along when you take your firstborn to playgroup, nursery or school. This may mean interrupted feeds and sleeps.
Meanwhile, those baby activities you enjoyed with your firstborn aren’t always possible with a lively preschooler in tow. And taking a baby along to toddler classes isn’t always easy. You may be able to make it work if you’ve got childcare available. But you’ll need to factor in these costs if friends or family aren’t available to help.
Also Read: The Six Types of Self-Care
You’d agree with me that there is no one-size-fit-all to this sensitive issue. Just do what will benefit you. Ideal Age Gap between Children should be discussed between you and your spouse so you can both come to a common ground.
Thank you for reading. What’s the ideal age gap for you? Drop a comment below.
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