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You are here : home > Preconception > Think before getting Pregnant > Spacing Your Children

Spacing Your Children


Are you contemplating to have a second baby? Know about the pros and cons of smaller and larger age gaps between children to decide if it is the right time for you to have a second child.


You have one child, and now have the opportunity to choose when to have the second. In the days of yore, when our grandparents had as many as 5 or 10 children, the age
gap between the eldest and youngest was anywhere between 6 to 26 years. Those were the pre-pill days, when contraception was not as widely used as it is now. So today, how many years spacing between children would be ideal? What are the things you should consider? 

"I have an 8 year old son. We used to live with my in-laws in a joint family, but moved out a while ago, and are now a nuclear family. I now want to have a second child. Will the age gap between my children be too much?
- Namita Sadarangani 

First of all, there is no 'ideal' age gap. What age gap is ideal depends upon your individual circumstances. There are certain advantages to a small age gap, and to a large age gap. It makes sense to consider the pros and cons of both, and then to decide what is best for you. 
 

Advantages of a Larger Age Gap

If Namita starts planning for a child now, the age gap between her two children will probably be 9 years. While that may seem like a large age gap at this stage, consider that when her elder child will be 29, the younger will be 20, and at that stage the age gap will not seem to be so much. In addition, the elder child will be able to pass on expert advice in terms of career, personality development and relationships to his younger brother or sister. If he is well settled at the age of 30, he will be able to take his sibling under his wing, and give him or her a good career head start. 

Her body has by now completely recovered from giving birth, and she has had time to nurture herself and get back into shape, ready to give birth a second time. 

In another ten to fifteen years, when her firstborn has moved out of the house, started work in another city, or gone abroad for further studies, she will start feeling the first pangs of loneliness. If she has a second child, she will have another ten years of joy and fulfillment as she watch him or her grow. 

If there is a larger age gap between siblings, the younger sibling gets to mix with the elder sibling's friends, which is always a good experience for him. Younger kids enjoy hanging out with older kids, and they also pick up a lot from them (good and bad!), 

The older child feels as though he is 'in charge' of his younger brother or sister. This inculcates a feeling of responsibility and nurturing in the firstborn. 

If the age gap is a little more, then one child could be in school, while you attend to the second child. In addition, the elder child would have had his share of individual attention before his sibling was born. 

If the age gap is less, a parent would not be able to get to know each child as an individual, with likes and dislikes separate from his sibling. In cases of a larger age gap, parents can enjoy and get to know each child as an individual
 

Advantages of a Smaller Age Gap

While it would be difficult raising young children with a minimal age gap on your own, it gets easier if you enlist the support of family and friends. If you have an expert helper or maid to help you raise the children and look after them, you could definitely consider having two children close together. 

You could spend time with the both of them together, send them for classes at the same time, and they will be great company for each other. 

They will have common friends, and will learn to share things with each other. They will be able to play with the same toys, and with each other. 

There will rarely be a moment of loneliness for the children, as they would be living with their best friend. 

The children would, in all likelihood, have similar interests. 

An older child, who has been an only child for a long time, would find it harder to adjust to a new sibling, as opposed to a younger child. 

In addition, if a mother has a second child within a couple of years of the first, she is already in the correct frame of mind. Changing diapers, running around her toddler, are all second nature to her. If she waits for around three years, and then gets back to it, she'll probably feel as if she's 'back to square one', but this way, she can have two children close together and then she is 'free' of babyhood after around 4 years, as opposed to 8 years

Whatever you decide, remember that relationships between siblings can turn out to be great, whatever the configuration. Figure out what suits you best, keeping time, emotional and economic factors in mind, and then plan ahead. 

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Spacing Your Children
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Reema.8 years ago
very well written article.
 
 
 
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sksingh.8 years ago
the age gap of 3-5 year is good enough. it gives both the advantages.
 
 
 
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Harshita.8 years ago
before i had my first child, i had decided that i would either have twins (if possible), or have them as close together as possible, preferably within 12 months, so that i would be done with babyhood at the earliest. but since i had a c-section, i was advised by my doctor to atleast wait for about a year and a half before trying for the second. that automatically made the age gap between my kids 2.5 years. now they are both past their toddler years, and i am so glad that i had kept atleast a 2.5 year gap, becasue this way i could really specnd time with my older one.
 
 
 
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seafolly.8 years ago
we decided to have a baby after 7 years of being married and i had a wonderful pregnancy. exactly one year after our first daughter was born we successfully tried for our second child. after another perfect pregancy and underwater birh in a birthcenter we now have two little girls only 21 month apart. we really enjoy having them so close. they have similar interests and enjoy playing together. of course its a lot of work and i would only recommend getting pregnant again when your body has completely recovered. so far i only see advantages in having two children close together.
 
 
 
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financewiz.8 years ago
there are 11 years between my brother and i and i am still suffering the consequences of being "the baby" at age 40! i have not been allowed to grow up and my brother has had a detrimental effect on my self-confidence throughout my life because of the way i was psychologically abused by him. no, he is not a bad person, but he was allowed to "control" me as a child. now, i will always be his stupid, fat, unworthy little sister that will never be at his level no matter how old i am. i can't even explain how this has affected(infected!) my life. i am married, have 3 great children, a house, cars, etc, but i still can't seem to find my way to adulthood.
 
 
 
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Parveen.8 years ago
very good article!
 
 
 
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2 girls.8 years ago
there are 11 years between my two daughters, not an "accident" and not a second marriage. it's been wonderful for both of them. the baby adores her big sister and the feeling is mutual. while at times it is difficult to manage the demands of a todder vs. a pre-teen we could not be happier.
 
 
 
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new mom.8 years ago
i have a beautiful 4 month old boy, and i love motherhood. i just took a pregnancy test and i am pregnant. i was excited at first, but now very worried. is there anyone who has had a second child so soon from the first? could really use some help about how to handle all this.
 
 
 
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verrah.8 years ago
i come from a family where each person is 2 years older than the younger one, this is a great advantage because we understand each other's needs. we communicate very well and we have close relationship with each other. i think an age gap of 2 years is not a bad idea.
 
 
 
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manoj singhvi.8 years ago
anything between 2-7 years is ok. that depends on the circumstances of the parents , their health , their convenience.
 
 
 
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